as much as i find it disturbing that some people do not know simple nursery rhymes, i find it utterly SHOCKING that some people do not know malaysian folk songs.
so as a sociolinguist, a culture enthusiast and for the love of cempedaks, a true malaysian, here is my community service effort in spreading the love of local folk songs to the tech-savvy generation.
chan mali chan
dimana dia anak kambing saya?
anak kambing saya yang makan daun talas
dimana dia buah hati saya?
buah hati saya bagai telur dikupas
chan mali chan, chan mali chan
chan mali chan, ketipung payung
di mana dia, anak kambing saya?
anak kambing saya main di tepi sawah
di mana dia, cinta hati saya?
cinta hati saya yang pakai baju merah
di mana dia anak kambing tuan?
anak kambing tuan di atas jambatan
yang mana dia si bunga pujaan?
si bunga tanjung dihujung dahan
kalau nak tahu anak kambing saya
anak kambing saya di dalam bilik
kalau nak tahu intan payung saya
intan payung saya yang kecil lah molek
di mana dia anak kambing tuan?
anak kambing tuan yang bulunya kuning
yang mana dia buah hati tuan?
buah hati tuan yang putih lah kuning
here are the lyrics to the folk song chan mali chan, of which most malaysian know the tune of, but do not know the words to. culturally attributed to both malaysian and singaporeans, chan mali chan is a hilariously cheeky song, which teases stanzas between men and women.
the verses of chan mali chan are structurally a four part rhythmic pantun. the first two lines of the pantun is called the pembayang and the last two line of each pantun is the message that the poet really wants to get at. the pembayang lines of the song chan mali chan refer to anak kambing, suggestively because the lamb is symbolic for its mischievousness and friskiness.
this symbolism is compared to the poet’s buah hati in the message lines of the poem, who is apparently playing hide and seek with the poem. it should be inferred here that the man in the song is looking for the woman who is hiding (and is deliberately letting herself be found!).
in the first stanza, the woman’s skin is described to be as smooth as a peeled hardboiled egg. in the second stanza, he calls her the love of his heart and describes her as the lady in red. in the third stanza, she is likened to be a flower which is hard to get because she is located right at the hujung dahan.
ketipung payung in the chorus and the final stanzas of the song is a term of endearment. like i said, it is a teasing courting love song. in the malay culture, metaphors such as ketipung, payung, intan and bunga tanjung are used as references to someone lovely and precious.
the colours yellow and white mentioned in the final stanza refer to something being royal, but not in the monarch sort of way, but that something to be considered heavenly, royal, gorgeous, beautiful, pure and divine.
so here is my very brief overview of chan mali chan. gosh, it has been ages since i have written proper literary papers. i hope ya’ll are humming the song in your heads. i know that its so kampung, but i bet that this would make an awesome campfire song. every malaysian should know how to sing chan mali chan.