We're moving into our second week of Ramadan. It's a time for pondering about long-lost days, about how and whether I have put to good use my time on this earth. Despite the advancing years I stll feel there's a lot more to be done and to be shared.
When the day gets hot and fasting becomes more and more challenging, I escape into my treasure room of books. The act of opening a book and touching and turning the pages bring much more joy than clicking a keyboard. You can flick back and forth through the pages while you're horizontal or vertical. There's no need to plug it into a socket or fear the battery packing up.
I have this set of Malay story books, done in a very handy size of 5 inches x 6 inches.
Call me old-fashioned, brand me as a remnant from the dinosaur period! I still prefer the old spelling with the e tanda and I detest bahasa baku.
I love the simple artwork in these books just as I remember with much affection the colour and art of my English textbooks from the 1950s.
Here are a couple of pages from Tiga Orang Sahabat.
The three good friends found themselves embroiled in helping a mother hen to save her chick from the wolf.
And it all ended happily with the help of the pelanduk, arnab and kura2.
And so, all's well that ends well. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned from this simple story. Malaysians have to beware of the wolf and/or the wolf in sheep's clothing. It would be wonderful too if as in this story there are warm and kind friends like the pelanduk, arnab and kura2 - all amiable and peaceable creatures with no hidden agenda.
I guess in this holy month of Ramadan. one is allowed to dream - to wish for the good of all.
This is a truly groovy, jazzy version - full of vitality and warmth ...... shooby, dooby dah!
Here's another version, the original one I grew up with - from 50 years ago. It turns on the tears when it's sung this way, just like 50 years ago.
The original lyrics before the creation of 'Malaysia' were -
Sungguh gemilang negri ku
Yang ku cinta oh Tanah Melayu
Di merata dunia harum semerbak nama mu oh Malaya.
Songs like these fired the spirit and fervour of "Merdeka" before and after 1957.
For someone of that generation I do feel short changed - that the name Malaya for the Peninsula (Tanah Melayu) had to be expunged, when Sarawak and Sabah (British North Borneo) could maintain theirs.
A rose by any other name smells just as sweet!
T A M A T