As a little boy in school those days, we had singing lessons & a song book entitled “Sing & Be Happy”. Somehow, my singing teacher didn’t like me, kept discouraging me to sing saying that I had a croaky voice. Nevertheless, where love exists desire persists! Though I am never good at it, music & songs fill my life . . . make me as happy as can be!
I was born in Malaysia, brought up there, had my schooling there, sent on a government scholarship for teacher training in UK & then furthering my tertiary education at the University of Malaya, Pantai Valley, Selangor. That’s how it was . . . down memory lane in Malaysia . . . no political divide, no racial strife, tension or envy, peaceful & harmonious living . . . a land known invariably as “The Golden Chersonese”, where music flow & songs galore!
Songs have no cultural or political overtone attached. Music as such is a universal language. There is but one tongue . . . the musical tongue. Songs like “Rasa Sayang” & “Bengawan Solo” have always inspired listeners the world over. The other day, I was with some Aussie friends chatting & having a bit of wine. John who owns 6 bands related to me that when his band was playing in Penang, Malaysia, he learnt to play and sing that ever popular request “Rasa Sayang”. He just loves it! The favour of the song will always live on.
Another song that comes to mind is “Bengawan Solo.” When teaching in Kelantan, North East Malaysia, I remember Zainab a Malay student of mine who rendered this song beautifully. I learnt it then & I sing it even now. In most karaoke parties I have organised, “Bengawan Solo” never failed to show.
There’re various translations to this song . . . English, Filipino, Burmese & others.
Teresa Teng (Deng Lijun) the ever popular nightingale from Taiwan, sadly passed away at the age of 42 in the year 1995. She captured the hearts of men & women all over the world with her songs. There was a saying then “The day is dominated by Deng Xiaoping, but the night belongs to Deng Lijun”.
Any karaoke fan would love “Tian Mi Mi” and “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin” (The Moon Represents My Heart) as sung by Teresa Teng. My former HSC student Kat sings it beautifully in Mandarin . . . & she is Malay! My own wife Lilian sings the English translation version. However, it’s hard to get her to render it in public except small karaoke party. She sings well but fights shy of public swell!
Now let’s hear a delightful group of African boys singing ‘Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin” in Mandarin:
Incidentally, best way of learning a language is through the song in that langusage.
And lest we forget the memory of Deng Lijun (Teresa Teng), who has been commemorated in a public garden park in Taipei, Taiwan, let’s listen to her melodious captivating voice: