Sunday, 19 March 2006

Here we go again...

Typical, isn’t it? Just two years and a bit into the marriage and he was already canoodling with another floozy! It all started off very well and was meant to be the greatest love story of the century. Just news of her beauty sent him off to seventh heaven, denying him of sleep and food. He survived on those lingering thoughts of her ravishing beauty and was intoxicated by the sweetness of her voice. Love does that to you, doesnt it? All the distance and the turbulent seas didn’t seem to matter and he was prepared to leave his own country to marry the woman that filled his dreams day and night. Such is the power of love! But love in this case was sadly defeated by the stronger power of black magic mumbo jumbos.

I knew she was bad news when she entered the scene, the minute she set eyes on him and planned her moves!. I was aware of the intrigues and goings on in this household but I felt helpless. I was a mere helpless bystander, from a totally different time zone, a totally different world, transported back to unravel the story and study it first hand from an eighteenth century manuscript.

This time last year, this story of a tragic love triangle consumed my very soul and filled every minute of my waking hours and even haunted my dreams as I struggled to finish my dissertation. And when I put the final full stop and made the mad rush to the faculty office, that was the last time I saw it....until yesterday.

The dissertation is based on an early 18th century syair – whose manuscript still neat and in pristine condition is kept in the British Library- unstudied and untouched. The only copy, I am glad to report. For this I must thank a wonderful friend who made this brilliant discovery and suggested that I should study it. And study it I did with my rusty knowledge of Jawi and soon enough my very own lingo started to sound syairish!! See this.

Since my forays into the realm of Traditional Malay Literature, I have been really intrigued by the richness of the language, our language, the different genres, theories and of course the romance – the old, romantic fool that I am. I became besotted with Indraputra and his flirtatious style, Bidasari and her beauty that won over the heart of the King, and many, many more. If only I have more than twenty four hours in a day, I will certainly spend more time in my sleeping bag, on the third floor of the library where most of the old hikayats and syairs are kept. Such beautiful writings but equally beautiful are the interpretations and analysis and studies by Traditional Malay Literature scholars such as Braginsky whose book, The Heritage of Traditional Malay Literature became a bible and a must for Tradional Malay literature students. Then there’s Kloster’s Roaming Through Seductive Gardens, and Sweeny’s Authors and Audiences in Traditional Malay Literature. It is just pure pleasure reading them.

Back to my reunion with my dissertation: I have dusted it and peeled open the pages again refamiliarising myself with the storyline and the characters once again came dancing in my memories,reenacting some of the most beautiful moments that will remain with me forever. One or two chapters derserved to be published, says my professor. And so they will be. Insyaallah.

These are some of the wonderful stanzas that play again and again in my head, a scene when the king is romancing his shy bride during their first meal together:

Menengarkan sembah demikian nyata
sambil tersenyum baginda berkata
“Marilah santap emas juita
biarlah kekanda menemani serta”

Menengarkan titah raja pisari
peracau tunduk berdiam diri
lakunya malu manis berseri
oleh baginda dibasuh jari.

Santap sambil gurau jenaka
berbagai jenis kata direka
segala mengadap terlalu suka
peracau santap sedikit juga.
Sudah santap raja bangsawan
santap sirih di dalam puan
serta mnemakai bau-bauan
sedap manis barang kelakuan.

Setelah jauh malamlah hari
tirai pelaminan dilabuhkan seri
Duduklah baginda raja pisari
terlalu suka membujuk isteri.
Dipeluk dicium seraya berkata:
"Tuanku nyawaku emas juita
Tuanku jadi cahaya mahkota
sudah termeterai di dalam cita”

All together now: Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!


mar said...

My goodness kak teh that one is gorgeous! Keep em coming laaaah... best nya

swan said...

beautifully written Kak Teh! Ahhhhhhhh!

Kak Teh said...

mar, aaah it is certainly wonderful and mesmerising ...aaah can you wait for the publication of the syair?
swan, thank you - am so inspired. Thanks for the visit.

thewailer said...

...for a romantic fool like me, this transpiring prose is most enchanting and heart-thumping! arghhh...sleepless in kuala lumpur, kak teh! :)

Kak Teh said...

sleepless in KL? well, if it is me, I will go for a good cup of coffee and roti bakar with loads of kaya!

About Blogreader said...

Thanks for telling us about Braginsky, Kloster et al. One day I must read what they've got to say. It will be good background for when I read your published chapters! (That is very good news indeed! Congratulations!)

Nice romantic music that you've got on, by the way.

MA said...

err..I buta seni Kak Teh...hehehe:-)
Only managed (barely) Dua Tiga Kucing Berlari, Pisang Emas bits !

Good job done !

Kak Teh said...

diz - cld be a long wait.
Mak andeh - hehehe - tak apa!

sue said...

kak teh:
that is so lovely and romantic..berlapik2 tapi menyentuh jiwa..

Ms.B said...

Bravo KT, bravo!!

[Even though my level is the same as Mak Andeh .. I don't even know how to end any pantun!!! Teruk betul!!]

BTW, today I CAN view your blog!! Hurrah!

Kak Teh said...

traveler and blabs - terima kasih, terima kasih...
am glad blogspot is behaving - for now!

fatihah said...


how beautiful can it get? am very interested in the WHOLE content of the syair now...

sekian purnama sudah tidak berpuisi-relay kan? *sorry* *sigh*

esp for you kak teh =)

raja di geta lagikan berjijak di laman cinta
kekasih diulit bicara rindu bersulam asmara
arakian dicurah kasih janji setia
jemah takkan kakanda sekali alpa

cinta sejati kasih abadi seakan perlina
melungguh menanti kunjungnya tiba
lagak bagai pungguk rindukan purnama
atau zaman ugah sudahnya

tatkala santap terkenanglah hati
tika berlanggir rawan sanubari
berlabuh malam jiwa merintih menanti
masyghul andar kala dibuai bangsi

syahadan sudah bersyair peri
terubat adanya sepi diri
kalbu meyakini janji Rabbi
akan termeterai ikatan yang suci sali

OOD said...

aahhhhhh indeed!
terus rasa merajuk with the husband! He never romanced me like THAT! Hmmph!

mar said...

Ohhhhh wait I will... :)

Mama Irma said...

kak teh, gulp, another buta seni makcik here!

pu1pu3 said...

My,my KT.Memang beautiful. Duhhh..I didn't realize that you wrote them. really thought that they came right out of the dulu2 buku syair.
Your work should be published. Congrats!

Kak Teh said...

Fatihah, somehow Iknew u wld come up with these additional stanzas, thansk! beautiful as usual.
OOd,I was going to write a notice for husbands ..take note!
Putri - those are from the old, old syair books . they are not mine!

Tj said...

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh !!!!!. print it and read ot Maam . Apa awak nii buang tebiat ker ??


atn said...


I wanna read yr publication, must send a copy to me ok?

pu1pu3 said...

That's what I thought but when Swan said'beautifully written' i thought she meant the syair.
Alamak, guna blogger ni makes me blurer la..adoi.
Anyway, great post as alwaz!

Nazrah said...

alamak kakteh, i terduduk baca the post and syair, now i feel like tergolek-ing reading fatihah's.

serba serbi cantiknya.

Restless said...

Any work of literary appreciation is definitely becoming a dinosour nowadays; it's too much of a mind-boggling reading to sort out the underlying meaning and what-so.

So, here's good wishes to us and those- the few who take time out to appreciate the beauty of art strung-into beautiful words. May we outlive the modernity of the 21st century and what follows. Cheers!

fatihah said...

well-said. cheers to anim! =)

eh kak nazrah, don't lah tergolek. heheee..

let's again remind kak teh to give us the rest of the syaer and reviews.. *wink*

Kak Teh said...

tj, make sure u contohi apa yang raja tu buat - tangan isteri di basuhnya sebelum makan!! and tu tak baca part dia suap isteri lagi!! is ish ish - where is romance nowadays????
atn - yes, yes, but dont hold yr breathe.
putri - hahaha - tak apa! kalau kak teh boleh tulis macam tu ,...wuishhhhhhh!

Kak Teh said...

nazrah, yes, u can imagine me meleleh air liur bacanya!
anim, i so know what u mean! Here's to us!
fatihah - insyaallah i will give in bits and pieces...okay?

Jane Sunshine said...

Seriouly time to publish your research now. Its these journeys that make research so worthwhile eh?

tee said...

help . i pun cam MA gak..

but, it sure is beautiful...

~Tis§ot~ said...

alamak ai kak teh... sedapnya hati bila membaca syair mcm tu. hmmmm like u said, where're romance nowadays eh.

i wish i could write that way too :)

annckay said...

so polite and beautiful..

LifeBloom said...

The stanzas are very tender and syahdu - if I were the recipient - bergetar jantung!!!

Thank you K Teh for the revelation!

Atok said...

Kalu AG ssyair, guane gamok bbunyi ye... hehehe.

Anyway, ada tak our student from Liverpool contact? They were asking about you a couple of days ago.

Ordinary Superhero said...

Awesome Syair.

Sedihnya, the literature in appreciation of all our malay heritage were done and compiled by Braginsky, Kloester, Sweeny and et al.

Tandusnya appresiasi seni bahasa orang kita?

demonsinme said...

Dear kak teh,

I have always wonder why most of my generation today would rather hold to the romantic ideas of the west (no offense intended to nobody) when our own cultural idea of romanticism is in many ways superior if not par with those of the west.

I bow my head to you for bringing this lovely syair to light.

usah tangguh tanak pajeri,
lepas sudah makan kiswi,
untung sungguh anak negeri,
dek khazanah sunyi yang puan temui.

dreamer idiot said...

Kak teh,

Hi. Thought i did drop in to ask whether you would be interested in joining in the new venture, Sharon, Leon and I starting. (the link to the blog can be found at Sharon's blog)

I am aware of your extensive knowledge of poetry and hope you could conribute, educate and share with us the beauties of Malay puisi, sajak, you are active in a Malay poetry writing circle, hence your expertise and knowledge would be much desired and appreciated.

Well, give in a thought, and if you are interested, drop Sharon or myself a line.

Thanks so much

sya said...

hi.. kak teh, menjengah sekejap .. salam perkenalan

sue said...

Kak teh:
just imagine reading those puisi with traditional music as a background..syahduu

MA said...


First one to wish Kak Teh a HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

Ordinary Superhero said...

MA, Birthday Kak Teh ke?


Anonymous said...

Assalamu'alaikum KT.
Hepi Besday!.... ME suka dengar orang bersyaer...masa sekolah dulu2 ada pertandingan baca syaer...syahdu dan nyaman kata2nya...syaer Siti Zubaidah....Teruskan warisan seni kita.....bravo KT!


Kak Teh said...

jane, yes, maam, I will! Prod me on when i fall asleep.
tee, tak apa - kak teh pun bukan pandai sangat.
babe, hehehe - where is it? where is it?
anncky, thanks. It certainly is.
lifebloom, i would certainly like to hear to sing this!

Kak Teh said...

atok, kalau suruh dia nyanyi spoil ler! hehe!
OSH - dah tu nak buat macam mana? semua orang kita nak ambik IT, science etc!
demondsinme - that is beautiful too!!!
dreamer idiot - thanks - i have replied!
sya - salam perkenalan juga,. Thanks for visiting.
traveller - yes, i can imagine that too.
ety - kak teh ingat jugak mak nyanyikan syair.

Kak Teh said...

MA and OSH- thank you, thank you!!!

bibliobibuli said...

enjoyed this entry so much kak teh (sorry i am so slow catching up with all your news) ... i so enjoyed hearing about the syair when we met too ... would this transcription ever make it into published form? (translated even better!) would so love to be able to read the whole thing ...

am also fascinated by old manuscripts ...

ninotaziz said...

And we swooooonnnn.

I just bought Syair Damarwulan. Can't wait to dig in.

But really, Bidasari and Inderaputra are in a world of their won. Membujuk merayu is the order of the day...