Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Mouse Song

1994 – Saleem Iklim looked like a live medschool’s skeleton (more like a zombie actually) but his ever lovely melodies in a song “Suci Dalam Debu” was still likened by many as though people became heartwrecks everyday. Nora too sang sad songs. I still remember a part of the stanzas:

“Masa berlalu… (time goes by)
Kau buat ku begini… (you did this to me)
Yada yada yada…”

Instead of the heartwrecking lyrics, it was the soothing melody that actually made Mother hum that song in her sweetest tremolo while tailoring. Outside our house, children of Taman Sura sang the catchy folk song “Itik Gembo Gembo”, made popular by A To Z (a local pop group) because it clung easily to their memory; so did other songs we learnt at school.

We got ourselves a female teacher who taught us music lessons. Actually there was another music teacher who was assigned to teach us music too – who was a man I hated so much because he only taught us how to draw a treble clef on a piece of musical staff in one stroke, and taught us how to blow a recorder that smelled like worn-out socks on its lip plate and many times abandoned us unassigned by any teacher in a music room, so we had gone astray damaging some cheap musical instruments in there until we were busted by a discipline teacher.

The female one was the one who had always in our heart. She showed us how beautiful music was. I have forgotten her name. All I remember was, she looked very pretty in her baju kurung – a bespectacled fair lady who fond of bringing along an acoustic guitar to entertain us with lovely songs. She would pluck the strings with her intricate finger maneuvers and started singing beautiful songs the lyrics we never understood because she sang in English.

As if it was a ritual in our weekly music class, she would first sing a couple of songs with her guitar before let us sing easier songs written in the textbook. There were no key notes on a staff, no key signature, no notations, and no intricate curvatures of clef trebles – just lyrics. So we were taught by memories.

There was one piece that I liked the most. It was about a tale between a cat and a mouse. The lyric goes like this:

Badan tikus kurus (Mouse so skinny),
Kucing tunjuk garang (Cat is about to growl),
Kucing kejar tikus (Cat chases after that little puny),
Tikus masuk lubang (Mouse creeps into the hole).

Kucing jadi geram (Cat goes fierce!)
Intai dalam lubang (It peeps into the hole where mice belong),
Tikus diam-diam (Mouse oh so soundless),
Gigit misai panjang (It bites whiskers oh so long).

Yep, it was only two stanzas. We needed nothing more than that. Oh yes, there’s another one!

Ibu ayam dikejar musang (Hen got chased after by a fox),
Anak ayam cari ibunya (Chicks find out for their mum),
Anak ayam mencari (Chicks still find their mum),
Terus cari (On and on searching),
Dan ditangkap musang (Caught finally by the fox).

Oh what a melancholic tale! However, we absorbed a great sense of humour lengthening the last vowel of the last word on the last stanza. It would be like this, “Gigit misai panjaaaaang!” Teacher laughed too! She looked pretty and I will never forget her cheekiest dimples.

Teacher we wanna go home!

Oh yeah sure you will, but let us together sing the last song!



  1. Your female music teacher resembles more like our local female singer who won 4 trophies for her talent recently...the way you described it. Probably she exist in youtube.

  2. DrSam,
    I think you're referring to Yuna. Is that correct?

  3. ...late 60's, a young volunteer couple under UNESCO, Encik Daniel (not Ronald) Reagan and "Mek" Helen resided in our kampung... what I remember most was a song they taught us, with a harmonica alongwith their lively twist dance ... "Kiss Me Baby" - a blind Stevie Wonder... wowww...

  4. yohteh,
    That must be a nostalgic scene, yohteh! A song does bring us back to the yore days of old. Interestingly, most people care not about the lyric, but rather the melody itself.

    You just dug out a block of gold. :D