Like many others, I grew up listening and singing to the many hits from Alleycats. If I am forced to sing karaoke (as would normally happen at family wedding receptions), I would choose to sing 'Sekuntum Mawar Merah Sebuah Puisi'. In my comment at Kak Teh's blog, I mentioned that this song has a special meaning to me because of something that happened years ago while I was a student in the UK. I thought that I could share the story here.
It was 1983. I shared a flat with two other Malay friends at a place called Holberry Close in Sheffield. Two other Malay students rented the flat below us. One of them was seeing this English girl who was studying medicine at the University of Sheffield. The girl's name is Kathy, but she wanted us to call her by her nickname of Coot. She hails from the town of Birkenhead on the Merseyside. Being a Liverpool FC fan, I immediately knew where that was.
One evening, my friend brought Coot over to our house for dinner... sort of wanting to introduce the Minah Salleh to our Malay cuisine, I guess. The meal was enjoyable and Coot did not seem too much troubled by the spicy taste.
After dinner, we sat around chatting about anything and everything. My friend then picked up his guitar and began to strum and sing some Malay songs. When he started to sing Sekuntum Mawar Merah, I told him to hold on a bit. For Coot's benefit, I would translate the lyrics of the song into English line by line as he sang the song.
And so began an impromptu session of song translation, delivered in the manner of a guy reading poetry to woo the heart of an English maiden.
I was doing the translation on-the-fly as it were, without prior preparation. While the exact words used were probably not the accurate translations, I believe they were close enough. I did not falter in my delivery and the overall romantic context was maintained. S Amin Shahab, the original writer of the lyrics would not have been too displeased with my effort.
At the end of our joint singing/translating performance, I could see the blushes on Coot's cheeks.
I'm including below a youtube video of the song as sung by Alleycats together with the original Malay lyrics. Sorry, I can't exactly recall the unrehearsed English translation that I did that night. Looking back, I realised that it was quite a tough thing to do... especially the line, `Berlagu dalam irama nan syahdu.'
Youtube video by BalsemGosok
Sekuntum Mawar Merah Sebuah Puisi
Penyanyi : Alleycats
Pengarang Lagu : M. Nasir
Penulis Lirik : S. Amin Shahab
Sekuntum mawar merah sebuah puisi
Untuk gadis pilihan oh.. di bulan Februari
Mulanya cinta bersemi dan kehadiran
Ribuan mimpi-mimpi oh.. di bulan Februari
Kemesraanmu dan cintaku
Berlagu dalam irama nan syahdu
Tapi mengapa hanya sementara
Cinta yang menyala padam tiba-tiba
Terkenang kembali lagu cinta lama
Kisah mawar merah berduri
Menusuk di hati...
Haruskah ku ulangi
Apakah dosaku dan apakah salahku
Sering gagal dalam bercinta
Mengapa cinta hanya sementara
Api yang menyala padam tiba-tiba
( ulang dari 1 )
Sekuntum mawar merah sebuah puisi
Di bulan Februari
I am also including a photo taken during our small Aidilfitri makan-makan in 1983 which Coot also attended. Yours truly is the thin guy on the rightmost of the pic.
And finally... to answer Kak Teh's query in response to my comment in her blog : The relationship did not end the way of the fairy tales :-)