19 October 2009

The sound of home

I've only recently discovered Sabah's very own latest online radio station here:


and the community that keeps it alive here:


A few days of listening to the DJs' entertaining chats and music had me arrived to this conclusion: that Sabahan.FM is truly home. It reflects the community that I know and grew up in. One that celebrates unity in diversity in the real sense of the words. In the past few days, I've probably listened to more songs in English, Malay, Hindi, Kadazan, Dusun, Chinese, Bajau, Murut, Filipino and almost every other minority ethnic group in Sabah than I ever had before. Amazing!

Home might be merely a small corner in Malaysia, but the internet has made it possible for the sound of home to reach far-flung places, places where Sabahans away from home might feel extremely homesick.

Anyway, one of the songs I have listened to over and over again is called 'sayang itu masa' (the time is wasted). Here goes some of the lyrics:

"sayang itu masa
kalau ditinggal-tinggal
...sudah nokopitunang
bagus makan belanja"

(the time is wasted
if it is left (not used)
...already engaged
why not have the wedding reception"

or something like that.

It is so 'Sabah', and yet one gets the feeling that one is listening to a Dusun song. Well maybe it's the injection of Dusun words like 'nokopitunang'. Or could it be the use of Dusun style expressions in Malay? Words like 'ditinggal-tinggal', or 'makan belanja' that are typical of Dusun expressions? Or could it be the music that is typical sumazau beat? I supposed it a combination of all those.

Speaking of which, is becoming more and more of a trend in the Dusun music industry. Songs like 'Tinggi tinggi Gunung Kinabalu' (As high as the Kinabalu Mountain), 'Nasihat buaya pencen' (advice of a retired 'crocodile') and the like are some examples. (I remember that this started some time in the early 90s, a phenomenon that was interesting enough to have caused me to do a mini research for one of my Malay Letters undergraduate courses then.)

Now I understand that this too is a reflection of the language change that is gradually taking place in Dusun. I won't be surprised if in the future a Dusun song will mean a song with full Sabah Malay lyrics, albeit with Dusun cultural music. In fact the days for that seem to be fast approaching.


azamain said...

music and language can be 2 different thing at certain time i.e for entertainment,education etc but I guess to me,entertainment is the key point : sing in whatever language if the musical tone is correct and enjoyable it'll be ok.)

Happy coming home,ya' all.....

vpa73 said...

music is definitely for entertainment, most of all. I guess that's why we can enjoy songs in languages we don't even understand...and that's great. Thanks for the homecoming wish. Starting to tune the mindset to home frequency now :-)...