Rasa Sayang

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"Rasa Sayang" (pronounced [ˈrasa saˈjaŋ], literally "loving feeling") or "Rasa Sayange" (in Indonesia) is a Malay[1][2][3][4] folk song popular in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The basis of "Rasa Sayang" is similar to Dondang Sayang and other Malay folk songs, which take their form from the pantun, a traditional ethnic Malay poetic form.[5]

Some people in Indonesia[who?] have claimed that the song originated in the Maluku Islands,[6] but such claims are disputed, as the standard Malay language itself and the tradition of pantun exchange are unknown to the Maluku Islands. Some of the Indonesians and Malaysians have once fought because of this.[7][8][9][10]


Malay lyrics[11][12][13] English translation Poetic English Translation

Rasa sayang, hey!
Rasa sayang sayang, hey!
Hey, lihat nona jauh,
Rasa sayang sayang, hey!

Buah cempedak di luar pagar,
Ambil galah tolong jolokkan;
Saya budak baru belajar,
Kalau salah tolong tunjukkan.

Pulau pandan jauh ke tengah,
Gunung daik bercabang tiga;
Hancur badan di kandung tanah,
Budi yang baik dikenang juga.

Dua tiga kucing berlari,
Mana sama si kucing belang;
Dua tiga boleh ku cari,
Mana sama adik seorang.

Pisang emas dibawa berlayar,
Masak sebiji di atas peti;
Hutang emas boleh dibayar,
Hutang budi dibawa mati.

I've got that loving feeling, hey!
I've got that loving feeling, hey!
See that girl in the distance,
I've got that loving feeling hey!

The cempedak fruit is outside the fence,
Take a pole and poke it down;
I'm just a child trying to learn,
So if i'm wrong then please tell me.

Pandan Island far in midst,
With the three peaked Mount Daik;
While the body decomposes in earth,
Good deeds remain to be remembered.

Two or three cats are running around,
With the striped one which can vie;
Two or three I can find,
Which girl can compare with you.

Pisang emas brought on a sailing trip,
One ripens on a box;
If gold is owed, it can be repaid,
But if it is gratitude, it is carried to the grave.

I've got that loving feeling, hey!
I've got that loving feeling, hey!
See that girl in the distance,
I've got that loving feeling hey!

Where cempedak tree grows without the fence,
Go prod them gently with a stake;
A youthful learner I, so hence,
Be please to point out each mistake.

The Pandan Isle is far from land,
Have three peaks does the Daik Mountain;
Though the self has rot in the sand,
The good deeds are never forgotten.

Two or three cats are running around,
The cat with stripes is the one superior;
Two or three (gals) can be easily found,
But not the same as having you, my dear.

With golden plantains sail away,
Whilst on a chest lies one that’s ripe;
The debts of gold we can repay,
But debts of kindness last through life.

Because this song is in pantun form, for each quatrain, there is no relevance of the first two lines to the message conveyed by the last two except to provide the rhyming scheme. There are a number of versions of the lyrics of "Rasa Sayang", but it usually starts with this refrain:

Rasa sayang, hey!
Rasa sayang-sayang hey,
Lihat nona dari jauh,
Rasa sayang-sayang, hey

The refrain is then followed by a wide variety of popular Malay pantun


Controversy over the song's provenance came to a head in 2007 when the Malaysian Tourism Board released the Rasa Sayang Commercial, an advertisement used as part of Malaysia's "Truly Asia" tourism campaign.[14] Some Indonesians have accused Malaysia of heritage theft. Malaysia in return claimed that the song belongs to people of Maritime Southeast Asia, Malaysians and Indonesians alike.[15] Malaysian Tourism Minister Adnan Mansor stated, "It is a folk song from the Nusantara and we are part of the Nusantara."[14]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jonathan H. X. Lee & Kathleen M. Nadeau (2010). Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife. ABC-CLIO. p. 769. ISBN 978-0-313-35066-5.
  2. ^ Shirley Geok-lin Lim (Editor), Larry E Smith (Editor), Wimal Dissanayake (Editor) (1999). Transnational Asia Pacific: Gender, Culture, and the Public Sphere. University of Illinois Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-252-06809-6.
  3. ^ Koichi Iwabuchi (Editor), Stephen Muecke (Editor), Mandy Thomas (Editor) (2004). Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic. University of Washington Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-962-209-699-8.
  4. ^ Gerwyn Elidor David Lewis (1992). Out East in the Malay Peninsula. OUP South East Asia. p. 142. ISBN 978-967-65-1594-0.
  5. ^ L. F. Brakel, M. Balfas, M. Taib Bin Osman, J. Gonda, B. Rangkuti, B. Lumbera, H. Kahler (1976). Handbuch der Orientalistik: Literaturen, Abschn. 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers. p. 135. ISBN 90-04-04331-4.
  6. ^ Antara News: "The Governor of Maluku Insists that the Song 'Rasa Sayange' Belongs to Indonesia"
  7. ^ Pierre Etienne Lazare Favre (2009). An Account Of The Wild Tribes Inhabiting The Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra, And A Few Neighboring Islands: With A Journey In Johore (1865). Kessinger Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-104-02918-0.
  8. ^ Lisbeth Littrup (1995). Identity In Asian Literature (Studies in Asian Topics , No 21). Routledge. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7007-0368-5.
  9. ^ David Smyth (2000). The Canon in Southeast Asian Literature: Literatures of Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Routledge. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-7007-1090-4.
  10. ^ Annie Ridley Crane Finch (Editor), Kathrine Lore Varnes (Editor) (2002). An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art. University of Michigan Press. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-472-06725-1.
  11. ^ "The Rasa Sayang Song". Rasa Sayang USA. Archived from the original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  12. ^ "Koleksi Lirik Lagu Rakyat". Imnogman. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  13. ^ "Pantun Rumpun Melayu". Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  14. ^ a b "Folk song sparks row between Indonesia, Malaysia." Tourism Indonesia. 3 October 2007.
  15. ^ "'Rasa Sayang' belongs to everybody, says minister". The Star. 12 January 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2008.