Terang Bulan

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"Terang Bulan" (Indonesian for "Bright Moon") is a traditional Indonesian folk song adapted from a French melody of La Rosalie.


The song was a traditional folk song adapted from the popular French melody of La Rosalie.[1] Following the popularity of the French melody, it became a popular Indonesian folk song as well for Malay evergreen at parties and cabarets in the Malay Peninsula between 1920s until 1930s. Since the independence of the Federation of Malaya in 1957, public performances of the song and its melody have outlawed, as any such use is proscribed by statute.[citation needed]


Original Indonesian Translation (literal)

Terang bulan, terang di pinggir kali
Buaya timbul disangkalah mati
Jangan percaya mulutnya lelaki
Berani sumpah 'tapi takut mati

Waktu potong padi di tengah sawah
Sambil bernyanyi riuh rendah
Memotong padi semua orang
Sedari pagi sampai petang

Waktu potong padi di tengah sawah
Sambil bernyanyi riuh rendah
Bersenang hati sambil bersuka
Tolonglah kami bersama sama

The moon is shining, moon shine reflects on the river
Floating crocodile thought to be dead
Don't believe man's word
Dare to pledge but afraid of dying

Whilst harvesting paddy in the field
Singing gaily
Everybody is harvesting paddy
morning past to evening (unnoticed)

Whilst harvesting paddy in the field
Singing gaily
Heart at ease while having fun
Help us together

Other versions[edit]

Several lyrics set to the tune exist, with their meanings being very similar, as the exact original lyrics are generally considered to be unknown.

Felix Mendelssohn & His Hawaiian Serenaders used the tune of Terang Bulan in their song Mamula Moon, on their 1947 album Paradise Isle.

Dutch version[edit]

Dutch singer Zangeres Zonder Naam recorded a Dutch version of "Terang Bulan" (spelt "Terang Boelan"). The meaning in the Dutch version is entirely different from the original lyrics, although the Dutch version mentions the island of Java.

Dutch lyrics Translation (literal)

Terang boelan de maan schijnt over Java
En aan het strang zit Nunja heel alleen
Ze denkt nog altijd aan haar Tuan Blanda
die met zijn schip zolang van haar verdween

Hij had beloofd dat hij terug zou komen
maar wat hij zei dat bleek helaas niet waar
Ze zijn voorbij haar mooie toekomst dromen
haar hart doet pijn 't leven valt zo zwaar

Toch is er iets dat haar nog vreugd kan geven
dat is haar kind met ogen hemelsblauw
De zon die scheen weer even in haar leven
als ut kindje zegt ik blijf voorgoed bij jou

The moon is shining, the moon is shining above Java
Nunja is sitting all alone at the beach
Still thinking about her Dutch Master
Who disappeared long ago with his ship

He promised to return
But what he said, turned out to be not true, unfortunately
It's all over, her beautiful dreams about the future
Her heart hurts, life is so heavy

However, there's still something that can bring her joy
That is her child with eyes so navy blue
The sun shined for a while in her life
When the child said: 'I will stay forever with you'

Other adaptation from the similar French melody[edit]

Perak State Anthem[edit]

Sultan Idris Murshidul’adzam Shah, the ruler of Perak, was aware of the song's popularity during his exile in the Seychelles for abetting murder. When the Sultan represented the other rulers of the Federated Malay States at the coronation of King Edward VII in 1901, his protocol officer was asked what his state anthem was. The Sultan realised that his state did not possess an anthem, proceeded to hum the aforementioned tune in order not to appear backwards to his hosts, thus 'creating' the state anthem of Perak.[2][3]

Malaysian National Anthem[edit]

Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Chief Minister and Minister for Home Affairs of the Federation of Malaya, selected Perak's state anthem as the Federation's national hymn, on account of its "traditional flavour".[4] The tune was rechristened "Negaraku" and the lyrics were changed, with popular performances in cabarets and parties halting as it became proscribed by statute. When Malaysia was formed in 1963, the song remained the national anthem.


  1. ^ "Malaysia Anthem Furor Hits Wrong Note, Says Indonesian Expert". Jakarta Globe. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  2. ^ The National Anthem of Malaysia - Negaraku
  3. ^ "7.3.3 Lagu Kebangsaan" from Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah Sejarah Tingkatan 5 (Buku Teks) Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka 2003
  4. ^ Pemilihan lagu Negaraku

External links[edit]