I feel compelled to rant about this today. I was having breakfast this morning and reading through the pages of Berita Harian when I chanced upon this letter sent by a reader in the Komentar section:
“KUGIRAN TANPA CIRI MELAYU?
SAYA ingin meluahkan pandangan berkaitan nama kugiran atau band yang menyertai rancangan realiti hiburan, Anugerah Band.
Pertandingan itu antara lain bertujuan mengajak warga menyokong artis setempat.
Cuma yang menjadi kemusykilan adalah mengapakah para peserta memilih nama band asal Inggeris?
Apakah orang kita sudah kekurangan nama Melayu?
Sebaliknya, ada kugiran yang memilih nama ‘Cucu Datok Merah’.
Bagaimanapun, dari segi pakaian dan lagu pilihan mereka pula boleh diibaratkan seperti jauh panggang dari api.
Seandainya kita sendiri tidak mementingkan identiti yang melambangkan kemelayuan, maka mungkin ada risiko bahawa budaya Melayu di Singapura akan hilang.
Muhammad Rabbani Salamat“
For the benefit of those who do not understand Malay, basically in a nutshell, this reader was lamenting the fact that the groups in the Anugerah Band competition have English-sounding names, instead of Malay ones. And then there’s the gripe about a particular group having a Malay name but their image and choice of songs performed was not befitting of their name. Ended off by saying that if we do not have an identity that symbolises Malay culture, there is a risk that this heritage would lose its worth.
Let us all go back in time and recall all those groups that have made their marks in our Malay entertainment scene, across the Nusantara. In the 60s, we had groups like “The Guys“, “The Quest“, “The Siglap 5” (5 pronounced as “Five” and not “Lima“), “Rhythm Boys“, “Night Walkers“, “The Swallows“, “The Hornets” and many others. Then when the 70s came along, we had “Black Dog Bone“, “Sweet Charity“, “Flybaits“, “Carefree” and the likes. When the era of “rock kapak” was at its peak in the 80s, the names of groups like “Search“, “Wings“, “Helter-Skelter“, “Rusty Blade“, “Lefthanded“, “Lovehunters” etc were on everybody’s lips. And throughout the 90s and the turn of the millenium, we also have groups that use English-sounding names like “Exists“, “Cradle“, “Teacher’s Pet“, “Slam“, “Metalasia” etc. But have these groups and their members lost any of their Malay identity, just because their names are in English??? You guys reading this out there would definitely know the answer having been a fan of any of these groups or their songs, throughout your lifetime.
So what is this reader trying to gripe at??? I dunno, I just feel that he’s just barking up the wrong tree. Maybe even wasting his time complaining about something that has no substance or bearing. From history, I learnt that a group’s name is just that: A name. It is their quality and the good music that they produce that make them who they are and their possible longevity in the scene. From what I gather in his grouse, he wants the groups to have Malay-sounding names and having styles both in fashion and musical sense, that match their names. Bollocks!!! This guy certainly is not in tune esthetically with what goes on in the music scene or know nuts about music and especially history. I absolutely have no idea which era he lived in and I dunno why Berita Harian even bothered to publish this piece of mediocrity in the first place!!!