After years of being fed a diet of English children’s songs, Malay kids, parents and educators in Singapore can now look forward to a newly created package that has been created to revitalise and rejuvenate the Malay Children’s music industry. “Lagu-Lagu Kita” is a compilation CD of 40 carefully selected Malay children’s songs from a span of 40 years (1950s-80s). It is a project by Mini Monsters and is supported under the National Heritage Board’s Heritage Industry Incentive Programme (Hi²P), a co-funding scheme designed to encourage more the development and creation of innovative heritage products and services that will reach out to as many Singaporeans as possible
For the uninitiated, Mini Monsters is the Education Outreach arm of television production house Dua M Pte. Ltd. and Music & Movement Pte. Ltd. Headed by Creative Director, Najip Ali and Chief Creative Officer, Rilla Melati Bahri, Mini Monsters aims to revive an interest in the Malay Language by offering an interesting and fun approach in its learning. With their motto – “Berhibur dan Belajar” (Entertain and Educate) – Mini Monsters believes in partnering like minded establishments and educational institutions in order to promote active Malay learning. Their courses and products are aimed at giving the best to all kids – at school or at home – while instilling a lifelong love for the Malay language through confidence-building and creative ways.
This project serves to put a name and a face behind every lyricist and composer of these endearing Malay children’s songs that we grew up with, in hope of reviving the songs for the generations to come. Aimed at children aged 4 to 14 years, kids can sing-a-long while they learn about Malay values, lifestyle and customs through the lyrics. This edu-tainment pack is not just targeted at Malay children but children of all ethnicities who are willing and keen to learn Malay in a fun and entertaining manner. Projects like “Lagu-Lagu Kita” can not only bring back the heritage that we may have forgotten but also introduce a brand new audience to the many hidden and forgotten gems of Singapore’s heritage.
I had the honour of being invited to cover the event when it was held on the morning of 10 June 2012 at the Upper Concourse of the Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay. Thanks to the kind people at Mini Monsters for the invitation, I felt obliged to attend and in turn, come out of my blog “retirement”, as this is something I feel close to my heart since young. Back in primary school, I recall learning and singing some of these songs during my mother tongue classes. Coupled with educational shows like Mat Yoyo and other beneficial Bengkel Kanak-Kanak TV programmes, I admit that they have in a way introduced and strengthened my knowledge on the Malay language. Which was why I brought my children along that day to expose them to the songs that my wife and I had learned when we were young.
Seeing the performances of the singers that day (Imran Ajmain, Dalina Jaapar, Rudy Djoharnaen) and listening to the songs they performed, was like a walk down memory lane. I felt nostalgic thinking back of my lost childhood. At the same time, I felt so thankful towards this initiative to revive and to preserve these treasures for our younger generation to pick up and learn and in turn, to pass it down for generations to come. It has been a month since the CD was launched but my daughters insist on listening to them every day!!! This is indeed an effort which deserves to be supported by our community and of course by the schools. Our children can most definitely learn a lot from the messages imparted through the songs, be it in language, moral, religious and ethical values.
The CD pack contains a book & two audio CDs including a CD on the oral history of Malay children’s songs in Singapore as told by veteran songwriters and composers such as Nona Asiah, Yusnor Ef, Drs Bahri Rajib and Khamaliah Salleh. The 40 specially selected songs have been re-arranged and updated to appeal to today’s kids and teenagers. The songs in this compilation are sung by popular and well-known young artistes such as Imran Ajmain, Hyrul Anuar, Syarif SleeQ, Rudy Djoharnaen, Dalina Jaapar and Nurulhuda Ramdzan.
Another special feature of the pack – these 40 songs are categorised into stages to suit children across different age groups. The stages go from Tahap 1 (Beginners) to Tahap 3 (Advanced) and together with a companion guide, it serves to educate them further by explaining the themes, values and reflections found in each of the individual song lyrics. What is interesting is that the book also contains photographs and a brief history of our Malay children’s programmes on national television since the 1970s. One of the photographs featured the book, a picture of the 1988 batch of Bengkel Kanak-Kanak TV graduates has my other half and several friends I’ve made along the way, in it.
“Lagu-Lagu Kita” is priced at $29.90 and can be purchased at the following places:
- Esplanade Shop
- Museum Label @ National Museum of Singapore
- Museum Label @ Singapore Art Museum
- Museum Label @ Asian Civilisation Museum
- Muzika Rekods
- Warisan Media
- Wardah Books
- Mini Monsters – Send your emails to Ms. Lydia Cheriyan (firstname.lastname@example.org)