Our National Anthem from ' Mamula Moon '

Posted by Lakshmi

Friday 26th August 2011

In view of our impending Independance Day ( Merdeka ) on 31 August 2011, and  feeling very very Malaysian indeed , I decided to  read up on the origins and history of  ' Negaraku ' , our national anthem .  Would you  believe it if I told you  that I actually sang along when it was playing  ?    Well, I couldn't believe it myself either (  and hearing my voice cracking and croaking on the  notes made me realise that I'm not that young chick I used to be anymore, ouch !)     Its one of those songs which you sing instinctively with reverence and pride and it's at these moments that  I feel so proud and 'banga betul '  to be  Malaysian, my ' tanah tumpah darah ku '   ( hey, I'm a very patriotic  Malaysian  first, then only Indian ,   unlike our  esteemed Deputy Prime Minister's statement of  he's Malay first and then  Malaysian  .  So,   you agree with me that  I'm better qualified to be the Deputy Prime Minister, right ? !    .

I remember the days when as a  primary school kid, it was sung during all the school assemblies and the flag would be hoisted up and the song  sung with such gusto, vigour and feelings.  Of course, I didn't understand the true meaning of the words then , my early primary years , I mean   ( the teachers didn't explain and as was usual, we just learned it by rote and sang because everyone did ) But,  there was that special atmosphere  of importance and reverence  whenever the song was sung - teachers and students alike would  stop everything and stand as stiff as a ramrod  and no one dared to even turn their heads .

This reminds me of an episode in school.  During my primary school days, we did not have these backpacks and canvas bags that students so casually sling over their shoulder.  We had these strong and sturdy  rattan baskets with a semi-circular handle in which we had to carry all our books and fountain pens complete with black and blue  ink bottles, blotters and handkerchief .  It really did weigh a ton and  how did I know that ? Because when I was in Primary 2 , I had come late to school ( at that age of 8, it was  not my fault but by parents, okay ) the assembly had started and I had to hold my  big and sturdy rattan basket with its contents  in my hands and stand still under the blazing hot sun  until the anthem had been sung. I was too afraid to even move an inch and put my bag down !  Hmmm..... those were the days, my friend, we thought it would never end...................

Goodness, I've gone off tangent again.......... anyway,  my very best friend, Ms Gouri , had emailed me this video of the origin of our national anthem which I thought should be shared with all the readers. 

And just to share with my readers, here's some background info about how a melody of a French song, "Mamula Moon" became  ' Negaraku ' our national anthem..............

Both the excerpts below were taken from  public archives made  available online.

It is believed that the melody  of  the song was composed by a French musician named Pierre Jean de Beranger who was born in France in 1780 and died in 1857. His composition of ' Mamula Moon ' was  introduced by an opera group from Indonesia during a show in Singapore. Over a short span of time the song became very popular in Singapore and was given the name Terang Bulan. Even after the song had become the tune for the Perak State anthem under Sultan Idris  it was still played at social functions. It remained as such until it became the tune for the Malaysian National anthem named Negaraku.

Another  excerpt from the Malaysian archives also gives this information :

Another story about the origin of Negaraku was related by Raja Kamarulzaman, son of Raja Mansur who used to serve as aide-de-camp to Sultan Idris. According to him, Terang Bulan was first used as the tune for the Perak State anthem when Sultan Idris visited London in 1888, one year after he was installed as Sultan. His visit to London was in conjunction with the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1888. Upon the arrival of the royal entourage in London, a representative of Queen Victoria asked Raja Mansur, the aide-de- camp of Sultan Idris, for the note of the Perak State anthem. Protocol required that the Perak State anthem be played as the Sultan walked into the coronation hall. To avoid embarrassment, the quick-witted Raja Mansur told the representative of the Queen that the music sheets for the State anthem had been left behind. However, if the officer could get a musician, Raja Mansur said he could whistle the tune for the musician to write the notes. When a musician was brought forth, Raja Mansur whistled the song that was very popular among the Perak people at that time. So the Perak State anthem was officially played for the first time during the coronation of Queen Victoria in London. And it was actually the tune of Terang Bulan.  "

 With such interesting historical details, I wonder why History in school is taught in such a dull and drab manner................ no, I don't want to go into that now  !

 Happy reading and listening  and let's celebrate our Merdeka 




No Responses to Our National Anthem from ' Mamula Moon '

Leave a Reply