Furore over the anthem, Negaraku
The recent furore over the government's attempts to keep fiddling around with Negaraku as they please has annoyed most Malaysians to such an extent that it is considered by many to be unwise to make any further alterations without the support of a popular referendum.
History of the Negaraku
(excerpts from http://www.answers.com/library/Wikipedia and http://www.national-anthems.org/)
"Negaraku" or "Negara Ku" is the national anthem of Malaysia. "Negaraku" was selected as a national anthem at the time of the Federation of Malaya's independence from Britain in 1957. The title means My Country.
The lyrics go as follows:
Negaraku, tanah tumpahnya darahku,
Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju,
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan,
Raja kita, selamat bertakhta.*2
This translates into English roughly as:
Oh, my country, the land where my life began
Its people live in progress and harmony
With God-given blessings of happiness
Our King reigns in peace
At the time of independence, each of the eleven States of Malaya that made up the Federation had their own anthem, but there was no anthem for the Federation as a whole. Tunku Abdul Rahman, at the time the Chief Minister and Minister for Home Affairs organized and presided over a committee for the purpose of choosing a suitable national anthem. On his suggestion, a worldwide competition was launched. 514 entries were received from all over the world. None were deemed suitable.
Next the committee decided to invite selected composers of international repute to submit compositions for consideration. The composers chosen were Benjamin Britten, Sir William Walton who had recently composed the march for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, the American opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti and Zubir Said, who later composed the National Anthem of Singapore. They were all turned down too.
The Committee then turned to the Perak State Anthem. On August 5 1957 it was selected on account of the "traditional flavour" of its melody. New lyrics for the National Anthem were written jointly by the Panel of Judges— with the Tunku himself playing the leading role.
At the time this melody was, while still the State Anthem of Perak, also a well-known and popular Malay song under the title, Terang Bulan ("Bright Moon").
The song had been very popular on the island of Mahé in the Seychelles. where Sultan Abdullah of Perak had formerly been living in exile. He heard it at a public band concert on the island, a song to a popular French melody, La Rosalie, originally composed by the lyricist Pierre Jean de Beranger (1780-1857), who was born and died in Paris.
Sultan Idris of Perak was invited by Queen Victoria to go to London in 1888, the year after he was proclaimed Sultan. He was accompanied by Sir Hugh Low, the British Resident of Perak and he took Raja Mansur, eldest son of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II Habibullah, with him as his ADC. When their ship reached Southampton a representative of the British Government came on board and asked Raja Mansur -in his capacity as the Sultan's ADC - to give him the music of the Perak State Anthem so that it could be played when His Highness was given a ceremonial welcome. Raja Mansur thought it would be undignified to reply that Perak had as yet no State Anthem, so he decided to create one. He explained that he had not brought the music with him but he could hum or play the tune if someone could take down the notes, and when the Bandmaster arrived he hummed the music of his favourite tune from the Seychelles. When the Bandmaster had gone ashore Raja Mansur went to the Sultan and told him what he had done and when they drove in state to Buckingham Palace he reminded the Sultan that when he heard the tune he must stand to attention himself as it was now his own State Anthem. From that day onwards Perak adopted this as its official Anthem and was probably the first Malay State to have one.
The tune was later introduced into an Indonesian Bangsawan (Opera), which was performing in Singapore. In no time at all, the melody became extremely popular and was given the name Terang Bulan. Aside from its dignity and prestige as the Perak State Anthem, the tune became a Malayan "evergreen", playing at parties, in cabarets and sung by almost everybody in the 1920s and 1930s. (Today, of course, since independence, it is not played as a popular melody, and any such use is proscribed by statute.)
Traditionally Negaraku was introduced with a short drum roll "which beckons the audience to attention, and heralds a stately pace, where the nation sings its pledges of loyalty to King and country. It continues serenely to express the unity of our multiethnic population and our gratitude to God for His blessings. And as the music repeats the coda section, praying for the safety of our enthroned King, then comes a stirring crescendo of drum rolls and cymbals, which culminates in a poignantly dignified ending."
The anthem was given a new quick march beat in 1992, which proved unpopular. Some Malaysians have gone as far as to say that the altered tempo resembled circus music, and was the subject of much derision. In July, 2003 it was reported in the Malaysian press that the anthem would be rearranged for the second time and the title and lyric would be changed from Negaraku to Malaysiaku. There was a public outcry of dismay and the change of name was scrapped, but the anthem was re-arranged and returned to the pre-1992 pace by composer Wah Idris.
YM Datuk Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, MCOBA, wrote:
Negaraku sebenarnya bukan diciplak. Namun terdapat kontroversi tentang asal-usulnya. Lagu yang dimainkan di gazebo di Seychelles bernama "La Rosalie", kemudian menjadi 'Terang Bulan' atawa lagu Setambul yang dipertikaikan samada keroncong Jawa atawa lagu Melayu Malaya, kemudian lagi menjadi lagu kebesaran Perak 'Allah Selamatkan Sultan', dan kemudian lagu kebangsaan Malaya/Malaysia 'Negaraku'.
Di muzium muzik Perancis di Paris, saya pernah bertanyakan mengenai ‘La Rosalie’ tetapi tiada yang boleh membantu mengesahkan iramanya. Saya pernah mencadangkan melalui tulisan kepada pihak atasan pada tahun 1993 untuk dicipta lagu kita sendiri dan bukan sebarang lagu yang dipertikai milikannya. Tiada hasil selain mantan PM mengubah sedikit rentak kelajuannya dari “slow march” yang pernah diperlikan oleh mantan Dubes Republik Indonesia di Kuala Lumpur pra-Konfrontasi Djatikusumo.
Namun oleh kerana Malaya akan menyambut jubli emas kemerdekaan dua tahun lagi, mengapa tidak didesak sang pencipta beradu usaha mencipta lagu kita oleh kita bagi kita?
Berikut adalah tulisan beliau (Mac 1993) yang menzahirkan harapan agar Lagu Kebangsaan Negaraku dan Panji-panji Negara diubah:
Tabik saya kepada yang berwibawa
Semoga diterima dalam sentosa
Suatu cadangan sekadar usaha
Untuk menjana kebanggaan bangsa
Malaysia menjelma 16 September
Hampir tamat dasawarsa ketiga
Tidakkah sampai masa dan ketika
Bendera dan anthem direka semula?
Lagu Kebangsaan dinyanyikan selalu
Berasal dari Seychelles kita diberitahu
Menjadi siulan orang-orang terdahulu
Sangat popular di hilir dan hulu
Awal abad di suatu hari
Kisah Sultan dari Cempaka Sari
Ke London baginda berangkat pergi
Menghadap Raja Inggeris pelindung Negeri
Sultan Idris Mursyidul-a'dzam
Pemerintah Perak Darul-ridzuan
Ketika tiba di Victoria Station
Disoal: How shall we play your Anthem?
Caranya Melayu menandakan daulat
Nafiri ditiup dipalukan naubat
Tiada lagu kebangsaan dibuat
Untuk berdiri bertabik hormat
Hendak mengaku tiadanya lagu
Tentu nampak kodinya Melayu
Disiullah baginda saat itu
'Terang Bulan' laksana buluh perindu
Nota disusun irama pun digubah
Istiadat sambutan diatur sudah
Bendera Perak pun berkibar megah
Anthem dimain di Buckingham indah
Sekembali baginda di Kuala Kangsar
Diperihal lawatan kepada Orang-orang Besar
Cerita keadaan yang hampir mencemar
Ketiadaan Anthem menyebabkan gusar
Dititahkan kepada jelata sekalian
Jadilah 'Terang Bulan' lagu kebangsaan
Liriknya disedia lantas dimasyhurkan
Lagu dinama "Allah Selamatkan Sultan"
Selepas 27 hb Julai 1955
Kerajaan sendiri pula menjelma
'Malaya Merdeka' laungan bergema
Anthem Negara pula perlu dijana
Diadakanlah peraduan lagu-lagu
Masuk pencipta seperti J.Boyles & A. Soliano
Terbitlah lagu 'Putera-puteri' & 'Benderaku'
Tetapi kesemuanya tak diminati Tunku
Maka Kabinet berfikirlah sejenak
Anthem-anthem Negeri pula disemak
Daripada sembilan adalah gamak
Yang boleh dipilih Menteri terbanyak
Masih terpukau dengan 'Terang Bulan'
Yang mendasari lagu Perak Darul-ridzuan
Kabinet memilihnya tanpa mengkelan
Sebagai Lagu Kebangsaan Persekutuan
Menjelang terlaksana gagasan 'Melayu Raya'
Cantuman Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak & Malaya
Soekarno yang iri menganjurkkan pesta
'Terang Bulan' dinyanyi untuk berdansa
Terhina tersipu si Kamaruddin Idris
Dutabesar kita hatinya terhiris
Maruah kita sengaja digilis
Dek tahana Bung yang dihasut Iblis
"Terang boelan di oedjoeng kali
Buaja hidoep disangka mati
Djangan pertjaya hatinja lelaki
Lain di moeloet soes lain di hati"
Demikian sebahagian senikata dinyanyi
Konon dari keroncong Jawa asli
Pungkoq digoyang sambil menari
Sesudah mengaib kita dikonfrontasi
Malaysia XXX dan XXXVI Malaya
Masih berkongsi lagu Negeri & Negara
Apakah tiada modal dan upaya
Untuk Anthem sendiri dicipta?
Terluang masa lima purnama
Bagi dihebah kepada semua
Memanggil pencipta masuk ke arena
Mencipta Anthem baru lirik dan irama
Seperkara lagi panji-panji negara
Berjalur 14 berbintang dan hilal pula
Putih biru kuning & merah menyala
Tetapi termodel kepada bendera Amerika
Barangkali bersempena tiga dasawarsa
Kewujudan kita senegara Malaysia
Bendera baharu wajarlah disua
Sebagai lambang Malaysia perkasa!
1.Dasawarsa=sepuluh tahun = decade
2.Seychelles= pulau buangan Sultan Abdullah
3.Cempaka Sari= pusat pemerintahan Perak dulu
6.Tanggal 27.07.1955=Pemilihan Umum pertama Malaya
7.'Melayu Raya' =gagasan awal sebelum 'Malaysia'
8.Kamaruddin Idris= Dubes Malaya di Jakarta
9.Lima purnama= dihitung dari 16 April 1993
10.Hilal= bulan sabit=crescent.
And hear these: (just click on the links)
So what say you?
Adlan Benan Omar, MCOBA, pointed out that the ADC who accompanied Sultan Idris in 1888 was Raja Mansur ibni Sultan Abdullah; and not Raja Kamaralzaman ibni Raja Mansur as mentioned originally in Wikipedia. Raja Kamaralzaman was born in 1892 and died in 1962. Adlan added other interesting facts in history:
Sultan Idris made four trips to London:
1884: while serving as Raja Bendahara, he was accompanied by Hugh Low and Raja Mansur to ask for the return of the Perak alat kebesaran seized by the British from Sultan Ismail Muabidin Riayat Shah (1871-1875).
1888: at the invitation of Queen Victoria, again accompanied by Hugh Low and Raja Mansur
1902: to attend the coronation of King Edward VII, accompanied by Hugh Clifford and Raja Chulan as well as Raja Alang Iskandar (later Sultan Iskandar Kadasallah Shah 1918-1938) who was studying at Oxford
1911: to attend the coronation of George V, accompanied by Tengku Permaisuri Che Uteh Mariah, Raja Chulan, Raja Harun al-Rashid and Raja Abdul Rashid.
According to Raja Aminah binti Raja Mansur, it was at the 1888 visit that Raja Mansur instructed the bandmaster of the British Royal Navy to play the tune La Rosalie as the state anthem of Perak at Southamptonport in order to receive the arrival of Sultan Idris, then newly installed as Sultan.
In passing, amongst other state anthems used have been:
Johor - Dondang Sayang (1897) lyrics by Capt Mohd Said Haji Sulaiman (written 1910)
Selangor - Chantek Manis (1898) Raja Bot, replaced in 1908 by Allah Selamatkan Duli Yang Maha Mulia (D Ortega) and in 1960 by Duli Yang Maha Mulia (current)
N. Sembilan - Bunga Tanjong (1898) Berkatlah Yang di-Pertuan Besar (1911 - Andrew Caldecott)
Terengganu - Allah Peliharakan Raja Kami 1927 (Hashim Bakar)
Kelantan - Lanjutkan Usia Sultan Kami 1927 (MS Menezes)
Perlis - Amin Amin Ya Rabbal Jalil 1930 (Tuanku Syed Hamzah Jamalullail)
Kedah - Allah Selamat Sultan Mahkota 1937 (James Redhill)
Pahang - Lagu Pahang 1923 (Mary Sworder)