The Language

This morning I made a my first trip to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Somehow, eerily I must add, the lyrics of the song from the Perkhemahan Bahasa and Budaya, which I attended way back when I was in Primary 6 crept into my mind. With it, came the memories of that camp. That was yonks ago, at Camp Christine back in my hometown. I remembered that was the year they officially launch the Bulan Bahasa dan Budaya to be carried out as an annual event. It was memorable because only 2 students from each primary school throughout the island were selected to go for this camp and it was then that I had my first taste of social networking with students from other primary schools.

Oh we had fun! We played traditional games like batu selembat, congkak and capteh. We had the hilarious tarik upih competition. We had pesta pantun and syair competitions. The camp officials, who were actually cikgu-cikgu Bahasa Melayu from all over the island engaged us in activities which we would not have experienced in our day to day life as city dwellers.

It was also at that camp that we had a pair of brothers Nur and Adee who were camp volunteers teaching us Malay songs. They went on to become well known duet singers Nuradee in later years. The most hilarious piece of memory I had of that camp back then was the dikir barat performance we had to perform for the Guest of Honour on the last day of the camp. We were 12 years old. We played no traditional musical instruments. Brothers Nur and Adee brilliantly taught us to do dikir barat using pots and pans and basins. Lo and behold, it was a hit and we were in Berita Harian for it! šŸ˜›

Today as I walked through the lanes of books at Dewan Bahasa bookstore, the lyrics of the song just played in my mind. It has not left me. It is still playing although it has been hours since I left the bookshop with my loot of Malay story books meant for students who came up with Kera bin Monyet sentences.

Lagu Bulan Bahasa


Mari bangsa ku mari saudara

Kita gunakan bahasa bunda

Sebagai lidah penggugah rasa

Cinta bahasa cinta budaya


Demi cinta kepada budaya

Kita penatar bahasa bunda

Bahasa maju budaya jaya

Maruah bangsa terpelihara


Cintailah bahasa ibunda

Cintailah budaya pusaka

Bahasa yang menjunjung budaya

Budaya nilai maruah bangsa

Word has it, many years down the road now, the song is still the same and the camp is still going on annually…


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