Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Driving back home one evening, I heard a new song 'Satu Malaysia' aired on one FM channel. This is the only channel which we enjoy listening in the car. Other channels either air Chinese or Malay songs which I am afraid; I have not yet developed an ear for. The basic problem lies in that I do not understand these two languages. So I stick to my usual channel which airs English songs, English news.

Hence the other day, when I listened to the song 'Satu Malaysia', I tried changing the channel, but later realised that it's my usual channel broadcasting a Malay song. So I continued to drive listening to the song. The channel would air this song regularly in the days to follow. I found myself humming this song often. It has got a very catchy tune, though I did not understand the lyrics when I first heard it.

Grocery shopping for the past two years has helped me pick few Malay words, numbers being one of them. So I was aware that Satu means one. 'Satu Malaysia' campaign is a part of effort by the current Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Tun Rajak to create a sense of belongingness among the country's multi-racial citizens.

The Malays, numerous ethnic tribes, the Chinese, the Indians all together have lived together for generations and Malaysian culture is a result of assimilation of various cultures. The Malays or the Bumi Putras comprise 50% of the total population, followed by 25% Chinese and 10% Indians approximately. The Chinese who initially came for trading hundreds of years ago settled down here and made Malaysia their home. The Indians were brought by Britishers to work in rubber plantations here many years ago. They later settled down here.

The various indigenous tribes in the region of Sarawak and Sabah make for the rest of the population. The Ibans, Bidayuhs etc form the major ethnic group in the state of Sarawak, while the state of Sabah consists of tribes such as the Kadazans, Muruts, Melanaus etc.
Here in lies the uniqueness of Malaysia which sets itself apart from many other countries. It is the spirit of harmonious co-existence of variety of cultures and races over generations. And the one common praiseworthy trait found in every Malaysian is the acceptance level to welcome every one into its fold. Hence the cuisine, the language, the dress all presents a fusion of all cultures.

This song was selected out of the 341 entries in a competition organised by the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry of Malaysia. This song was composed by group of international students of the Limkokwing Sound and Music Design Academy.

One of my Malaysian friends explained the meaning of the song. It broadly translates as follows. 'No matter what ever the challenge be, we will all face it together. Together we are strong, united we stand forever and that's the way it's going to be'. The song 'Satu Malaysia' expresses the spirit of every Malaysian. Malaysia is a melting pot of all cultures and hence the song 'Satu Malaysia' beautifully conveys this message.

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