Salleh Ben Joned’s Salacious Pantuns

Literary giant Salleh Ben Joned Salleh Ben Joned passed away a few months ago. His taste in pantuns favored the more … spicy. His short essay “Salacious Pleasures of ‘Pantuns'” on four classic pantuns from the book Kumpulan Pantun Melayu (published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia) features his loose translations into English and some thoughts about their significance to the Malay Psyche. I was surprised to find I had already translated three of them on separate occasions. Here are all four of Salleh Ben Joned’s Salacious Pantuns, followed by my translation and then his translation.

Salacious Pantun #1: TELUK DAN SIAM

Ke Teluk sudah, ke Siam sudah
Ke Mekah saja aku yang belum
Berpeluk sudah, bercium sudah
Bernikah saja aku yang belum.

My translation:
Teluk and Siam are done, off my list,
but I haven’t yet reached the Holiest City;
I’ve shared an embrace and also a kiss,
But I haven’t yet tried holy matrimony.

Salleh Ben Joned’s translation:
I’ve been to Thailand, to the Gulf too,
Only to Mecca I haven’t been;
Kissed them I have, and known them too,
Without going through the wedding scene.

Salacious Pantun #2: KUANG BERTELUR

Di mana kuang bertelur?
Di atas lata, di celah batu,
Di mana sayang nak tidur?
Di atas dada, di celah susu.

My translation:
“Where does the pheasant lay eggs?” it is said,
Above the falls, ‘tween boulders they rest;
Where shall my true love lay down his head,
Within these arms, between my two breasts.

Salleh Ben Joned’s translation:
Where does the dove lay its eggs
In the rapids between the rocks
Where may I lay my head, my love
On the chest between the breasts.

kuang pheasant

Salacious Pantun #3: KERENGGA DALAM BULUH

Kerengga di dalam buluh,
Serahi berisi air mawar,
Sampai hasrat di dalam tubuh,
Tuan seorang jadi penawar.

My Translation:
Vials filled with rosewater treat
fire ants within the bamboo;
When my body fills with need
The only remedy is you.

Salleh Ben Joned’s Translation:
Red ants crawling in bamboo shaft
Vessel brimming with rose water
When my body’s possessed by lust
Only you can be the appeaser.

bamboo

Salacious Pantun #4, a quite randy pantun indeed: BUKIT JERAM

Tanam padi di Bukit Jeram
Tanam keduduk atas batu
Macam mana hati tak geram
Menengok tetek menolak baju

My Translation:
Plant your rice in Jeram Hill dust,
Senduduk in the rocky dirt;
How could my heart not fill with lust,
To see her breasts push up her shirt.

Salleh Ben Joned’s Translation:
Plant the padi with a thrust
Stroke the seedlings with dew
It drives you crazy with lust
To see the tits tilting the baju (blouse)

Senduduk

His thoughts on the significance of these pantuns in understanding the Malay Psyche are linked here. Me, I just translate ’em.

Doa Zubir Ali

Allahyarham Zubir Ali seorang penyair dan penyanyi yang meninggalkan kita terlalu awal. Lagu beliau “Doa” antara lagu pebret isteri saya. Selama ini sang isteri tak pernah bagi cadangan lagu atau syair untuk saya terjemahkan. Tetiba dia suruh buat yang ni.

Tak dapat nafikan jauh ia lebih sedap sebagai lagu – cuba dengar dan baca al-Fatihah bagi ruh beliau:

News for Mother

Mak has been in the hospital a lot lately. That put the wife and I in a sentimental mood one evening so we put together this video. The music is Khabar Bagi Ibu by the Alleycats.  Here are the lyrics with my translation:

How are you, dear mother
Who I love so much
I have some news for you
About your future daughter-in-law

She’s an ordinary person, nothing special
But healthy and bright
And she’s going to help me
Get through my day-to-day

No need for you to worry about our love
We’ve promised to respect one another
I hope you will throw yellow rice
across the front yard of the house
To welcome the two of us home
O Mother of mine

I love her
Just like dad loves you
And she loves me
Just like you love dad

I love her
Just like dad loves you
And she loves me
Just like you love dad

Ke hadapan ibuku
Yang sangatku cintai
Dengarlah khabar ini
Tentang calon menantu

Orangnya sederhana tidak berlebihan
Tapi cergas serta pintar
Dan dia kan membantu
Dalam urusan seharian

Usahlah engkau bimbang tentang cinta kami
Kami telah berjanji akan saling menghormati
Harap ibu kan taburkan beras kunyit
Di depan halaman rumah
Menyambut kepulangan kami berdua
Oh ibu ku

Ku menyintainya
Seperti ayah menyintaimu
Dan dia menyintaiku
Seperti kau cintakan ayah

Tiadalah Jemu: Gurindam 12 Fasal 5 | Episode 25

Jika hendak mengenal orang berbangsa,

lihat kepada budi dan bahasa.

Jika hendak mengenal orang yang berbahagia,

sangat memeliharakan yang sia-sia.

Jika hendak mengenal orang mulia,

lihatlah kepada kelakuan dia.

Jika hendak mengenal orang yang berilmu,

bertanya dan belajar tiadalah jemu.

Jika hendak mengenal orang yang berakal,

di dalam dunia mengambil bekal.

Jika hendak mengenal orang yang baik perangai,

lihat pada ketika bercampur dengan orang ramai.