"Rasa Sayange" is not only sung by the Malays bur is also very popular among the Portuguese in Malaysia, and is a favourite during festivals at the Portuguese settlement in Ujong Pasir here.

The head of the Portuguese traditional music group at the settlement, Manuel Lazaroo said the song handed down by their great-grandparents.

"The word "nona" in the lyrics of the "Rasa Sayange" song in Portuguese means a young lady or an unmarried woman," he told Bernama here today.

He said this in reaction to allegations by some quarters in Indonesia that Malaysia had "stolen" the song and made it a jingle for the country's promotion Visit Malaysia Year and Malaysia Truly Asia programmes.

The Portuguese first arrived in Melaka in 1511. There are currently about 1,200 Portuguese staying in 118 houses in Ujong Pasir.

Lazaroo, 66, however, said he could not say from which country the song originated or who composed the "Rasa Sayange" but that it had been sung since the time of his forefathers.

"I was taught to sing the song since I was a small boy and so were the other children," he added.

Lazaroo, who is the ninth generation in the settlement, said the "Rasa Sayange" could be regarded a song of the Malay archipelago.

Meanwhile, the settlement's head, Peter Thomas Gomes, 50, said the Portuguese community liked to sing the song because it exulted joy and merriment.

"The song is popular among the Portuguese and also other communities. I was taught the song when I was still in school," he added.

By Mohamad Bakri Darus



  1. Anonymous // October 26, 2007 at 6:05 PM  

    The word "Nona" is an indonesian word that means young lady.

    Rasa Sayange is also indonesian folk song originated from maluku.
    Rasa sayange is one of the song from an album for asian games in the sixty that was held in Indonesia.
    And there old movie in 1920's when Indonesia still under Netherland government shown Rasa Sayange song in Indonesia.

    I don't know who's exactly the owner of this song but Indonesia definitely also has the right of this song.

  2. Maxx // October 26, 2007 at 7:24 PM  

    Thanks your information.

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