“Ning, I have no class this afternoon. Let’s go out for high tea after my Jumaat prayers.’
“ So I don’t have to prepare lunch.”
“ And dinner!”
That was a deal and by three we were in town to join a small crowd with a three-piece band playing soft music. We found ourselves a table for two in a corner within sight of the music makers. After picking up some dishes we sat quietly enjoying our food half listening to lovely old English pieces – pieces for dancing.
I did not know what was in her mind but I quickly went back in time, some fifty years ago`. I could see couples, all properly attired; swaying to romantic waltzes and slow foxtrots. Oh, what a lovely scene it was in the pictures of my mind. Suddenly I was awakened from my reverie when the music changed. It was Bengawan Solo, my very favourite of the mid 50’s.
I looked up and saw the leader/singer smiling at me as he sang the lyrics. Yes we know each other and it was his way of presenting something special. What a song this is, an evergreen Indonesian classic.
Bengawan Solo, riwayatmu ini
sedari dulu jadi perhatian insani
musim kemarau, tak seberapa airmu
di musim hujan air meluap sampai jauh ...
mata airmu dari Solo
terkurung gunung seribu
air mengalir sampai jauh
akhirnya ke laut ...
itu perahu, riwayatmu dulu
kaum pedagang s'lalu naik itu perahu
"Bengawan Solo, this is a song of your history.
People have been fascinated with this great river since ancient times,
In the dry season, your water is little, and in the rainy season, your water overflows till far,
Around the source of the Solo River, there are a thousand mountains,
And the river flows all the way to the sea.
There are always many merchants on board ships going up and down the river.
These ships also show your history."
Before we left I made the few steps to the music makers and thanked the leader for his very special song. “ I knew you would want me to sing that. Until next time …..”
That was a good break for us. On the way home I expressed the thought which had been lingering in my mind. “ Ning, isn’t strange? Fifty years ago our Malay folks looked with contempt and disapproval at Malays in proper dresses dancing gracefully to the sentimental music because it was a western culture. And today, we see on TV crowds of young and old Malays swaying their hands in unison, delirious at boys and girls jumping and wriggling on stage in dresses I feel completely disgusted.”
“You are behind time, darling!” she responded with a wry smile.
Indeed I am. A lot of water has gone under the bridge (of Bengawan Solo)
Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan yntuk kemanusiaan