Traveling from India to Melaka,
Dealing in spices, cloth, and copper.
We are known as the Chetti of Melaka,
Guardians of tradition and culture.
Sporting shirts with bronze buttons we inspire,
Ornate fabric so expensive.
A symbol of culture is our attire,
Radiant, handsome, and majestic.
Curry simmering in a cast-iron pot,
A pot passed down through generations.
Dressed in kebaya with hair tied up in a knot,
Chetti women ready for celebrations.
Dressed in sarongs and white T-shirts,
And wooden clogs inherited from ancestors.
A shawl on the shoulder and headgear on point,
These are a Chetti man’s treasures.
“Pantun” © Nironjini Pillay, Shagina Bhalan, Nadarajan Mudalier, and Mahendran Pillay. Translation © 2021 by Nurul Huda Hamzah and Stefanie Shamila Pillai. All rights reserved.