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Poetry

Pantun

The origins and heritage of the Melaka Chetti people take center stage in this pantun, a traditional Malay poetic form.
Listen to K. Vimala Devi Rajah (d/o G. Kandasamy Rajah) read "Pantun" by Nironjini Pillay, Shagina Bhalan, Nadarajan Mudaliar, and Mahendran Pillay in the original Chetti Malay.
 
 

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.

English Chetti Malay

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.

Pantun

Dariy India datang ke Melaka,
Berdagang rempah, kayin dan tembaga.
Diberiy nama Chetti Melaka,
Tradisiy dan warisan terus di jaga.

Pakei baju kancing suwasa,
Tenunan indah mahal sekaliy.
Pakeiyan itu lambang budaya,
Cantik terserlah hiayasan diriy.

Masak kariy dalam belanga,
Belanga turunan harta pusaka.
Berbajuy kebaya kondeh berbunga,
Itulah pakaiyan wanita Chetti Melaka.

Berkayin sarong berbajuy pagoda,
Terompah kayu warisyan pusaka.
Tundu di sandang talapa di kepala,
Inilah sebahagian pakaiyan lelaki Chetti Melaka.


“Pantun” © Nironjini Pillay, Shagina Bhalan, Nadarajan Mudalier, & Mahendran Pillay. All rights reserved.

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