Start singing Rasa Sayang and you will find that most Malaysians can sing along to that song. It is a fond memory from growing up, singing traditional folksongs with our friends, such as that about the one about the cockatoo, or the little goat eating taro leaves. These traditional folksongs are part of what built and unified our cultural identity.
Sadly, times have changed. Many of these cultural elements are slowly dying out as younger generations are more exposed to the digital world of global content, with little to zero exposure about their cultural heritage. But, it is not surprising considering not much content is created to introduce the culture to our young ones. Step into the bookstore and you will find multiple push-button songbooks in many different languages, except in Malay. However, this is about to change.
Rasa Sayang Sing-and-Record Fun Book is the first-ever push-button Malay folksong book. Realising the importance of preserving and protecting the local cultural heritage, Lok Lee Jiun curated the book to reconnect the younger generation to their roots. The book introduces an ensemble of traditional Malay folksongs, featuring seven (7) Nusantara folksongs namely Rasa Sayang, Chan Mali Chan, Burung Kakak Tua, Anak Itik Tok Wi, Lenggang Kangkung, Bengawan Solo, and Gelang Sipaku Gelang for the kids.
The book incorporates interactive elements to enhance and create a more memorable learning experience for children. Besides the conventional push-and-play button for pre-recorded songs, the book also features a ‘record’ button to record parents’ singing, and a ‘playback’ button to listen to the recording – allowing for parent-child interaction even when parents are occupied. English translations of the Malay lyrics are also available to benefit children’s learning process further.
As children are receptive not only to music but illustrations as well, award-winning illustrator, Aditya Pratama was engaged to translate the Nusantara folksongs into stunning artwork. The creative and vibrant illustrations from cover-to-cover serve as an attraction for children to stimulate their imagination, and to develop learning potential, as they read and listen to the folksongs. Through the visual experience, distinct messages about folktales can be conveyed clearly to children’s minds. It is also possible to foster better storytelling and learning opportunities between parents and children, emphasising the importance of retaining and sharing oral history cultures from an early age.
Rasa Sayang Sing-and-Record Fun Book enables children to gain awareness of their cultural heritage in a fun and interesting way, and at the same time provides them with vivid illustrations to appreciate their first structured cultural and linguistic experiences through traditional folksongs.
“I’ve had fond memories with my parents who sang these folksongs to and with me when I was little; and to this day, I remember the different values these songs have taught me. Besides cultural, there is a familial connection to this experience as well. With that in mind, I hope this book will not only instil good values in children and remind them of their cultural heritage, but also for parents to build a relationship with their children in this modern world,” Lee Jiun said.
Rasa Sayang Sing-and-Record Fun Book can be purchased at MPH, Kinokuniya, or via online at www.bababaa.com/shop-baba-baa. The book is priced at RM 75.00. For more information on baba baa, please visit their website at www.bababaa.com. -END
Created by parents who really value the meaning of Asian cultural heritage, one of the most important missions behind the baba baa brand is to share our knowledge of the past with our future generation. Our key focus is to integrate Asian tradition and culture into the modern family through the means of music, literature, and art. We strongly believe that it is important for our children to learn through active, imaginary, and creative play to support healthy brain development. To encourage children into these learning processes, our products are designed and centered around music, touch, and interaction.
The book is the brainchild of a corporate lawyer turned cultural curator. After her first child, she encountered push button songbooks that were only in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, but none in Malay. Catching the entrepreneur bug, she toiled for almost two (2) years curating content, and finding manufacturers to create the first ever button folksongs book in Malay, in order to fill this gap in the market.