Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The song "Terang Bulan"

Recently, the Indonesian media reported that the Malaysian national anthem "Negaraku" is similar to an Indonesian song "Terang Bulan"(Bright Moon) written by Syamsul Bachri in the '30s & recorded in Solo, Central Java, in 1956 by state owned company Lokananta.

According to the report, when Malaysia became independent on 31 August 1957they changed the song's title & lyric into "Negaraku" and declared it as national anthem. Afterwards, our late President Soekarno asked the Indonesian people to stop singing Terang Bulan.

In spite of the above fact, Lokananta refused to claim Malaysia for taking the said music, and leave it up to the government to decide what to do about it.

However, there were other reports that mentioned that the song Terang Bulan was actually composed by a Frenchman in the 19th century.

In order to clarify this matter, Minister of Tourism & Culture Jero Wacik plan to check the controversial song with the National Archieve.

For details, please click here, here, here, here and here.

Considering that it has been more than 50 years since Malaysia declared "Negaraku" as national anthem, and Indonesia has accepted this when late President Soekarno requested Indonesians not to sing Terang Bulan, I think that it is too late to start claiming that song now. Rather than wasting time, money and energy on that matter, much better if we focus on promoting our traditional culture products such as Batik, Pendet Dance etc. and provide them with Copyright protection in Indonesia and other countries.

Photo: Courtesy of Noscadgie


New Blogger said...

Absolutely, we patented a better culture for us all, not claimed back by the other nations. Always Succes.....

Anonymous said...

Interesting post ;-)

Anonymous said...

to all my fellow indonesian friends, may i suggest that we focus on more pertinent issues such as the welfare of our fellow indonesians, how to create more investment oportunities from 1st world to provide more jobs to our people and many others rather than WASTING our time, energy and resources to petty issues that will not bring Indonesia to be better than we are not be too emotional in adressing issues..we do not want that international community to brand us indonesia = demonstration..and yet our people exist verywhere from south east asian to the middle east and far east to cari sesuap nasi inclusive to the nation that we accuse of so many things yet indonesian are there in hundreds of thousand .....just a thought

H. Nizam said...

@New Blogger,
Even if the cultural products have been protected as Copyright we still need to maintain them a.o by promoting them. This will attract tourists to Indonesia.

Thank you for your kind words

I wish that you would mention your name, so that we can be friends.
But I agree that we should not waste much time arguing about things not so certain. Much better if we focus on how to provide conducive environment that would be attractive for business development and enforce the laws seriously. That way foreigners would have more respect on us.

Hypnotic Blogger said...

You're right about not digging up on the past, especially when the leaders have accepted it gracefully.

More important is to work on what's today and look on forward. Coz we are not living in the past but right now and the future.

H. Nizam said...

Hypnotic Blogger,
Precisely, it is very important to give priority on the most important things to be done, and then focus on them.

Brian said...

After 50 years I think it is too late to try and claim a song back. Better to concentrate on more important matters and if the song is a real issue let the public choose a new anthem.

H. Nizam said...

You are very right. I hope that people would come to their senses.

Ismail N said...

I think there are many stories on the origin of the melody, a very beautifully haunting melody. If it's really adapted from 'Terang Bulan', let me thank the author in advance for his graciousness to Malaysians.

H. Nizam said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. I believe that this issue and other similar ones have been exaggerated by politicians in my country for whatever reasons, plus
the media who always think that "bad news are good news".

Rob Baiton said...


I read somewhere that Indonesia ripped the song off from someone else. Maybe it was a French melody or something. To be honest I do not recall the specifics.

Perhaps, and if the above is true, then it is time to focus one's energies on more important things.

The whole Pendet affair is a press beat up. It was a Discovery Channel mistake, and one they admitted. Now, this on the Terang Bulan...this is so much not an issue.

H. Nizam said...

Rob ...
There is a possibility that an Indonesian adapted the melody of a French song.
No one has been complaining about the song for more than 50 years, so
it is too late to argue about it now.

Kieran said...

Hi everyone.

To know about the history of these two songs, please refer to

H. Nizam said...

Thank you for yourn information