Saturday, March 25, 2017


Sebagai kenangan
Di sepanjangan zaman beribu-ribu lagu telah dihasilkan dalam berbagai corak dan bahasa yang mengesahkan tentang berbagai bentuk kasih sayang, pahit manis ketika bercinta, bila berpisah dan sebagainya. Kebanyakannya tidak luput ditelan zaman dan ada juga yang diikuti oleh generasi sekarang. 

Aku terharu bila mendengar cerita iaitu diseketika dulu lagu-lagu aku juga pernah mengisi ruang hidup peminat-peminat setia ku. Ada yang membesar dengan lagu-lagu ku, dan ada pula yang sedang remaja dan dilamun cinta di masa itu. Buat kenang-kenangan disenaraikan berikut beberapa lirik yang telah aku hasilkan untuk album ku, termasuk lagu ciptaan ku.

For Remembrance
Many songs have been written expressing love in countless ways. These lyrics touched the very core of love with its many emotional attachments. They tell tales of unspoken love, joy, contentment, heartbreak, sorrow, and pain. They inspire many young lovers, and soothe many broken hearts.

Here for sentiment, are a collection of lyrics that I wrote for my albums including some of my own compositions. Some of the songs were obscured by others, however each has its individual history and memory attached. I'm touched to hear from loyal fans that some of the songs bring back nostalgic memories of the times when they were once young and in love.


KENANGAN (Fernando) -

















SEMALAM DI KOTA (No matter what)

MAAF LAH DAKU (I beg your pardon)

KAU KU PUJA (You're the one)

Friday, March 17, 2017

PRECIOUS BABY (1990 -1996)

The purest form of love is surely one that is given spontaneously without any expectation of reciprocation or reward. This love brings about joy and happiness to the giver, and the receiver.
A child not knowing what love means feels safe and secured when pampered with love by the mother. Likewise, this same love when showered on families, friends, neighbours, and even pets, can have the same positive effects.

Painful scars
I look upon life as a package, stacked up with piles of events and emotions. Painful scars are often set aside, as recollections would bring about more pain and regrets. I went through such pain in the 90s. Thus, for more than 2 decades this segment of my memory box was kept sealed. I now compel myself to write this long overdue eulogy. She was a unique soul that brought immense joy into our home for 6 fleeting years. Yet, the impact she left behind is unimaginable! 

Her arrival
We assumed that she was a female by her mannerism, but it was immaterial. We loved her just the same like our very own, and we named her ‘Babe’. Her arrival in the year 1990 was by pure coincidence. My husband was at Peel Road in Kuala Lumpur City to have our car checked. He then spotted a homeless man carrying a garbage bag approaching his direction. From inside the bag came a screeching noise that sounded exactly like a printer. To his surprise, it was the cry of a hungry newly hatched bird. Apparently, the nest had fallen from a nearby tree. Touched by what he saw, he offered the man money and brought home the little birdie for our daughter and I, to care for.

I had earlier been attached to this sweet little angel (right) that strangely came tapping at the glass window of my office. It was a baby swallow that I nursed and tended to, for two weeks. Sadly, it died and I was extremely distraught.  

Understandably, I would not get attached to any new bird. For several days my daughter and our helper nursed and fed baby.  Finally, the day came when she caught my eye and instantly babe won my heart.

A talking bird
She grew up pretty fast.  One day, I was seated on the balcony of our home and heard a male voice saying “Hello Baby”. I was shocked as it sounded exactly like my husband’s voice but he was nowhere nearby. To my utter disbelief, the voice came from Babe who was several feet away from me. We had no idea until then that she was a talking bird and could imitate exactly any sound that fascinated her. She was a specie known as the Indian Mynah  (Wikipedia)

A family addition
Baby became a new family addition – pampered and adored by everyone. We built an aviary in our garden, where she was free to fly during the day.  We would rotationally spend time with her there in her own environment. She really enjoyed her favourite unrestricted daily meals of fruits and meats.

Many times, baby escaped from her aviary, to venture into the greens to experience life in the outside world. The next morning, we found her perched on a nearby tree ready to fly into my open arms. Finally, after having spent a night in a severe thunderstorm, she ventured no more even when the door was opened.  She knew that this was her haven and within dwelled the family who adored her.
Baby was unusually possessive and protective of her family and territory. Only family members could enter her aviary and private room. A friend who once barged into her room was bitten by her and she refused to let go until I pacified her.
Baby assumed that she was a human. When exposed to other birds even one of her own kind she was totally disinterested.

Happy years  
Happy years flew by and baby enjoyed our company, vice versa. She would join in our conversations with her laughs as though she understood what we were talking about. The house was filled with her endless mimics, joyous cackles, and cheeky whistles. She enjoyed listening to music and was especially excited with classics and operas especially those sung by Pavarotti. She would often duet with me and knew exactly when to punctuate her whistles in between songs. I have many videos of her with me. Although these are still painful to view, I promise myself that I will soon upload them.

The very first time when I played the song (below) from my album, she was extremely excited, and she knew that it was the voice of her "mama". Thereon, this song became her favourite.

Visitors to our home were entertained by her humour and awed by her intelligence. Babe was the centre of attention wherever she went – on holidays with us, to the seas, hill resorts, etc. She was not left behind and although in a cage she knew that this was not to confine but to protect her.

It amazed me that on her own she would call out “hello mama” each time she saw me and no one taught her to say so. She would repeatedly call our daughter by her name and missed her terribly when she was at school. Her mimic of my husband’s voice fondly calling out “hello baby” left him amused and spellbound. She was more human than we could ever imagine.

Whilst observing babe and everything around me, I felt truly blessed to be a minute speck of the Infinite Creations of the One and Only Creator of the Universe.

Animal shelter
Thereon, many lost souls found their way into our home – dogs, cats, squirrels, different species of birds, a rabbit, even a snake, and a peacock.  We called the Wild Life department to take away the last two to a safer environment. Not that we were living in a remote jungle. Our home was surrounded by other houses, yet they never had such visitors. Perhaps these visitors knew that here they would be safe and cared for. For many years we sustained an animal shelter for the injured, the lost, and the abandoned.

Her departure
We then moved house and here Babe did not have her own aviary. The house did not seem safe to leave her alone in the garden and with the noise she made it could attract poachers. Instead, a room in the house was kept specially for her and she was just as happy here. 

One year after moving into our new home, on several occasions we heard Baby coughing and assumed that she was imitating someone’s cough. In actuality, birds too can be infected with cough and I blamed myself for my ignorance. I then appeased myself that life and death were not mine to dictate or predict. Every soul comes to this world for a purpose, serves the allocated life span, and eventually leaves.  

The last farewell
On that fateful morning in the year 1996, baby was extremely quiet and delirious. There was no “hello mama” greeting or cheeky whistle when we came out from our rooms. When I held her I could feel that there was no more warmth in her body. Despondent we were, we knew that the time had come for her to leave.

She could hear the loving words that my husband, daughter, and I whispered in her ears but could reciprocate no more. After a short while she moved slightly, tilted her head as though to bid us farewell and in the same familiar flying position, her soul gently left us. With heavy hearts we laid her to rest under a tree at our patio. 

The pain in losing baby never goes, although more than 20 years have gone by. Wherever Babe is, she will know that she was precious and irreplaceable and that we miss her extremely to this very day.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


The song "Kisah Cinta" by Sugiman Jahuri triggers nostalgic memories of the time when I wrote the Malay lyrics of the song for his album.

The movie
In the year 1970,  I saw this beautifully written/produced movie "Love Story" acted by Ryan O'Neal and Ali Macgraw. I really liked the song-track sung by Andy Williams. I saw the movie several times, and each time when the film ended, I walked away with a lump in my throat, when the song was played. 

One day, Daisy Devan (EMI) called me and asked if I could write the Malay lyrics for Sugiman Jahuri to record in his next album. Without any hesitation, I agreed, and was even prepared to waive any fee that EMI allocated for lyric writers. I knew the English version well by heart, and immediately sat down to put Malay lyrics, depicting myself in the role portrayed in the movie. It was an easy write, and I was pleased with the result.

Sugiman Jahuri sang the song beautifully, but when I was given a copy of the EP, my heart jolted. I noticed an important word in the lyrics was substituted with another, and this totally changed the meaning.

"Dari mulanya ku terkenang wajah yang sungguh jelita" should have been sung this way:-
"Dari mulanya ku terpandang wajah yang sungguh jelita". (The word terkenang was not what I wrote).

Grammatically, nothing was really wrong with that word, and no one even noticed it. Being the writer of the lyrics, I was disappointed because the word "terpandang" made more sense since the lyrics that followed "ku terpandang wajah yang sungguh jelita, senyum mesra dan lemah lembut gayanya" (meaning, that he fell in love with her at first sight, and her beauty, smile and grace, captivated him).

I pointed this out to Daisy. She panicked, and instantly checked with the Producer, and later called to say that it was too late to do anything as the EP was just released. It was a tense moment for EMI. Everyone (including me) was told not to mention this to anyone, for fear that it could be wrongly speculated, and affect the sale.

All fears were put to rest, "Kisah Cinta" became a HIT song, and the best selling album of Sugiman. This is the untold story behind "Kisah Cinta".

Today, "Kisah Cinta" is revived by many new generation singers. I like the vocal in this karaoke version (right). It sounds fresh, and different from the original track,

(Below) "Kisah Cinta" is being given a new treatment by Rudy Djoharnaen. His soothing voice and unique style in delivering the song, make me happy to have written the lyrics.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Song lyrics often reflect the personalities of the writers. From their works one can sometimes sense their temperaments, emotions, and states of mind.

When conceiving works, writers are sometimes influenced by the environment, people and places. Hidden desires, inner feelings, hopes, disappointments, anger, and other positive and negative emotions are sometimes visible from the way the lyrics are written.

Most lyric writers and music composers are often critical of the works they churn out. They sometimes imagine themselves in a similar situation, so as to relate to the life experiences of their listeners. Good lyrics can touch the hearts of listeners, and may cause tears to flow especially when the words symbolize the listeners' life situations.

Many persons believe that creative works, ideas and inventions are inspired, and I am one such believer. I believe that quality work cannot be forced out or extracted upon at will. It is best to let go until such time when the mind is relaxed to produce the work at its own pace and momentum. Such works would be well worth waiting for, would flow like a river, and be remembered forever.

My mum was a Hindi movie fan. By coincidence, I was in Penang when I first heard this movie song-track "Yeh samma" sung by Lata Mangkeshkar. The melody is beautiful, and romantic and it caught my attention. It was common in movies then for stars to play hide and seek in the garden teasing each other whilst singing. I did not understand the Hindi lyrics, but felt that the song deserved a better treatment.

I then decided that I would definitely record this romantic melody in Malay for my next album. However, the idea was shelved, as the next scheduled recording had already been pre-planned. In any case, I had not even written the Malay lyrics. .

I then totally forgot about this melody. Many months later, I was all alone manning the small gift shop in Kuala Lumpur, that I owned. That day my staff had not turned up for work. It was a quiet day with hardly any activity in the complex, and I was feeling slightly low. Then suddenly this beautiful romantic melody that I had forgotten about, kept spinning in my head, and along with it came pouring-in the Malay lyrics without much effort on my part. Somehow the lyrics fitted in so beautifully with the melody, and even the title  "Bersama" sounded quite similar to "Yeh samma".

That certainly made my day, and I could not wait for the song to be recorded. I was most certainly inspired, and it did not end here. Believe it or not, there is more to this song. I've written about this unusual experience that I had, the night before the song was recorded

"Bersama" is currently the most viewed song on sarenafanclub09 You Tube channel.

Incidentally, I met Lata Mangheskar when I visited Bombay, and mentioned to her that I recorded some of her songs in my albums. She was particularly interested to hear my version of "Yeh Samma", and was later presented by EMI with a copy of my LP album, with the song in it.

Dua Kali Dua
2 x 2 - that's what it means. It reminds me of my childhood days, when I had to memorize my mathematics. Yes it sounds mathematical, but in Malay it also implies that "you are the same, no better than me". These words are often used to tease someone.

I liked the English song "kiss me honey, honey" by Shirley Bassey. It is a catchy song with cheeky lyrics. It never crossed my mind that I would one day be recording it in Malay.

One fateful day, I was alone in my car, heading towards KL city, and roads were empty then. The weather was bright and sunny, and I was feeling exceptionally happy. During such times, I often kept myself entertained with music from the car. However on that day, whilst driving, I sang loudly to myself all songs that came to my mind, including "kiss me honey honey".

Suddenly, I was struck by an idea to put whatever Malay lyrics that came into my mind, to this song. Being in high spirit I was then, cheeky lyrics flowed out from my mouth spontaneously. I then pulled the car to the side of the road, and jotted down what came into my mind. The lyrics seemed to fit in beautifully with the melody, and that day, "Dua kali dua" came into being.

EMI Producer the late Reggie Verghese, was excited by this particular choice of song. He knew exactly what I wanted, and provided superb instrumentation. In between the song, clapping sounds were inserted to set the mood for the cheeky lyrics, and vocal that followed.

The completion of the album coincided with my TV show. An unreleased copy of the album was rushed to KL, in time for the song to be featured in my 4th weekly TV show "Sarena in Saturday Night Entertainment"- (Hiburan Malam Minggu bersama Sarena". TV Producer, Helan Abu, had a good vision for sound and music, and predicted that the song would be a hit.

When the show was aired on TV, it was the first time that many heard the song, including my mum. She called me from Penang immediately and was so excited with the song. I am proud to know that my young fans who were then no older than 10 years old, remember me by this song to this day. Even more touched I am, to hear that they grew up with my songs and my songs brought back fond memories of their childhood days."Dua kali dua" became a sing-along, and according to EMI this was my best selling LP album.

Today,  I occasionally hear "Dua kali dua"  over the radio, including "Bersama". I'm happy and content knowing that my songs have made some people out there happy!



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