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These two Malay folk songs, Rasa Sayang and Lenggang Kangkong, are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, where many speak Bahasa or the Malay language. The lyrics take the form of a four-line pantun: a Malay poetic form which originated as an oral tradition as early as the 15th century. A pantun typically follows an ABAB two lines can appear completely irrelevant to the important message of the last two lines.
Traditionally, pantuns were used to set the atmosphere or to begin a conversation. Due to the nature of its improvisatory oral tradition, there have been different versions of lyrics circulating in different regions. Hence, it is permissible to change the lyrics to fit the occasion as commonly practiced by folks of the past.
TOH Ban Sheng