Tuesday, December 01, 2009

(1) Impian Semalam - The Dream Last Night - Malay Song By Indonesian-Chinese Composer

IMAGE - https://chordu.com/chords-tabs-impian-semalam-cipt-oey-yok-siang--id_z8sHHjDDn34

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Impian Semalam - The Dream Last Night
[Composer - Oei Yok Siang - Indonesian Chinese]


Waktu semalam bung, aku bermimpi
Last night dear, I had a dream

Bertemu ular bung, besar sekali
Was confronted by a snake, a very large one

Ular menggigit bung, jari kaki ku
The snake bit my toe

Suda mengiggit bung, ular berlalu
After doing so, the snake moved away

Ku picit, picit, darah keluar
As I pressed (the wound), it bled

Aku menjerit, "Adu!" hingga tersedar
I screamed, "Ouch," as I woke up

Apa kah itu bung, erti maksud-nya?
What is the meaning dear?

Impian semalam, sangat seramnya?
This dream last night, this most frightful dream?


Jangan khuatir dik, jangan berduka
Don't worry dear, don't be alarmed

Impian semalam, alam kuasa
The dream last night, nature controls

Bila malam datang, Bulan-nya terang
When night falls, the moon is bright

Bintang pun bersinar, Kelip-kelipan
Stars shine bright, twinking right

Bunga di taman dik,  Sedang berkembang
Flower in the garden, and in bloom

Tak lama lagi aduh,  Di-petik orang
Is soon plucked by someone

Itulah itu dik,  Erti maksudnya
That's the meaning dear

Impian semalam, Impian bahagia.
Of your dream, a delightful dream.

Impian Semalam - Ohello Sisters - 
YouTUBE Video by gundulero.
The fun version - The ladies are sexy.
Who cares about the lyrics 😆

A few months ago, while looking for my favourite Indonesian pop song Impian Semalam, I chanced upon the You Tube version on the right, was mesmerized by the sex appeal of the singers and their interpretation of the song.

These singers are the Ohello Sisters, as in 'Oh hello!' not 'Othello' (Shakespeare's Moor). The accompaniment uses modern and traditional instruments and is in Indonesian Malay, so if you understand the language it's a plus, otherwise just enjoy the music and the ladies! They are fabulous!

It is a well-known fact that some songs in the Indonesian Malay language were penned by the Chinese in Indonesia. Impian Semalam was written by Indonesian Chinese composer, Oei Yok Siang who lived in the 1930s. More about this great man in another posting. I know there's a Chinese version of this song too. Anyone?

The original song has two verses, the first sung by a female and the reply by a male. The other version has only one verse and, in this instance by the Ohello Sisters.  It is a livelier one, with hip-shaking gyrations by the two lovely sisters.

Seriously, this particular song discusses the loss of innocence. The lady walks in the garden, gets bitten by a snake, and spills a little blood. The lyrics remind me of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve [just my own interpretation]. I feel the male singer, in another version, is unnecessary. Let the listener decide what the song means. A little learning is a dangerous thing. How many folks are familiar with symbolism... It's all there.

I managed to sing the song at a few concerts we had recently in 2015 and 2016 in Singapore and never tried to explain the meaning. Perhaps I should.

Gununggede, August 12, 2007.

Indonesian singers Anggun and Titi Kamal, who do not sing this song. http://cutegirls-indonesia.blogspot.com/

Please credit writer if you use interpretation or information
[The Silver Strings - 2016 line-up]

This article has been updated but
the post remains under its original 1.12.09.


Teoh said...

Dear Andy,

I am extremely pleased to see a new posting after you have a short break.

After hearing the YouTube clip at the side-bar, I realized that the Chinese version was one of my childhood days’ famous songs. I have forgotten about the title of this song so I called my sister and she supplied me with the title of the song.

After a search on YouTube, I found many clips. These are 2 more meaningful ones:

黎川(Li Chuan) and 謝炳華(Xie Bing Hua) -《馬來情歌》(Malay Love Song).
This song was collected in their 1970 album. The title of their album was “Malay Love Song” Please view their video clip at

明珠姐妹(Bright Pearl Sisters) - 新马来情歌(New Malay Love Song)
Bright Pearl Sisters was a famous pair of sisters from Singapore in the 70s. I listened to many of their albums during my childhood too. I learned this song from their version. Please view their video clip at

BC Teoh

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you BC for the detailed information. I shall check out all your connections. It's a treasure trove.

Anonymous said...

Sexy song, sexier singers. Nice. Indonesia lebih boleh.

Victor said...

Hi Andy,

For a moment there, I thought that I came to the wrong blog. It is not only the different language but the very sexy images. :p

I remember this tune was very popular when I was a kid. It was translated into various languages and dialects, one of which was Cantonese. I remember distinctly that one verse has the phrase “榴蓮飃香” (liu lian piao xiang) meaning the "drifting fragrance of durians".

Anonymous said...

I was surprised when I listened to the song after reading your post, because I've actually heard this song before. About 15 years ago, I traveled a lot in Indonesia. And I think this song must have been on one of the dangdut tapes I brought home with me. It's great to learn the lyrics and a little bit about the composer!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Victor, the influence on Singapore 60s music from all parts of SE Asia is obvious.

I listened to this song and many other Indonesian ones as a teenager and am still enjoying the moment.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi duriandave, Thanks for visiting. Yes, it's a very popular song indeed and loved by many in SE Asia, especially in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Did you read what Victor wrote? The song has a line that describes, "the drifting fragrance of durians."

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks to anonymous. Yes, I guess sex is always an attractive subject to many. The song IS sexy and the singers are too.

Semua negeri pun boleh!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This post is receiving a revival read because of the song, Impian Semalam sung by Andy Young during his gigs in Singapore.

There's a reply to this lament.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Many thanks to Rickie and Audie who agreed that we try this song on stage. I suggested we do it with a kind of keroncong beat. It's not perfect and keroncong is not easy to play, especially when modern musical instruments are used but Rickie did it with pomp and purpose.

Although there has been a remark on FB that it is not real keroncong, I must say that with the help of Mike, John and Nick especially, we have made progress.

Creativity and fusion helped. And that's what we needed, a band encouraging much imagination and interpretation. And I think the Silver Strings has it. That's why our band, with new blood, has survived all these years.

The two important factors are: one, it was our own ideal of the song and two, that the audience enjoyed it.

Thank you my SS friends for helping me deliver an Indonesian classic.

JAMES KWOK said...

What a great way to start a refresher course in Bahasa! Terima kasih.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you James, I'm so glad you've taken it that way. Makes my day.


Andy, this version of Impian Semalam sounds like the answer to the original version of Impian Semalam in the previous post, right?

It reminds me of Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go" and Skeeter Davis' "He'll Have to Stay"

[This comment has been carried over from a previous post on 4.12.2009, which has been erased.]

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes it is BC. But it is ONE song, as both verses are usually sung by the same person. Not like Reeves and Skeeter.

There are versions where the 1st part is sung by a female and the 2nd by a male. Ideal.

Thanks for clearing the air. I now realise that I should have just put the two verses together.

[This comment has been carried over from a previous post on 4.12.2009, which has been erased.]


I have a friend from junior high school who had been stationed at Jakarta for a long time as a railroad expert. I thought he is interested in Indonesian music and language.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hiroshi Deguchi thanks, that's a very welcoming attitude.
I think more people should learn each other's language and culture.
It's sad that this aspect of humanity has not evolved positively.


Impian Semalam a song I listened from a toddler till my late dad passed on in 1983.
He loved kronchong music and often played with many kronchong bands.
The last one was with Baby Lau or Low and Charlie.
He did not know the title of this song that he played almost every time so he named it The Indonesian song.
Thanks for the memories.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Michael Lee thanks for the feedback about these 50s SG musicians, who, in their own way, led the big bands with inclusions of Asian music, which I think is necessary.


These guys deserve a standing ovation.


They look like the COSA NOSTRA Singapore branch.

JAMES KWOK said...

NICK and ANDY made me an offer I can't refuse.

TNG POH HUAT said...


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks MIGUEL. Don't forget the song too. It's a classic pop Indon.

thanks so much. Glad you made the comment. Lyrics can be so meaningful - in whatever language.

thank you. Hope you will read the history of the song too.


Thanks for sharing this post.

Thank you all with your humorous views and more importantly INFORMATIVE comments about our local Asian songs and languages. I have been receiving so much feedback. APPRECIATE.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks for the quick response to like this song post.

A special thanks to JAMES KWOK and our own keyboardist, NICK STRAVENS
for the cheeky remarks. Nothing like humour during these times.


Well, i only look at the six handsome gentlemen ....

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Koh Sui Pang , thanks for the compliment.
I am sure the other members appreciate your comment too.


Bravo Silver Strings...
standing ovation to you six gentlemen..

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