JiGOMorrison asks me as a comment in a post below whether I have read As I Please by Salleh Ben Joned.
Answer: Yes yes.
I read the column religiously in the NST every Wednesday, and re-read selected pieces when they came out in book form.
One of my favourite articles is a two-parter on sensual (even erotic) pantun. (Of course it needs to be a two-parter, to imitate the structure of what Salleh calls "the one truly native and very Malay of the poetic forms"). They were both published in May 1991.
I must admit that these two articles started getting me interested in the pantun; I would not have told a story through 60 of them in Tokyo Magic Hour, over a decade later, otherwise. (Although unlike Saharil I am too dumb to create me own).
I was recently in Penang's Chowrasta second-hand book market, where Shahril Nizam picked up a very cute, old and petite paperback, Malay Pantuns (compiled by AW Hamilton and first published in 1941; this particular edition dates back to 1959). I immediately skimmed through to pick out the more saucy ones.
There was one that Salleh had cited too:
Di mana kuang bertelur?
Di atas lata, di ruang batu
Di mana abang nak tidur?
Di atas dada, di ruang susu!
(Hamilton translation makes it more florid:
Where does the Argus pheasant nest?
Above the falls, in rocky clefts!
Where does the lover seek to rest?
Upon your bosom, 'twixt your breasts!)
The susu theme continues:
Sakit kaki ditikam jeruju
Jeruju ada di dalam paya
Sakit hati memandang susu
Susu ada di dalam kebaya.
The prickles cause my feet to smart
Sea-holly grows amidst the mire
The sight of breasts enflames my heart,
Beneath a woman's loose attire.)
(Somehow, I don't think that kebaya was all that loose...)
Over the past half-century, Malay literature has become more censorious and less interested in sensuality. But the earthy, elemental sounds of a good pantun still successfully 'mock' solemnity and killjoy piety. As explained explicitly here:
Tetitip di tepi kota
Mari dikayuh sampan pengail
Imam, khatib lagi berdosa
Inikan pula kita yang jahil!
Where barnacles cling to the fort,
Come, let us row a fishing smack.
When priests and scribes in sin are caught,
What chance for us who learning lack?)