Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pen Pen de Sarapen

On our way to work this morning, the radio was tuned in to Disenchanted Kingdom's Pinoy na Pinoy segment. It was our first time to hear the show, and boy, we really had a great time laughing and listening! This morning, they were translating English children's songs to Filipino--Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Mary had a Little Lamb, just to name a few.

Then we came up with our own version of the game: translating Filipino children's rhyming songs to English. :)

Filipino children's rhyming songs have some hard-core old Tagalog terms. We had a difficult time translating some songs from Filipino to English. But it was sure fun.

Pen pen de sarapen,
de kutsilyo de almasen
Haw, haw de carabao batutin
Sipit namimilipit ginto't pilak
Namumulaklak sa tabi ng dagat.
Sayang pula tatlong pera
Sayang puti tatlong salapi

(This song doesn't make sense. But growing up, I used to sing this with my friends. We sing this to pick who's "it" in a game. Sort of like the Filipino version of "Eenie Meenie Miny Moe.")

Our own translation:

Where is Sara's pen? (we took it literally and thought they were looking for Sara's pen! haha!)
The knife? The armalite?
How about the carabao, stoned ten times? (how pity the carabao.. so silly!)
Twisted pinchers, in gold and silver
Blossoming by the seashore
My red dress costs 3 dollars
My white dress costs 3 dollars

(If the Filipino version of the song did not make sense, our own version sure did not make any sense either!)

The composer of this folk song used old Filipino words we don't even use anymore in this generation. Out of curiousity, I googled up the meanings of some of the words in the song. And here's what I learned:

Almazen - warehouse/bazaar
Batutin - stinky

I happen to stumble upon this: Everything2 website explained the meaning behind Pen Pen de Sarapen, and even included the English version of the song:

Pen Pen de Sarapen, knife from the bazaar
How, how the carabao stinks!
If the skirt is red, three pennies
If the skirt is white, three monies,
Claw that pinches, golden silver
Flowering near the sea!

Does it make any sense? I doubt. But apparently, this rhyming song was once used to mock Spanish authorities who threateningly used swords to enforce Christianity in Filipinos. It now makes some sense.

Enjoy the rest of the day everyone! :)

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