Geylang Sipaku Geylang


About this production

Geylang Sipaku Geylang is a Singapore folk song. Although of unknown origin, this song gives us a glimpse of the simple lifestyle on this island in the past. In conjunction with the Harmony Project, we invite you to indulge in the activities related to Singapore’s rich history and culture on this website. At the same time, let your ears feast on SMC’s rendition of this timeless favourite.

This rendition of Geylang Sipaku Geylang is arranged by Jason Ong, SMC’s co-founder.

Activity 1:

Of Pantuns and Poetry

Activity 2:

Experiencing the Malay Culture

Activity 3:

Reliving Kampung Life

About Sing! Men’s Chorus

The Sing! Men’s Chorus (SMC) began as Singapore’s first adult male choir in 2005. Since its inception, SMC has been entertaining audiences with annual performances of choral works, ranging from classics to popular culture to musical theatre. Over the years, SMC has also collaborated with artists, including musicians, choreographers, photographers and film makers, and performed several commissioned works.

Activity 1:

Of Pantuns and Poetry 

The lyrics of Geylang Sipaku Geylang are written in pantun style.  

Malay Lyrics

Geylang sipaku Geylang,
Geylang si rama rama,
Pulang, marilah pulang,
Marilah pulang bersama-sama

Jangan memegang arang,
Letak di dalam raga.
Jangan mengata orang,
Diri sendiri baik dijaga.


Geylang full of ferns,
Geylang full of butterflies,
Come let’s go home,
Let’s go home together

Do not carry the charcoal,
Just put it in a basket.
Do not be quick to criticise others,
Better to watch your own behaviour.

What is a Pantun?

A pantun is a Malay poetic form that typically has an even number of lines, and an ABAB rhyming sequence. It can be seen in songs and other classical Malay literary formats, and has since been classified as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the region*. Geylang Sipaku Geylang is a typical example conjuring beautiful images of nature and rural life, and including a life lesson in its final two lines.

*UNESCO (2020). Pantun – Indonesia and Malaysia. Intangible Cultural Heritage.

More Pantuns

Here are more examples of pantuns that have been set in music. See if you can identify the missing words in each case!

Excerpt from Chan Mali Chan

Di mana dia anak kambing saya?
Anak kambing saya yang makan daun talas
Di mana dia buah hati saya?
Buah hati saya bagai _________________.


Where is he, my little goat?
My little goat is eating taro leaves.
Where is he, my loved one?
My loved one is like a ______________.

A) telur dikupas (peeled egg)
B) permata mahal (precious jewel)
C) mimpi indah (sweet dream)
D) bantal lembut (soft pillow)

Excerpt from Rasa Sayang

Buah _____________ di luar pagar,
Ambil galah tolong jolokkan;
Saya budak baru belajar,
Kalau salah tolong tunjukkan.


The ______________ fruit is outside the fence,
Take a bamboo pole and bring it down;
I’m just a child trying to learn (something new),
If I’m wrong, then please tell me (my mistake).

A) rambutan
B) pisang (banana)
C) cempedak (a relative of the jackfruit)
D) durian

Getting Creative!

For this activity, we encourage you to write a poem about something related to Singapore. For example, you can write about the childhood games that you play, your favourite local dishes, the place that you live and more! As with the lyrics of Geylang Sipaku Geylang, such writing can inspire others and future generations to read about our unique Singapore heritage.

Post your work on your social media page and tag #smcgeylangproject.

Activity 2:

 Experiencing the Malay Culture


Geylang Sipaku Geylang is a Malay folksong.

We have curated a list of things that non-Malays can do together with their Malay friends to experience the Malay culture, in particular the traditions of the Hari Raya Puasa festival. See how many you can complete!

About Hari Raya Puasa

Hari Raya Puasa is on the 1st of Shawal, following the month of Ramadhan (or Ramadan), the ninth month in the Hijri (lunar) calendar. During Ramadhan, Muslims engage in the religious act of fasting after sunrise and before sunset for the whole month. Across the globe, the celebration is known by a few names: Eid (Muslim festival), Hari Raya Puasa (literally ‘day of celebration after fasting’), Aidilfitri (or Eidul Fitr in Arabic).

In Singapore, it is common for non-Malays to celebrate the festival with their Malay friends and celebrations can last for the whole duration (30 days) of Shawal!


List of things to do


[ ] Break fast with your Muslim friends during one of the evenings of Ramadhan

[ ] Discover the meaning of fasting during the month of Ramadhan

[ ] Figure out how the Islamic calendar works, and compare it to other lunar calendars

[ ] Soak in the spirit of Geylang Serai or Kampung Glam in the evenings of Ramadhan

[ ] Try any food that you have never eaten before at a Malay stall at the bazaar

[ ] Eat nasi padang with your bare hands

[ ] Get an outfit for the Hari Raya festivities

[ ] Visit a Malay family over the Hari Raya Puasa celebrations

[ ] Say a greeting in Malay when meeting your friends

[ ] Learn how to identify the various Malay kuihs (commonly mistaken for nyonya kueh)

[ ] Ask a question you had always wanted to ask about the Muslim faith

[ ] Memorise and sing a Malay folksong (other than Geylang Sipaku Geylang)

As you do these twelve tasks with your friends, snap a photo (or make a quick video) and post it on social media with the tag #smcgeylangproject

Activity 3:

Reliving Kampung Life

Geylang Sipaku Geylang reminds us of how life used to be in a kampung (Malay village). The last kampung in Singapore is Kampung Lorong Buangkok, so do visit it while it is still there.

Here are some old photos and oral histories that talk about kampung life. You are encouraged to talk to the elderly who have lived in a kampung. How are things different? What has remained the same? What would you like to bring back? Feel free to add to the conversation about this topic at our SMC Social Media pages on Facebook and YouTube!

Images used courtesy of the National Museum (

Quotes shown are taken, with permission, from transcription of oral histories from the National Archives. 


Answers to Activity 1: A, C