Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

After the "tied-to-the-banana-clump" house, my father rented a house at the other end of the kampong. It belonged to Cek Mang. His son Awang was about my age and the older brother, Hashim created a sensation by getting lost overnight while on a camping trip at Pulau Kapas.

The house was nearer to Paya Keladi and the swampy ground did not seem to get dry. It was perpetually wet like some nymphomaniacs.

The house has a big veranda where on some evenings my father had jam sessions with his musician friends. I remember those sessions. They let me suggest songs to play. I invariably fell asleep long before the songs got played.

Directly in front of the house was Mok Som and Pok Tahir's house. They are my good friend Mat Jali's grandparents. Mat Jali lived with them. A few houses away was Tok Khatib's house. Tok Khatib was a nice old man. I was around when a ripe coconut got loose and fell on his bald head. He survived. I guessed his head was as hard as the head of Mamat Pala Kerah.

Mamat Pala Kerah really had a hard skull. I heard from reliable sources that once a fisherman lost his patience and whacked Mamat on the head with his peranyoh (boat oar). The oar broke but Mamat went on, none the worse, getting free fish from fishing boats that just landed. He would later sell the fish. We remember Mamat in his sarong and his singlet with another sarong hung on his shoulder. He had a haircut like Mao Tse Tung. Mamat wasn't exactly the best dressed man in town. Cek Kaleh was though.

Cek Kaleh was a well known personality in Kuala Terengganu. His job was gohed teksi. Teksi is what Terengganu people call the beca (trishaw). The motorized taxi is called kereta sewa (hired cars).

Terengganu teksi Posted by Hello
Cek Kaleh was probably the first person in town to buy the transistor radio. It was a paperback-sized job enclosed in a leather case. National brand and Japanese made. He hanged the radio to the front fender of his trishaw and had music while he worked. Cek Kaleh loved music and he loved to dance. There are no cabarets or dancing halls in Kuala Terengganu. We did have stages built to celebrate the Sultan's Birthday, Merdeka and other occasions. These stages, made of wooden planks and oil drums were set up on the field called Padang Malaya just outside Istana Maziah. There were stages for bangsawan (Malay opera) and anikaragam (variety show), wayang kulit, makyong and one for joget. On the joget stage, there would be a row of chairs where the joget girls in their modern kebayas sat. Men who wanted to dance with these girls would buy tickets and they would have to give the tickets to the girl of their choice before dancing. There would be a rush for the prettiest girl on stage.

Cek Kaleh somehow would already have a seemingly endless supply of tickets for the joget. He would be the first to get up there, dressed to the hilt with his palm beach slacks, long-sleeved shirt, tie, Barratt shoes and a coat. The crowd would clap and roar in approval every time Cek Kaleh came on stage. They loved to see him do the the joget and occasionally the cha cha (off beat and regular). Other dances that involved hanging on to the partner were not allowed.

It was always nice to see Cek Kaleh, the teksi guy dancing with the taxi girls.

| 1:05 PM :: ::
11 CommentsOldStyle:
  • Pak Ku,
    I had a schoolteacher named Hashim - Mr Hashim - who got lost on Pulau Kapas and became a legend in his own lunchtime. Would this Hashim and your former landlord Cek Mang's elder son be, by any chance, related? I think he was found, safe and sound, and continued to teach at the Sultang Sulaimang for sometime. He was one of the Trengganu sons who made it good early, went to Englang and all that. But then again, I could be mistaken.

    Did you, by any chance, know anyone named Komeng? Komeng seemed to be a popular moniker in those days. I mention this because of your hilarious story of Tok Khatib who had a coconut drop on his head and lived to continue Khatibing. A nyior komeng was a dud coconut, empty in the shell, and quite light in weight. Could it have been a nyior komeng that visited his poor head?


    By Blogger beta-blogger, at 1:40 AM  
  • Pak Ku,

    We had a teacher named Hashim who got lost on Pulau Kapas and was later found. He became a legend in his own lunchtime, and continued to teach for a long time. As I remember it, he was one of the early sons of Trengganu who made good, and became a teacher at the Sultang Sulaimang. Was he and your landlord's son, by any chance, related?

    Did you know many people named Komeng? It seemd to be such a popular moniker in those days. I only mention this because of your hilarious tale about Tok Khatib who had a coconut fall on his head; and lived to continue khatibing. Nyior komeng was the odd coconut, light in weight, and quite empty inside. Do you think it was one of that that fell on our Tok Khatib?

    Whoa, steady on Pak Ku, you do make your paya sound so erotic. Paya Keladi did you say it was? I seem to remember now that Trengganuers were quite wary of the old keladi for its 'gatal' qualities. But I don't think I'm improving the tone of this conversation.


    By Blogger beta-blogger, at 2:24 AM  
  • Pak Ku,
    I think I am the only one in my family who knows the meaning of 'gohed teksi'.Thanks for the story.By the way, do you know Dato Wan Zakaria from Besut.He may be your classmate?

    By Blogger Berisman, at 7:44 AM  
  • why was it 'gohed' and not 'gateh' ?

    Prolly should explain that.. ;)

    By Blogger elisataufik, at 10:33 AM  
  • I chose "gohed" over "gateh" because "gohed" (of course a corruption of "go ahead") because it connotes moving forward. "Gateh" means just spinning the wheel and might get nowhere. Heheheh.
    But its nice to know that the Terengganu language is not lost yet among my children.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 10:59 AM  
  • Berisman: Yes I did have the pleasure of knowing Dato' Wan Zakaria both when he was the Besut ADO and later when he was the ADUN. Nice gentleman. He was a few years my junior.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 12:55 PM  
  • That's a wonderful story Mann. So did you ever get up there and dance with the taxi girls yourself? lol - Jackie -

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:37 PM  
  • See... the joget was good clean fun, wasn't it? No hanky-panky allowed because, hey... you were in full view of everyone else! How to do anything?

    But why is it that everyone's so uptight about it now?

    By Blogger DaisyBoo Blacksheep, at 4:16 PM  
  • I used to go to my kindergarten on a teksi. The journey is not near, mind you - but Arwoh Pokcik Musa would never complain..even when I merajuk because cars were faster then us. (He would just put the penutup down so that I couldn't see the vehicles that 'potong-ed' us!) All these peng-gohed teksi still wins my admiration till today, and I always tend to overpay them whenever I take a ride. I mean, what would you pay when they say the fare is 'ikut suka mek lah'?

    By Blogger lion3ss, at 5:48 PM  
  • Pok Ku
    Just curious. Where did you go to school? In those days many went to Sultan Sulaiman. My dad went there and so did I. From primary to secondary.

    By Blogger Tio Awang, at 10:42 AM  
  • When I started kindergarten at the age of 4 (in the 60s), my mum got a teksi man for me. I called him Pok Loh. While he drove me to school, her daughter Zainab took care of me after school. She was just like a nanny. It was her that I learnt my Terengganu dialect from. I was able to speak good Terengganu dialect by the time I was 5 years old. Until today I still the dialect. Many people are surprised for a Chinese to speak the lingo.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:06 PM  
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