Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Quite a number of readers commented on the Chairil Anwar post. Thank you. I enjoyed them all. I didn't reply to the comments because by the time I came back from Taiping and recover, it was time to write and post another entry.

D'arkampo, in Chairil's comments raised an interesting point about a couple of Terengganu words having the same meaning. He gave

  1. lepo (rhymes with "paw")
  2. pelekong (rhymes with King Kong or kong kong)
  3. petong ( same as above)
  4. tago (rhymes with Stop, Look, Go)
  5. andeng (my addition- rhymes loosely with "strange?")

All of the above words have a common English translation: throw. But, Terengganuspeak sometimes being richer than English, goes one step further. Those words are different from each other depending on what is thrown and what the target of the throw is (if any). Stop scrunching up your face and let me explain.

  1. lepo is the garden variety throw.

"Ngiyang lepo cicing ttunang dia dalang sunga"
(Ngiyang threw her engagement ring into the river). Andeng or handeng is the synonym although it is more forceful than just lepo. When someone throw a tantrum, he/she might andeng anything handy. You know, ashtrays, vase, dinner plates, the cook etc.

  1. pelekong is also to throw but there is a target.

"Ngiyang cabu' cicing ttunang dia, pah tu pelekong tunang dia"
(Ngiyang took off her engagement ring and used it to throw at her fiance)

  1. petong gave rise to two schools of thought. One group insisted that it is the same as pelekong while the other maintained that petong is to throw a heavy object at a subject.

"Ngiyang petong tok tue dia dengang alu lesong"
(Ngiyang threw the pestle at her mother-in-law)

  1. tago is throwing objects at a bigger object like a house or a wall. Probably can be translated as "bombard".

"Ngiyang kelo dua tiga pat kali, laki dia takmboh tubek jugok. Ngiyang pong tago rumoh tok tue dia dengang bola golf"
(After calling two or three times, Ngiyang's husband still refused to come out so she threw golf balls at her mother in-law's house)

By the way, this short-tempered (bekeng and pongoh) Ngiyang bears no resemblance to any Mariam, living or dead.

When the second generation handphones came, a friend saw my early 1st generation handphone which was big and heavy. He said:
"Pinjang handphone. Nak plekong buah pelang"
(Lend me your handphone, I want to use it to throw at some mangoes".


Monday, November 29, 2004

I usually do not blog about religions or politics since I do not have the credentials or enough knowledge in both the subjects. Recent events in my daily living in an apartment prompted this exception. Please bear with me. Indulge me.

The question of what or rather who is a Muslim and who is a mukmin dogged me for the last few days.

Last week, I read a blog condemning Muslim preachers who condemned non-Muslims even though Islam teaches tolerance and warmness towards those of not the same faith. Someone commented that there is a difference between a Muslim and a mukmin.

While enjoying the ride to Ipoh, my college mate, who was driving, asked me the difference between a Muslim and mukmin. My friend does not even know what a blog is. I guessed my answer did not register because after a nice dinner at his club, the Royal Perak Golf Club, he again asked me the same question. I told him (again) that anyone who mengucap the shahadat is a Muslim. A new born baby will be deemed to be a Muslim when his father (or the closest male relative) bang or qamat as soon as possible. A lot are born Muslim and some became Muslims. All are supposed to strive towards becoming a mukmin by learning and living the religion. Then when I got home to my pc and my Quran software, I searched the Quran for the definition of a mukmin and was pointed to Surah Al-Baiyina, verse 7. The translation goes like this:

"Those who have faith and do righteous deeds; they are the best of creatures."

So, I surmised that mukmins are the best of creatures according to that verse. As I understood it, there are two main relationships in Islam. There is hablum minallah, your relation with Allah and hablum minannas, your relation with your fellow human beings which encompasses other creatures and creations. A mukmin is a Muslim who does his very best in both. You think you are pleasing Allah by praying until you wear out your floor or your forehead but it will come to nought if you hate or get hated by your fellow human beings.

Let me give you a few examples of Muslims who still have to reach mukmin status. You might have lots of other examples but let me get these off my chest:

  1. The persons that blocked my paid parking lot in my apartment effectively preventing me from going anywhere with my car.
  2. The persons that blocked my paid parking lot in my apartment effectively preventing me from going in to park my car in heavy rain.
  3. The persons that PARKED in my paid parking lot in spite of knowing that it is not a public parking lot.
  4. The persons that left their plastic bags of rubbish inside the lifts.
  5. My upstairs neighbours who banged on the lesong every sahur time during Ramadhan.

I am not praying for more Muslims although I would be very happy to have more grandchildren. (Didi & Nizam, the message is brought to you by Hints-R-Us). But I am praying for more mukmins and more caring Malaysians. Our Maktab Perguruan Bahasa college mate and student leader, the Hon. Dato' Seri Utama Di Raja Rais Yatim is going to start a campaign to get rid of Ugly Malaysians out of our everyday life. Thank you Dato'. I will be surely rooting for you. In the mean time, I have to put up with the inconvenience of chaining up my parking lot and maybe next Ramadhan I will give my upstairs neighbours a few bottles of Kimball Sambal Asli so they can give their lesong a rest while they strive to be good mukmins.I am trying too. Amin!


Friday, November 26, 2004
(Read this only if today is Saturday. If it is still Friday, read the previous post.I have to post this earlier because I am off to Ipoh and then to Taiping for Razak's wedding reception for his last son. Razak is my good friend and my junior in Maktab Perguruan Bahasa. I am taking a lift from another friend who is my Maktab Perguruan Bahasa collegemate and I do not know whether I can post this in Ipoh. This Dato' friend of mine is not yet computer-savvy)

The late Chairil Anwar is one of Indonesia's famous poet. In Maktab Perguruan Bahasa, we had to learn one of his sajak:

Kalau sampai waktuku
'Ku mau tak seorang kan merayu
Tidak juga kau
Tak perlu sedu sedan itu
Aku ini binatang jalang
Dari kumpulannya terbuang
Biar peluru menembus kulitku
Aku tetap meradang menerjang
Luka dan bisa kubawa berlari
Hingga hilang pedih peri
Dan aku akan lebih tidak perduli
Aku mau hidup seribu tahun lagi

Wouldn't it be interesting if Chairil Anwar were to be a Terengganunese and wrote AKU in Terengganuspeak?
Would you like to have a go? I tried but it is hidden. Go and try first then highlight my feeble attempt below for comparison. I am sure your version is better. Go on, try.

Bile kene glerang ambe weh
Ambo takmboh sorrang pong takweh
Mung pong jangan jugok
Dok payoh nnangih eso'-eso'
Ambe ning menatang bujang
Kene tohok keluo kupolang
Bedil lah ambe dung dang dung dang
Ambe terajang maroh mmanjang
Ambe hungga gi wala saket ketet ketet
Sapa dok rase sikit tuit
Ambe kohor dok cakna sikkit
Ambe nok iduk tokkat langit.

Apologies to the pure sasterawan and Chairil Anwar's fans.


Didi, my daughter # 4 should be back from Seattle today. I had an inkling of her homecoming from her blog and I got the details from her eldest sister. Didi does not communicate much with me. Sometimes I called her Jesus, the fatherless one. Nevertheless, reading the length and breadth of her blog, I think that deep down she loves me too. In her own way of course. Welcome home Didi!

Her latest post mentioned LAX, the airport in Los Angeles, the nearest MAS terminal for her. Los Angeles International Airport is the 5th busiest airport in the world. I have been through the Tom Bradley International Terminal once on my way to Hollywood. The immigration officers then were very friendly and after discovering that I had Multiple Entry visa and going in to do see some TV programs they asked what US TV shows we had. They were very surprised to know that we had shows such as "Dallas".

We stayed at a motel in downtown LA for the first few days before moving to an apartment in Beverly Hills which is closer to Hollywood. People from TV3, having given more money, stayed at a famous Beverly Hills hotel. I got to visit "Trader Vic", its famous restaurant though.

We spent the first few days shaking off the jetlag by walking around parts of LA. We went to a Malaysian satay shop in one often shopping arcades in Hyatt and we went shopping in Bullock's, a big departmental store. There I saw a lot of stuffs made in Thailand, Korea and Philippines. I bought a box of Pyramid (British brand) handkerchieves for myself and a dozen Zippo lighters for friends. We also got to a store where they had a clearance sale where I got two pairs of Ferragamo shoes for a mere USD50 each. After 16 years, I still have those shoes. One pair had to be resoled though.

While walking back to our Best Western Motel from the Hyatt one long car with the top down (a T-Bird, I think) made a U-turn and stopped near us. The driver asked for money to buy gas. He didn't even offer us a lift.

When I got back to the hotel, I found out that the Zippos were made in USA but the Pyramids handkerchieves bowled me over. Each has a small golden sticker that said "Made in Malaysia".


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Terengganu things, especially Terengganu words seem to be very interesting to readers of this blog. I am delighted, to say the least.

One reader, A.Zulkifli, emailed me a list of 46 Terengganu words and phrases. Thank you Zul. I will use some of the words by and by. Kohor kohor. Another esteemed reader, d'arkampo, commented and suggested a few phrases that are unique to Terengganu. That is what this blog is trying to do- showcasing Terengganu words and phrases that are native to Terengganu as opposed to standard words merely pronounced in the Terengganu tongue.

We will deal with phrases first (as submitted by d'arkampo and A.Zulkifli):

  1. mana mari doh
  2. kecik pale-pale
  3. bekok cobbong
  4. nok kabo bui
  5. pitih haluh
  6. dok rok cettong
  7. dok juruh aroh
  8. ikut panda

1. Mana mari doh is the Terengganu equivalent of berbaloi (worth it). If you are not a joli person (spendthrift) you would rationalize your spending with mana mari doh.
"Kalu gi panggong kena bayo
lima belah riya sorang. Dua orang jadi tiga puloh riya. Beli DVD se duabelah riya. Buleh tengok pat orang. Mana mari doh. Jimat berapa riya tu."
(If you go to the cinema hall, you have to pay RM15 per person. That would be RM30 for two persons. You buy one DVD for RM12 and 4 people can watch it. It's worth it. Think of how many ringgit you save) Message not endorsed by Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri & Hal Ehwal Pengguna.
2. Kecik pale-pale is usually used with lari kecik pale-pale:
"Bila laki Mah Babu jerkoh, budok budok tu lari kecik pale-pale"
(When shouted at by Mah Babu's husband, the boys fled so fast that their head looks very small)
3. Bekok cobbong is swollen red and throbbing. If you have been watching old cartoons like Popeye, Tom & Jerry or the Merry Melodies series and you see somebody gets bopped in the head (by a sledgehammer or a falling piano) the head will have a swelling and lit up like lamp. That's bekok cobbong.
4. Nok kabo bui (Kelantenese version: nok ghoyat bui) The closest English equivalent is "Let me tell you this" spoken in less than a friendly tone. Do not try this on aggressive people who are stronger than you. He might punch you in the nose and your nose will be bekok cobbong.
5.Pitih haluh is literally "small money". It means small change or small notes. Useful when accosted by ladies soliciting derma. "Mitok maah lah, ambe tadok pitih haluh ari ning".
6.Dok rok cettong escaped me at the moment. I need help. I know rok is either belukar or semak (bush). Rok also mean "able, strong enough or healthy enough". "I can't play tennis today. My body not bush" (Tokleh maing tennis ari ning weh. Tubuh dok rok). Cetong means the tin can. Cettong, I don't know. Enlighten me.
7. Dok juruh aroh means aimless or without direction. Just dok juruh means worse. It means not straight or bad. "Mari sining Ngiyang. Aku nok kabo bui. Mu jangang saing dengang Semek Jik tu. Orang tu dok juruh. Aku dengo dia tu orang wat jambang"
8. Ikut panda/ikut suka is "according to your discretion" or "up to you".
Mok Long: Ubi kayu ni nok wat guane Pok dia weh? Nok rebuh ke nok bako?
(How do you want this tapioca done? Boiled or cooked in hot coal?)
Pok Long: Ikut panda mung lah. Puteh aku bahang, itang pong aku bahang jugok.
(It's up to you. White or black, I will wallop it)


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Nek, my late maternal grandmother a.k.a Aminah binti Abu Bakar was a simple village woman even though she was rumoured to be a princess from Kemboja who fled the country when she was a very young child. Her family settled in Perupok, Kelantan. How she ended up marrying a Javanese planter in Merang,Terengganu was a mystery to me. I had a better picture of my father's side of the family tree. I hope Elida, who looks a lot like my Nek would start doing a family tree on the Merang side of the family the next time she is there.

When I was young and in primary school, I got to go to Merang during my school holidays and stay a few days with Nek. Before she moved into the house that my father built, she lived in a very small attap thatched house with walls made of small trees called anak kuat. There was no electricity or piped water. She used pelita ayang, the oil lamp and the nearest well was 300 meters away. Somehow, everything was a novelty to me and I didn't ask why her house wasn't like my Mok Tok's house in town. Mok Tok is my paternal grandmother.

Since there were no TVs or radios yet at the time, Nek entertained me at bed time with her ghoyat bari (old earthy stories) . Ghoyat could be from the word riwayat although in Kelantanese it means "tell or say" and bari could mean" of yore" or "ancient"like the word bahari. Maybe etymologists like Mek Yam can set us straight on this. Anyway, Nek always told these stories in Kelantanese dialect. Nek spoke in Kelantanese while my mother spoke pure Terengganu even though she grew up in Singapore. Just to give another piece of history, Mok and her sister lived with the lady that I called Tok Lat in one place called Istana Kampung Glam which years later I discovered was really glum. Tok Lat's real name was Tengku Zainab. She was the only child of Sultan Ali. Her grandfather was Sultan Hussein, the guy that gave away Singapore to the British. Tok Lat was fond of calling me "Cek Leh" which means monkey.

I am trying to remember some of the ghoyat bari that Nek told me and for now I can remember only one. I shall retell it in English. You can retell it in any dialect or language you want.

Once upon a time there were three friends, Awang Telinga Besar, Awang Taik Mata and Awang Punggong Tajam. You can imagine why they were so named.

One day these three friends set off on a boat to look for birds' eggs on Pulau Karoh. Awang Punggong Tajam was warned to remain standing throughout the whole trip so as not to puncture the boat. Awang Taik Mata was the helmsman and Awang Telinga Besar used his more than ample ears as the sail.

With a stiff wind caught by Awang Telinga Besar's humungous ears, they moved towards the island (which is really between the mainland and Bidong Island). Halfway, Awang Punggong Tajam got tired of standing and dropped his sharp backside on the boat's floor. He made a hole and sea water gushed into the boat. Awang Telinga Besar's ears got red and Awang Taik Mata was peering through his abundant taik mata at the water that was coming into the boat. Awang Punggong Tajam was scolding his backside for causing the catastrophe while Awang Telinga Besar was scolding Awang Punggong Tajam's ancestors, rather sharply I might add.

Awang Taik Mata finally grasped the situation after peering hard through his taik mata. He grabbed a handful of taik mata from his eyes and plugged the hole. They went on their way happily after that.

My Nek didn't get around to telling me what was the moral of the story or if there was any. You tell me.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004
On Sunday I watched Jay Leno on CNBC. He had George Carlin, Denise Richards and Lenny Kravitz as his guests. George Carlin was witty and funny as usual. His new book "When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chop?" was plugged on the show. Denise Richards (you might remember her in "The World Is Not Enough", "Wild Things" and "Scary Movie 3") appeared in Playboy magazine and I thought of my visit to Playboy Mansion West in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles 16 years years ago when Denise Richards was sweet seventeen.

If you think of Playboy Mansion and you think of wild parties and orgies, you might be right. But when I went there, there were no wild parties or orgies. We (reps from RTM & TV3 to the annual L.A. Screenings) were invited to a reception by the producers of "21 Jump Street" and they got Playboy Mansion as the venue. The place is a favorite choice for Hollywood events like fund-raisers and exclusive parties. Incidentally, "21 Jump Street" was bought by TV3.

The Mansion is beautiful. Hugh Hefner, The Playboy towkay bought it in 1971 for USD 1 million. It is currently worth USD 47 million. It is on a 4.5 acres woody land with pretty manicured lawns and lots of trees. It has a petting zoo. I stroked a bunny (the animal) and smiled at the Playboy Bunnies (human). There were also peacocks, pheasants and flamingos roaming free and monkeys in cages. I did get to see the famous grotto in the swimming pool where a lot of monkey business happened. They had a bed inside the grotto. We also popped into the games room which is in a separate building. No bunnies were there. We caught Fred Dwyer (of the Hunter TV series) playing pinball in selipar jepun. Apparently, he was a house guest. His partner in the series Stephanie Kramer was nowhere to be seen.

At the party we were introduced to Marion van Peebles, the cast of "21 Jump Streets" and a few of the supporting stars of "Falcon Crest". Marion van Peebles was trying to hawk his new series then called "Spoons". We were disappointed not to see Hugh Hefner in his dressing gown. We didn't see Mr. Hefner at all. So no tips or petua to bring home. No playmates either.

The Mansion has a sign on the front door: If you don't swing, don't ring. We were hardly swingers but it was nice to see one of the famous houses in the world.

(Pictures of Playboy Mansion)


Monday, November 22, 2004

I promised Buaya69 to get him some mengorat words after Ramadhan. I promised in haste.

In the first place, I didn't have the chance to mengorat anyone while in Terengganu (not in the Terengganu dialect anyway) and it is too late to start now. I would be branded an "unconscious old man" (orang Tua Tak Sedar Diri).
More importantly, I don't think there are useful Terengganu words to set hearts aflutter. I am ready to stand corrected of course. I am even ready to sit corrected if the situation demanded it.

Anyway, in order not to disappoint Buaya69 who is disappointed enough in the aftermath of the Porsche episode, I shall furnish him with a few choice words to experiment next time he is in Awana Kijal. These are not mengorat words per se but learn them anyway as long as your intentions are honourable.

To get positive attention, it helps if you are jangok. Jangok (smart and stylish dressed) rhymes with bongok (buffoon). Remember that so you don't wear anything stupid like striped seluor katok to pass off as Billabong beach shorts. Jangok is not just for what you wear and how you wear it. It covers your makeup and hair too. Trim the nostril hairs and bojjeng your crowning glory. Bojjeng is to apply Minyak Zam Zam, Yardley Brilliantine or whatever you use for your hair nowadays (Bull Moose?) and comb (or style) it well. If you prefer to be fashionable bald, you can't bojjeng but make sure your skull is perfectly spherical and not butut (uneven). Recent kapok kecik scars and dents must be smoothed over as best as possible. The same goes for teeth marks. Teeth (your own) must be brushed and flossed. Gold teeth must be autosoled. No teeth? No hope.

Now we have your appearance out of the way, we will now tackle the communicating part.

Terengganu people in my time were suspected to be dyed-in-the wool busybodies or incorrigible kaypo. At one time, when sitting on one's tangga and spying another villager passing by, the automatic response from the tangga-sitter, depending on the direction the passerby is heading would be:

"Nok gi kuane tu?" (Where are you going?) or
"Mari duane tu?" (Where did you come from?)
Sometimes the passerby moved faster than usual though not fast enough to avoid this response from the tangga-sitter:
"Nok kuane loghat sangat tuuuu?" (Where are you off to in such a hurry?)
The response could be something like:
"Nok gi patta semetor. Nok cari sutong sikit" (I am going to the beach for a bit. Going to look for some squids)
"Mari patta. Nok cari sutong, Tadok sekor habok" (I went to the beach looking for squids. Couldn't find any.)
"Nok ujang doh ning. Jok ong. Kain dok akat lagi" (It is going to rain. The sky looks dark. The laundry is not taken in yet.)

The ice was thus broken, communications established and intercourse initiated. Intercourse here is of course not the sexual kind. Remember, intentions must be honourable.

(Not sure if this is to be continued)


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Today is Raya Nang.

In Tepoh, Padang Kemunting, Maras, Darat Batu Rakit, Kuala Ibai and numerous other places in Terengganu, Raya Nang is celebrated more than 1st Syawal. There willl be tapey (tapai) orgies and endless parade of baju kurung in multitudes of colours.

It is not just celebrated by ladies of menstrual age replacing their hemorrhaging days but by Muslims of both sexes who went the extra mile by fasting the extra 6 days. They are deemed to have fasted the whole year.

To fast the mandatory puasa Ramadhan is already tough to some. To fast while celebrating Hari Raya (except on the 1st day of Hari Raya when fasting is forbidden) is tougher still. Imagine fasting while watching your friends and guests gobbling the ketupat and rendang. To these people who puasa nang, it takes a lot of will power and faith. I take off my piah lembik to them.

Of course Puasa Nang is not confined to Terengganu alone. It is practised by Muslims all over the world although it is not obligatory. If you do not need to replace your puasa immediately, you don't have to puasa nang. People who fast the extra six days are the special Muslims who go above and beyond the call of duty so to speak.

One of them is my former boss, Hj IH. He never fails to fast the extra 6 days every Syawal. Someone told him that because his eyebrows nearly merged into one (like Leonid Brezhnev's) he is not going to live long. But I doubt that is the reason he is a God-fearing man. I have never met anyone who is so bent on being a good Muslim. After retirement, this gentleman imported and sold artificial flowers. A relative of his bugged him to no end by going around telling people in jest that my former boss "makan duit bunga".


Friday, November 19, 2004
Saya muhassabah diri yang kadang kadang tak munasabah.
Amidst the hari raya cards (I don't get that many) and the bills (I get a lot) I ruminate on the holy month that just went:

1. I missed one sahur (overslept)
2. I missed one Jumaat (overslept again)
3. Berbuka with Domino's Pizza twice ( I was the only one the house fasting)
4. I missed nekbat again. Pok Daud didn't come as promised.
5. Merajuk with my surau because they changed Terawikh to 20 rakaat without telling me. Thank God Mesjid Angkasapuri stuck to 8.
6. I think I missed Lailaltul Qadr (The Night of Power) because I asked for my teeth back and I didn't get them.

Alhamdullillah, my puasa wasn't rongak quantity-wise. Quality-wise, I don't know. It could be better I guess. Oh well, panjang umur, I will do better next year. InsyaAllah.


Friday, November 12, 2004
I am going to take a break for a few days. I suggest you do the same.
Have a Happy Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.
With Much Love,
Pok Ku.


Thursday, November 11, 2004
The only known visitor to my blog who could be celebrating Deepavali is Sashi. He left a comment in the Hi Society! post. Happy Deepavali Sashi. I have other friends who celebrate Deepavali. There is Ravi and there is his brother Prasad. Both are wonderful people but hopeless at computers. I have been trying to persuade them to get a PC for themselves and get on the Net. I have to share stuffs that I found on the Net by making hard copies and snail-mail them to the brothers in Kuala Terengganu. Stuffs like these:

(ENGLISH IN FOREIGN LANDS) -from many sources

In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.
A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest: It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodist.
A translated sentence from a Russian chess book: A lot of water has been passed under the bridge since this variation has been played.
In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.
Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?
On the tap in a Finnish washroom: To stop the drip, turn cock to right.
In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.
Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: Stop: Drive Sideways.
In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.
In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even foreigner if dressed as a man.
In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to USSR, you are welcome to it.
In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
In the office of a Roman doctor: Specialist in women and other diseases.
In a Tokyo hotel: Is forbidden to steal hotel towel please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read this notice.
In another Japanese hotel room: Please to bathe inside the tub.
In a Bucharest hotel lobby: The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

Read more here.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Before I go on, I would like to make it perfectly clear that I am not for partisan politics nor do I care for politics. I was in RTM and I was neutral like I was supposed to be. Whatever perceptions you have of RTM, the professionals are neutral. Really. If you want to look for political stuffs inside my postings, you would be sorely disappointed. But I wanted to relate to you what Tuan Guru Dato' Seri Hj. Hadi Awang said to his supporters a long time ago. He was admonishing his supporters about being swayed by gifts and subsidies handed out by the government. He told his audience about Bilal, the first muezzin. Bilal didn't lose his convictions even though they put a big rock on his chest. Hj. Hadi spoke to this effect:

"Awok laing. Orang ubuh guning baja atah wakah begoyang doh!"
(You are different. People put bags of fertilizers on the wakaf and you are already swayed)

Fertilizers and other things were subsidized heavily in Terengganu and in other states. Even our petrol is subsidized. We would have paid a higher price for it if there were no subsidies. So maybe we shouldn't gripe too much about the subsidy mentality, no? But I heard that subsidies are getting less and less as people get more self-reliant.

We are probably one of the few countries I know that have subsidies for a multitude of things. We have text books subsidy, subsidies to help our fishermen get outboard engines, nets and such. There are subsidies for tobacco planters and subsidies for pineapple planters. We help the coconut smallholders with subsidies to plant new species of coconuts like Kelapa Mawar or whatever. For taller and older coconut trees, we give subsidies to train the beroks (pig-tailed macaques) to pluck the coconuts. It takes a while to teach these red-assed creatures the difference between nyo mude and nyo tue and what are the signals to bring them down. It also takes time (and money) to teach these long-abstinent beroks curb their libido and not to rape chickens (the feathered kind) or the ocassional tabby cats that strayed close. Hey, it happened. They are not called beroks for nothing.

Once, when certain imams leading their congregations caused uneasiness and insecurities among the makmum by going "wallabo lin" instead of "walladho lin", the Terengganu government decided it was time to launch another subsidy.

They helped the imams get some false teeth. Believe it or Not.

See a slide show of a Monkey School.
About Pig-tailed Macaques.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

For any blogger with comments turned on, comments turn the blogger on. Comments received are like the icing on the cake, the colek for the jambu or keropok. They enhance the pleasure of writing a post.

Mek Yam and UZ raised an interesting point. They pointed out that some Terengganu words are similar to Javanese words. Words like arong, jerang and jarang.

Arong (from the Javanese aron) lost the other meanings on its migration to Terengganu. The remaining meaning is to half-boil eggs. If you want the most consistent telor arong this side of South China Sea, you should go to White House, a popular coffee shop in Kota Bharu which is just across one end of Padang Bank. Any time of the year, the half boiled eggs there will be the same. That's quality control for you.

Jerang is to boil too but used more for water. If the English put the kettle on to boil water for tea, Mok Long Selamoh would jerang air to make kopi deka (another specialty of White House). Jarang does not only mean "see through" as in some kebayas or "not usual" as in
"Jarang tengok orang paka kebaya ler ning
" (It is not usual to see people wearing kebayas nowadays) but also "far apart" like:
"Misa Pok Od jarang bedo'oh. 2 batu sela" (Pok Od's moustache is too sparse. They are 2 miles apart)
also means to wash/cool with water. In olden Terengganu, when Cool Fever(TM) strips were unheard of, fever was held at bay by washing the feverish person's head with water that has mashed hibiscus leaves added. Strangely, it is only jarang pala. At least I have never heard of jarang betih or jarang pala lutut.

I would appreciate any more Terengganu words that could have Javanese roots. Conversely, send me a list of Javanese words (with their meanings) and I will pick those that are used in Terengganu.

Ayoh tek (he is not 30 yet though) contributed these words in his comments: punoh ranoh, pecoh belepong, carek celober and kering ggaring.

Punoh ranoh is similar to punoh jahanang to the point that it can be interchanged without upsetting or confounding Mok Long Selamoh.

Pecoh belepong, like ayoh tek mentioned, is to describe something that exploded and break. Happens when you blow too much air in a condom or you left the bottle of budu Cap Bunga Ros too long in the hot car.

Carek celober is the state of the tattered condom and it is the same as robek nyek though not as bad. Standard equivalent is koyak rabak.

Kering ggaring is literally "dried to a crisp". It is drier than gersang, what ever gersang that you can imagine in this holy month.

Keep the comments coming. For the sheer pleasure of listening to Terengganuspeak, read Raya In Trengganu, the puisi written by Beta Blogger if you haven't done so already.


Monday, November 08, 2004
To my unwilling students and unsuspecting fans of Terengganuspeak, I am not about to end your suffering just yet. I have more Terengganu words to bug you with. The words this time relate to THE END, FINITO, HABIS or whatever rocks your perahu jalor. These are words to describe the finality of things or situations. Words for closures, for moments of no return, for burnt bridges, for no more hopes. Words to use when no recourses or remedies are available. Modern people might call it "Maxxed". Please note that translations are approximate. My vocabulary is as rusty as my remaining tooth.

  1. punoh jahanang (spoilt beyond repair) Used both literally and figuratively. Somehow this phrase reminds me of a Dikir Barat about a drug addict who sold all her parent's real estate to support her habit. Pusat Serenti or other centers can't rehabilitate her.
  2. abih licing (cleaned out). Think of a dish so delicious that you licked the plate clean. Also used to describe the state of a store after a Hari Raya Cheap Sale.
  3. anguh beletong/anguh kertong (burnt to a cinder). It is not just singed but blackened beyond recognition. Happens to toasts or ubi kayu (tapioca). Also to keropok fried by a distracted clueless teenager.
  4. hacor lumat (broken until it looks like it was ground). Suppose a family member of Atok sends him a Tupperware of putu kacang by post to London. In spite of having a FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE label, the package gets thrown around all the way from Brickfields to London (with many stops in between). By the time Atok gets it, the putu would no longer be in the original round pieces but in a fine powdery form. Atok would get sagong instead.
  5. robek nyek (torn and tattered) Used for anything that could be torn and tattered like pandanus mats, Pagoda singlets or seluwo katok.
  6. gelebek nyeng (worn out and unevenly serrated) Used primarily for knives, axes and other bladed implements.
  7. mapuh kerah (rigor mortis dead). Not to be used in polite conversations even though it can be used not just for humans but for vehicles, watches, transistor radios or anything that worked or moved before. In case you hate someone with a passion and the fellow died, you say he "jilat chok" (licked the gravedigger's spade). Again, do not use this in polite conversations.
  8. basat terey (destitute, flat broke, penniless) Spendthrift young people experience this in the second half of any given month. I experience it on any given day of the month. This is purely a fiscal phenomenon.
  9. abih teh (using all available resources, going all out) Usually used for non- physical endeavours like trying to convince a girl to go out with you.
  10. abih reng (physically trying your damnedest) It is like people in a tug-of-war contest, straining to pull the other side across the line. The captain or Chief Cheerleader would chant a chant used frequently when a group of people are pushing a bus, a boat or anything just as heavy: "Gagoh Ali, Gagoh Musa! Tubek ta*k tok berasa!"
    That's how hard they tried.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

This post is at the request of Zaireen.

Kohor is the Terengganu (and to a certain extent, also Kelantanese) equivalent of perlahan or in some cases, makin. The meaning of the word can be seen from the following examples:

"Jalang kohor sikit mek, patoh lata jerluh kang"
(Walk slowly girl lest the floor breaks and you will fall through)

"Cakak kohor sikit, Jangan bui Mok Long Selamoh dengo"
(Talk softer. Don't let Mok Long Selamoh hear you.)

"Mek Bunga tu paka ilmu apa dok tau. Kohor tengok, kohor comey"
(I don't know what spell Mek Bunga is using. Every time you look at her, she looks prettier)

"Kohor lama, kohor sayang"
(More time, more love - Love grows stronger with each day)

"Belajar kohor kohor, lama lama panda lah"
(Learn slowly and in time you will get it)

The title Kohor Kohor Igat Kera is my translation of "Slowly, slowly catchee the monkey" which reminds me of a story of how they catch big monkeys in a certain part of Africa. The catchers consist of a tree climber/shaker, a dog and man with a gun who does not seems to have any significant part in the proceeding.

When they see a big monkey on a tree, the climber would climb the tree, shakes the tree vigorously and the monkey would fall to the ground. The dog would then clamp his jaws over the monkey's nuts. The man with the gun would just look, seemingly bored.

The whole process is repeated with many trees and monkeys. Man shakes the tree, monkey falls and dog holds the monkey by the nuts.

One day the team found a big monkey. The man couldn't shake the monkey off the tree. Instead the monkey shakes the tree and the man falls.

On the way down he frantically shouts to the man with the gun:

"Shoot the dog! Shoot the dog!"

Have a nice weekend!


Friday, November 05, 2004

I wrote about Ropa my good friend since childhood on September 8th.
Yesterday, November 4th 2004, he passed away. He succumbed to complications brought about by hypertension, diabetes and coronary problems.

He will be buried today (Friday) in Dungun, hopefully by the side of his mother. People say it is blessed to die in Ramadhan and on a Thursday evening. May Allah place him among the places of the faithfuls.

To those who can, please read the fatihah for him. The rest, read about him in Risible Ropa . He would want you to smile and laugh. That's how I would think of him. That's how all my classmates would remember him. He would be sorely missed.

Goodbye Ropa. I am not able to send you to your grave like a good friend should but I have said many prayers for you.

We didn't get to fish and eat jambu.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

I wrote "Mujo" late Friday night and posted it in the first hour of Saturday, 23rd October. Nearly a week later, on October 29th, I saw the post on greasebar's blog. He received it from a friend and did not know then that it was mine. He even asked me via a comment on my doktong post to comment on it. Greasebar later graciously and gentlemanly updated the Mujo post on his blog with a credit and a link to the author. You have my gratitude, greasebar.

By October 31st, Beta-Blogger of Jalan-Jalan, who is in London, emailed me informing me that he had received the Mujo post via email more than once. Some even with corrections! He replied to the senders enlightening them of the original piece's author. The next day, while linking back the referrals on the Sitemeter, I came across a post Perspective in Alphabets, a blog belonging to a rare bird. This sweet bird is a friend of Mek Yam, a Malaysian living abroad. Mek Yang aka yamyam2u left witty and amusing comments in Di Bawah Rang Ikang Kering just a few posts back. She commented on Alphabet and reminded another commentator who posted Mujo in her (the commentator's) blog. Ms Sofie who is in the Netherlands and also got Mujo via email graciously credited THIS blog on her subsequent post. Thank you ladies.

Today and a few days ago, some regular readers of this blog mentioned in their comments that Mujo was circulated via emails. Some came to the Inbox of my daughter Elisa:

Your 'mujo' post is being spread around. I've got it twice from 2 different groups of people. Was proud to tell my friends, "Hey, this is my dad's work!"
Some of them want to shake your hand ;)

I had mixed emotions. I am flattered that the piece was deemed fit to be circulated but sad that credit was not given in spite of putting my name and email address on my blog and the Permalink on every post. I was also resigned to the fact that some people regarded copyright notices as mere decorations. I consoled myself that it happened before to far more luminous bloggers than this weird old man. To my knowledge, it happened to TV Smith and Mat Jan (his Samy Vellu song). Both were understandably pissed. I am not pissed if you want to share any of my posts with your friends. Just send them the Permalink or give me credit for my work. It is the polite thing to do. Even pirated VCDs carry credits.

I have since stopped pinging to Petaling Street. Not because I attributed anything to the useful website. I just do not need further exposure. I have enough fans in my loyal readers which in these short months grew from the original 6 apart from my children who were the original target audience. They were the reason I blog in the first place.

To you my readers who left comments now and then, you have my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. Your attention and comments made everything worthwhile. You kept me blogging, intellectual thefts notwithstanding (if you can call my posts remotely intellectual). Feel free to email posts to your friends as long you do the needful. Link or credit me.
As Beta Blogger succinctly summed it in his email: Doh nok wat guane!


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

When I wrote yesterday's post, I was under the influence of naan and chili con carne. When you are old and nearly toothless, you have weird taste in food combinations. I missed a few points and this postscript is intended to rectify that.

While browsing on the subject, I came across an article "The Indian Concept of Beauty" by Dr. Pramod Kumar in the International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology. Among other things, the article stated:

Beauty prevails in various forms: nature's beauty (e.g., scenic beauty), physical beauty (e.g., facial appearance), beauty in behavior and thinking (pleasing the intellect or moral sense, or a pleasing effect felt by others), and spiritual beauty (relating to spiritual values of life: a pleasing experience felt by oneself). Physical beauty comes from the physical appearance of the body part (tight and smooth skin, color, shape, prominence, accurate measurement: proportion, symmetry), total body contour, beauty spots (dimples, black moles of appropriate size and shape and at appropriate site), and style (hair style, dressing style, and action style).

Most of us met the above criteria. We are pleasant to look at, most of the time unless of course you are nursing a massive hemorrhoid or are perpetually constipated. Then you won't feel pleasant and consequently, would not look pleasant. Hence, most people agree that any countenance is always improved by a smile. Not the goat's smile (senyum kambing) but the smile that begets another smile from the beholder/receiver. Any of you remember Johnny Mathis? He sang A Certain Smile which goes:

A certain smile, a certain face
Can lead an unsuspecting heart on a merry chase
A fleeting glance can say so many lovely things
Suddenly you know why my heart sings

Oops, the old man in me is reminiscing again.

Dr. Pramod Kumar forgot to mention cleanliness. So if you are out of proportion, not symmetrical and have flies hovering around your face, you are less pretty. Thank goodness these people are not reading my blog. The flyswatter would interfere with the mouse. To my loyal readers (May Your Tribe Increase), whatever shape you come with, remember that you are loved. In my humble opinion, after you are at peace with yourself, it is perfectly alright to do some self-improvement. Renovation is not. Deception is worse.

Beauty is after all, skin deep but in the end, it is what inside that counts. Snazzy packaging might get a second look but it is the contents that will have them coming back again and again, begging for more. Ye ke dok?



Tuesday, November 02, 2004

We continue discussing beauty or rather the concept (or misconception) of beauty.

Today we touch on the obsession to be slim like the supermodels that we see splashed on magazine covers and billboards.

The idea of "slim is beautiful" is a relatively new thing. I think it probably started with Twiggy, the model that looks like, well, a twig. If you look at Renaissance paintings like Botticelli's Birth of Venus you will notice that no undernourished models were used. The Polynesians think plump women are sexy and Chinese mother-in-laws would accuse you of not feeding their daughters enough if your wife looks like a very thin version of Anita Mui (when she was alive). They also want daughters-in-law to have enough flesh to able to give birth many times.

When the survival of the species was important, men chose healthy full-bodied women as their mates and the Twiggy of the time didn't stand a chance. Procreation was a serious business and recreation was not.

Now, I am not saying that obesity is ok. Anything that is unhealthy should be avoided. That includes starving yourself in order to look like Elle McPherson or Naomi Campbell to the point of cultivating bulimia or other habits that are pure bull.

I am sure most of you are not obese or overweight. I am sure the puasa will shed some weight. There is a table for your ideal weight that your doctor or spouse would approve. A healthy you is more desirable than a walking papan. Think of the money you can save on patches, pills, slimming belts and other contraptions that promised a slimmer you. Beauty business is a billion dollar business annually. I am sure we can make better use that money elsewhere.

If you envy the cover girls and the supermodels and think they are your competitor, let me tell you this. They are not ordinary people like you. They are handpicked. Before each photo session, they are worked over by professionals. You and Mok Long Selamoh, Mek Beso and the rest of us wouldn't have that opportunity. To stay in business, these models and film stars work out long hours every day. They have personal trainers. Most don't have to take care of the house, a husband or whining babies.

If you are satisfied with how you look, which you should, I suggest that you take a holiday in one of the beaches in Terengganu. Take a walk with your husband. Enjoy the breeze. If you are too thin (read slim), your husband would spend most of his time running after you every time the Terengganu wind blow you inland. Think about that.


Monday, November 01, 2004

I am not saying that I have a brain (that's another story) but I have this nagging suspicion that I have been brainwashed.

I have been bombarded with countless messages in newspapers, magazines, on TV, under bridges or even on sides of busses that beautiful people are:
a) Fair
b) Slim

I am sure you have been bombarded too. But do you believe them? Do you believe that only the fair and slim people are beautiful?

Let's tear into them one at a time. Let us take the colour of the skin first. People, like kain pelikat, come in different colours. Black, white, yellow, red or sawo matang. All turn green with envy or when on a boat in rough sea. Why do they want us to be white? Even the white people themselves don't want to be white all the time. They want to sport a tan. They want their friends or strangers (complete or otherwise) to know that they can afford to sunbathe in Acapulco, Hawaii, Rio, The Caribbean, Majorca or wherever. The very least they can brag about is they have a sunlamp somewhere.

Fair is passe'. Centuries ago it was the rage to be fair. Noble ladies stay indoor and avoid the sun. When they have to be in the sun, they were protected by wide bonnets and fancy parasols. At that time, only the peasants got tanned. Later slaves worked in the hot sun and most of them were already tanned.

By then, people were already brainwashed. We were taught about dark forces, black hearts, black magic as well as Snow White. I am sure you can think of other words and phrases that made you think that black (or dark) is bad. Later on, we were told that Black Is Beautiful and we adore Diana Ross (with or without the Supreme) and other celebrities who are not fair. Do not spoil the argument by mentioning MJ. He is the Weird One and an exception.

Black is still beautiful. Any other colour that you have is beautiful too. God is not discriminatory. Ok, maybe Kermit complained about the difficulties of being green but he doesn't go around using bleaching cream.

People who fall for the spiel that you have to be fair to get a partner, get a job or whatever the ads say, should remember the Malay rhyme:

Hitam-hitam si tampuk manggis
Sungguhpun hitam ku pandang manis.

Remember Ted Danson of "Cheers"? Mr Danson, not a blind person but maybe colour blind, once fell for Ms Whoopi Goldberg. Ms Goldberg is black and not a beauty queen by any standard. She is just a wonderful person.

Remember your grading in school? Excellent, Good, Fair.

Be excellent or good. No need to be fair.

(To be Continued)