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Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer

THE COLOURS OF TERENGGANU

Monday, December 20, 2004

(A partial response to a request from reader Striker, a Terengganunese in Scotland)
Terengganu is always colourful visually and figuratively even at the height of the monsoon. When the sky is jok ong (overcast & grey) and the road along the Kuala Terengganu General Post Office is flooded, you can find people in colourful dresses under umbrellas of various colours indulging in their favourite monsoon pastime - main air. They find pleasure by walking in ankle-deep (sometimes higher) flood water. Maybe they are chasing the monsoon blues.

Terengganu people tried to explain the colours around them as best as they could.
Hence we have:

Red - Meroh nyaler (merah merrang)
Green - ija menaung
Yellow -kuning besio'r
Black - itang beletung (itang legik)
White - putih seleput
Blue - biru heghang

Merah nyaler is fiery red, like the burning fire or the glowing embers, used to describe anything red like a shirt, a Lamborghini Diablo, an infected eye or even a pulsating ripe pimple. Meroh merrang is used more to describe a blushing, sun burnt or an embarrassed face like when your Diablo is overtaken by an old Morris Minor. (It can happen on a gravelly kampung road).

Ija menaung is the greenest of green, whatever shade the green is. Menaung probably came from the word taung (overcast) or naung (shade). It is likely that upon seeing such an evocative green, the speaker thought of being under a shade of green foliage. On the other hand, he might be green with envy.

Kuning sio'r is probably the freshest and brightest of yellow. Sio'r is usually associated with sparkling shiny new things like a pair of golden subang boong. There are no specific words for other shades of yellow. Terengganu people had to resort to mentioning similarly coloured things for comparison. So, pale yellow is kuning lemok ketang which would be clear only to those who had cleaned crabs before. Of course there are other yellow-coloured stuffs invoked to convey the yellowness of things which I would not dare get into at the moment.

Itang beletung (rhymes with the German achtung) is the black of burnt things, including but not limited to ubi kayu, overgrilled fish, toasts or civilian buildings after a blitzkrieg. Very black things that do not involve fire are usually described as hitang legik(legit). My Kamus 3000 translated legit as "sweet and amiable". Made me think of R.Azmi and his hitang manih.

Putih seleput is used to describe a person (usually female) who is alabaster-white. I am not sure whether seleput came from the word leput because I have yet to come across dua leput or tiga leput for that matter. My theory is if you skin, say, a fruit, you will come across a selaput (membrane) that is usually very white. Other theories most welcome.

Biru heghang got me stumped. Heghang is the Terengganu version of hairan. With so many things blue in Terengganu, why would that colour be so amazing? I can understand some of the Terengganunese confusing blue with green and vice versa. This form of colour blindness could be induced by watching the sea too much. The sea can get green or it can get blue. Now you know why there were changes in the government in the last 10 years.

Incidentally, there is no word in Terengganuspeak or even the Malay language for the colour brown. Read beta blogger's post ("Does Cadbury Exists In Nature?") on this.

Download the Free Trial of Kamus 3000 (with Dewan Eja spellchecker)

| 12:01 AM :: ::
29 CommentsOldStyle:
  • Pok Ku: Your Biru Hengang story, hahahaaaaaa....

    By Blogger Jane Johan, at 12:19 AM  
  • what does 'besio'r' rhyme with? (i mean how should i correctly pronounce it?)

    - riza

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 AM  
  • Interesting... Funnily enough, even after staying in KT for two years for schooling, some of the description entailed here I heard it for the first time. Thanks Pok Ku.. Thats another round of otak-otak I owe you from K.Kemaman. And a round of satar from the same place for the links to the Malay dictionary! Save me chugging one dict less to the PC! Hee.. Domo arigatou... Cerita Haji ada sambungan tak?

    Addendum, I've received the email from you sir. I do have some further communicae to further the email. will send the bits and bytes later. Thanks again.

    By Blogger Sham, at 3:35 AM  
  • biru heghang - is it like Shocking Blue they call it these days?
    dusyum.fotopages.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 AM  
  • heghang = hireng?

    hireng = gelap (banjar)

    By Blogger Aku Tak Reti, at 9:15 AM  
  • Assalamualaikum Pokku :), pasal kaler (colors)in Trg slanga ni.. One of my klik kat ofis ni selalu wat nganjing ke sy pasal warna 'koko' atau orang KL sebut warna coklat. He tried to make fun of me once.. sambil tunjukkan satu barang yg berwarna brown @ coklat tu.."apa warna ni?" he asked.. i said coklat..then he said Ori Terengganu's must said koko..engkau nie Terengganu murtad.. hehehheh:)Betul ke Pokku brown in Trgs..is koko...?? confused gok nie.. even born in Trg..

    By Blogger ceklong, at 10:14 AM  
  • a'kum wrt Pok Ku..
    Interesting read. I hv a foster family in Wakaf Tengah, n reading yr post this time around helps me better understand the loghat. *wink*
    I've owest love listening to the folks from eastern n northern part conversing wif each other.Kaya bahasa dan kaya budaya negara kita ni,kan Pok Ku?
    Have a nice day ahead.
    Wslm.
    ~winnie~

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  
  • PokKu, may you can enlighten ceklong about koko..
    Hahahah..

    By Blogger zaireen, at 11:11 AM  
  • Jo ong is such an euphemismic word. Apart from saying today is jo ong you can also say 'doh guanno muko jo ong nih.(meaning the face has been conquered by impending storm?)boleh ke macam tu?Ahhhh beauty of the east coast language.

    By Blogger NajMie, at 11:17 AM  
  • Sir, a few more colors to add to your already colorful blog :-

    samor (rhymes with more)
    biru keduduk

    Back then, I have this friend who's an albino. We call him Madi Zombie...

    By Blogger teganusapatulangkering, at 11:21 AM  
  • i thot brown is "perang" in malay? ;)

    By Blogger Buaya69, at 11:41 AM  
  • you also missed out:
    'dog shit gray'
    'butir star' (or is that kelantanese?)

    By Blogger elisataufik, at 11:56 AM  
  • Malay language be it Trengganu or otherwise loves to use "perkataan berganda" to emphasise.

    Haziq when asked the colour of our nose he said warna cokelat.

    By Blogger Lollies, at 12:01 PM  
  • ya interesting indeed. didn't know the malay dialect has many colourful names for colours. all along i know of colourful names for colours in english only obviously from ads from ICI or berger. :)

    By Blogger Lucia Lai, at 12:18 PM  
  • Pok Ku,
    would you be kind enough to explain to me about these terengganu words:
    Bunga Taik...
    Sekepeng...
    Ca'k Ne..
    Bedo'oh lalu...
    and some other terengganu's similes such as..
    Masang Rebang...
    Masin 'mekak..

    By Blogger Afiq, at 12:38 PM  
  • Ha ha ha.. not ho ho ho (eventhough this is christmas season). Klah..klah.. good explanation. I'm speechless, bekok perut. Terubat rindu. Terseliuh otok. and etc... about your suboh gajoh I had that twice this week. Tired of working here as you know this festive season the time to grab as much as u can.
    Carry on Pok Ku. Long live pok ku kite. How about English di terengganukan like pasenjer, wagan, pit nang and all the words related to Bukit Besi time.

    From Pelajar Tua
    Skotleng.

    By Blogger striker, at 1:10 PM  
  • Pokku, masa Darjah Satu dulu cikgu ajar warna coklat tu 'perang', warna oren 'jingga', warna purple 'ungu/ biji kundang'. Klu ganuspeak apa ye?

    By Blogger Jie, at 1:27 PM  
  • homer's Mok always say puteh melepok.

    By Blogger Homer, at 1:53 PM  
  • PokKu
    The color 'chocolate' is probably not a new color to the Malays (since all of us have brown skin, and many things around us are brown..) but strangely enough we dont have a special word to describe it, except recently the word 'sawa matang' is used to describe the skin color of Malays. If you notice, long ago when people wanted to compare people's skin they would only use the words 'hitam' and 'putih' to differentiate the darker from the lighter or fairer skin respectively eg. 'anak sulung kau hitam tapi yang nombor dua tu putih pulak'. The problem probably started when the Mat Salleh landed on the Malay shores and the Malays began to feel taht they may have to change their definition of 'putih' as far as skin color is concerned. -KA

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 PM  
  • when i was a lil kid, i had a baju melayu with a "kelabu taik anjing" color.

    my relatives kept on teasing me until i had enough and when beraya with only my underwear which was putih melepak.

    :)

    - joe -

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:09 PM  
  • Honeytar:
    I am glad you enjoyed it.
    riza:
    "besi'or" would rhyme with the Spanish "senor" and nasalized too.
    sham:
    Cerita haji dah habis.
    dusyum:
    Heard of shocking pink.
    AkuTakReti:
    Rasanya Banjar tak ada kat Terengganu. Jawa ada.
    ceklong:
    Jarang dengar "koko" ni. Cokelat biasa.
    winnie:
    Right! Unity in diversity.
    Zaireen:
    I wish I could.
    NajmIe:
    Yes, "jok ong" is used figuratively too.
    teganungsapatulangkering:
    Thank you forthe additions.
    Buaya69:
    Apparaently "perang" is new. Even Winstedt used "cokelat".
    Elisa:
    LOL! I left out the dog.
    Lollie S:
    He proved that he is not colour blind.
    Lucia Lai:
    The paintmakers made up the names. Thanks for dropping by.
    Afiq:
    Ok, watch the next post.
    Striker:
    I am glad to be of some help.
    Jie:
    Those are all new words.
    Homer:
    Putih melepak is Standard BM.
    KA: Sawo matang would be ciku masak in Terengganuspeak but never used for "brown".

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 5:13 PM  
  • joe:
    Thats the dogshit grey that Elisa mentioned.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 5:15 PM  
  • I rest my case! I cant grasp this!

    By Blogger Hazel, at 5:29 PM  
  • in the case of skin colour, we are puteh seleput (or melepak), kuning langsat, hitam manis or hitam legam??..never cekelat..?? hmm, why don't we have a malay word for brown..i wonder..?? is it beacause we don't care about the in betweens??

    By Blogger hyphenated L, at 6:24 PM  
  • Pok Ku, ader tak program cuti sekolah to teach people like me who are "buta Terrengganu" to know more about the wonderful state? :P kekekeek

    Cheers!!! :D

    By Blogger hyelbaine, at 9:35 PM  
  • Hazel:
    I am sorry. I did try my best!
    Hypenated L:
    I guess in the olden days people were not so particular about the exact colour as long as people get the basics.
    Hyelbaine:
    LOL! If there are enough students, I might give it serious consideration.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 11:00 PM  
  • Yang Hazel tau lah kan .... yang merah itu saga, yang sawo itu matang, yang putih itu bangsawan ....betul ke?

    By Blogger Hazel, at 11:39 PM  
  • Hazel:
    Yang Pok Ku tahu, yang Proton tu Saga.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 11:48 PM  
  • if perang is Malay for brown what's war in Malay? :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:08 PM  
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