Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, January 27, 2005
I have noticed that the Scout's Honour and the hand sign is sometimes used by non-scouts too.Especially when one is trying to underline the veracity of one's statement or the fidelity of one's promise.

Some of course will swear on their mother's grave even though the mum is still alive and kicking. Others will promise that they will be struck by lightning if they lied.

Terengganu kids (during my time of course) weren't so morbid. Oh, they did swear alright. I can remember that. Even those of us that were scouts had to resort to swearing when faced with Doubting Thomases or Wavering Wans.

I can remember 3 favourites phrases for "bersumpah". One was rekok wok (the wok is nasalised and rhymes with bongok). The accompanying movement was usually the bending of the arm to solemnly swear that if the arm bender lies, the arm will be forever bent and shrivelled. Boys of a certain age believed that the arm won't be only part of the body to be bent and shrivelled. Scary stuff.

Another oft-used phrase was tobat (literally repent). There were two versions. One was tobat pong. The other was tobat yasing. The latter was usually used by kids who had gone for Quran classes and heard about the powers of Surah Yasin. Tobat pong was used in ordinary garden variety situations like:
"Aku dok rajeng setoh pon basika mung. Tobat pong"
(I have never touched your bicycle. I swear!)

The other was usually used in serious situations where stronger affirmations were needed when threatened with bodily injuries or severed relationship or both:
"Tobat yasing aku dok setoh adik mung"
(I swear I didn't touch your sister).

Another favourite was kapir (Unbeliever) before it was hijacked by political parties.
Even though there were no Eurasians for miles around, kids used kapir serani though it was not meant to insult any Eurasian. As mentioned, there wasn't any around to insult in our times. As time went by, we had a couple of serani in town like Cikgu Dennis. They remain uninsulted until today. There were other races who were not Muslims but we never heard of them being invoked.

Of course the ultimate was something like the Chinese "potong ayam". It was usually saved for life and death situations where parangs and klewangs in the hands of doubting people were involved. Usually these people were a bit angry. In these situations, you better be innocent. You had to swear on the Quran.