Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, March 31, 2005
There was this in my comment box yesterday:

by the way pokku, penoh dengo dok syair "baliklah wok" dr kuala berang,mok saya dengo syair ni katanya seghia' bulu roma..


Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Lion3ss requested the lyric of Anak Udang, a Terengganu traditional song. Click to listen to this wma file.
Here is the lyric:
Anok udang udanglah udangnya
Sikang ini ketika tika ini
Anok udang menyusurlah turunlah
Anok teruna turunlah turun setana

Sama berjuang di anjung dondang sini
Anok udang udanglah udangya
Beduan seru lah nok udang belukar semok
Dekat situlah nok udang belukar semok

Anok udang udanglah udangnya
Walau abang setana dok nok bokweh
Mata bertimanglah bertimang
dondang maya

Undur ghetek lah berjalan kebelakang ghetek
Kedepan setapok lah kebelakang tiga tapok
Anok udang udang lah udang nya
Itu saja panduang beduan seru

Anok udang udang lah udang nya
Silang ini ketika tika ini
Anok udang menyusur lah turunlah
Anok teruna turunlah
Turun setana

Sama berjuang di anjung dondang sini
Anok udang udanglah udangnya
Beduan serulah nok udang belukar semok
Dekat situlah nok udang belukar semok

Anok udang udanglah udangnya
Walau abang setana dok nok bokweh
Udang ini anok udanglah udangnya
Mata bertimanglah bertimang
dondang maya

Undur ghetek lah berjalan kebelakang ghetek
Kedepan setapok lah kebelakang tiga tapok
Anok udang udang lah udang nya
Itu saja panduan beduan seru

Now, if only someone can tell us what it means.....

My heartfelt gratitude to Wan Salmah Sulaiman and Din for letting me listen to this song at their house with pisang goreng and Nescafe and many thanks to Darekampo for cloning the songs.

Anak Udang was sung by Cikgu Mustafa Mohd. Lyric by Ramli Ibrahim based on traditional lyric. Copyright is retained by the owners.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005
There is a reason why this post is more than 9 hours late. It is way later now because of Blogger's server errors.

Yesterday, "my body not bush" (tuboh tok rok) so I fell asleep just before Isya. I was awakened at around 12.30 am and told that everyone in our condo was already downstairs. There was a strong vibration at 12.15 am. Even though there was no visible cracks in the building, we went downstairs. I was in my kain pelikat. There was already a big crowd at the carpark. People were sleepily standing around not doing anything in particular. Phone networks were jammed. There was a Polis Waja parked at the other block, lights flashing.

Half an hour later I went up and hurried to the chat room and Elisa, who is in Finland, told me to turn on CNN. That was how I learnt about the earthquake. Later Suanie and djcybersonique filled me in. I went out of the chat room and tried to finish the slides for today's lecture. I was interrupted by a call from one of the security guards who told me that the news crew from RTM wanted to see me. I put on my jeans and went down with Mimi.

About an hour after that at nearly 3 am while working on my slides, there was somebody shouting, telling us to get down. Again we went down. It was a prank. A dangerous "cry wolf" one. Very bad joke. May those responsible had their armpits infested by the fleas of a thousand camels for the rest of their life.


Monday, March 28, 2005
I got my exercise last night by walking the length of KLIA right down to KLIA Express train station. I needed the exercise to lose the calories gained by endless eating while I was in Kuala Terengganu. I ate a lot of things. Brunch of fried kway teow at Awana Kijal ( at 11 am), kerepok lekor for tea, kerepok lekor plus nasi minyak for dinner and kerepok lekor and satay for supper.
The next morning, it was nasi dagang and more kerepok lekor for breakfast. I had Sunday as a kerepok lekor-free day. But I gorged on nasi with ikang singgang, grilled ikang kerisi with budu courtesy of darekampo.

I also had bekang kuah lemak after not seeing the delicacy for over 20 years. Bekang is oval-shaped bland cake somewhat like baulu. In fact they use the brass baulu mould to bake the bekang. Rice flour is used to make the bekang. It is eaten either with a sweet brownish gravy or with a savoury creamy fish-based gravy. The one I had yesterday came with both but I only poured the savoury gravy over my bekang. I am glad that the art of making bekang is not lost after all these years.

I could not say the same about the nasi dagang though. On Saturday I woke up early to join the faithfuls for the dawn prayer at Mesjid Puteh. After listening to a lecture, my friend and I picked up another friend and we headed to Cendering for a nasi dagang breakfast. The more glamorous shop was closed and we went to the next shop which, at just over 7 am, was already crowded. The nasi dagang rice was up there with the best but the fish and gravy was on the sweet side. The curry went the way of satay sauces. I was told that the other shop nearby had better gravy but the rice is not as good. That is important information. The next time I go to Cendering for nasi dagang, I will buy the rice from one shop and the curry from the other. It would be worth the trouble.


Friday, March 25, 2005
InsyaAllah, by the time you read this in your office, I will be on my way to Kuala Terengganu on some unscheduled business. Since I have to pack and do other stuffs, I do not have the time to think of a worthwhile post. So I shall share with you something I received in the mail today. Peruse it, digest it and debate it. I shall not be responsible for breakups or people sleeping on couches.

X-celling Over Men

New York Times
Published: March 20, 2005

Men are always telling me not to generalize about them.
But a startling new study shows that science is backing me up here.
Research published last week in the journal Nature reveals that women are genetically more complex than scientists ever imagined, while men remain the simple creatures they appear.

"Alas," said one of the authors of the study, the Duke University genome expert Huntington Willard, "genetically speaking, if you've met one man, you've met them all. We are, I hate to say it, predictable. You can't say that about women. Men and women are farther apart than we ever knew. It's not Mars or Venus. It's Mars or Venus, Pluto, Jupiter and who knows what other planets."

Women are not only more different from men than we knew. Women are more different from each other than we knew - creatures of "infinite variety," as Shakespeare wrote.

"We poor men only have 45 chromosomes to do our work with because our 46th is the pathetic Y that has only a few genes which operate below the waist and above the knees," Dr. Willard observed. "In contrast, we now know that women have the full 46 chromosomes that
they're getting work from and the 46th is a second X that is working at levels greater than we knew."

Dr. Willard and his co-author, Laura Carrel, a molecular biologist at the Pennsylvania State
University College of Medicine, think that their discovery may help explain why the behavior and traits of men and women are so different; they may be hard-wired in the brain, in addition to being hormonal or cultural.

So is Lawrence Summers right after all? "Only time will tell," Dr. Willard laughs.

The researchers learned that a whopping 15 percent - 200 to 300 - of the genes on the second X chromosome in women, thought to be submissive and inert, lolling about on an evolutionary Victorian fainting couch, are active, giving women a significant increase in gene expression over men.

As the Times science reporter Nicholas Wade, who is writing a book about human evolution and genetics, explained it to me: "Women are mosaics, one could even say chimeras, in the sense that they are made up of two different kinds of cell. Whereas men are pure and uncomplicated, being made of just a single kind of cell throughout."

This means men's generalizations about women are correct, too. Women are inscrutable, changeable, crafty, idiosyncratic, a different species.

"Women's chromosomes have more complexity, which men view as unpredictability," said David Page, a molecular biologist and expert on sex evolution at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Known as Mr. Y, Dr. P calls himself "the defender of the rotting Y chromosome." He's referring to studies showing that the Y chromosome has been shedding genes willy-nilly for millions of years and is now a fraction of the size of its partner, the X chromosome. "The Y married up," he notes. "The X married down."

Size matters, so some experts have suggested that in 10 million years or even much sooner - 100,000 years - men could disappear, taking Maxim magazine, March Madness and cold pizza in the morning with them.

Dr. Page drolly conjures up a picture of the Y chromosome as "a slovenly beast," sitting in his
favorite armchair, surrounded by the litter of old fast food takeout boxes.

"The Y wants to maintain himself but doesn't know how," he said. "He's falling apart, like the guy who can't manage to get a doctor's appointment or can't clean up the house or apartment unless his wife does it."

"I prefer to think of the Y as persevering and noble, not as the Rodney Dangerfield of the human genome."

Dr. Page says the Y - a refuge throughout evolution for any gene that is good for males and/or bad for females - has become "a mirror, a metaphor, a blank slate on which you can write anything you want to think about males." It has inspired cartoon gene maps that show the belching gene, the inability-to-remember-birthdays-and-anniversaries gene, the fascination-with-spiders-and-reptiles gene, the selective-hearing-loss-"Huh" gene, the inability-to-express-affection-on-the-phone gene.

The discovery about women's superior gene _expression may answer the age-old question about why men have trouble expressing themselves: because their genes do.


Thursday, March 24, 2005
I am sure you have read about the hoo ha in our Parlimen about the Ugly Malaysian. In fact, some of the Members of Parliament were sure it was about the Ugly Malay.

The problem with commercials, more so TV commercials is they tend to make people emotional. Good ads are designed that way. They are supposed to stir some emotion in you. If the ads have the same effect as peeling paint, then they are not good ads.

The other thing about commercials is, they have many messages. It is not just about why you should use a particular brand of soap. That is the primary message. There are more messages in an ad that sometimes the scriptwriter didn't even think of. Ok, let me elaborate a bit. Just think of a drink commercial where the actor or actress drink straight from the bottle. The primary message is it is cool to drink the drink. The other message is, it is cool too to drink straight from the bottle. Forget what your mom told you about pouring drinks into a glass first. Then there were a few commercials from a soft drink company where an adult was painfully played out by a group of kids. In that commercial, the primary message is it is fun to drink that particular drink. The other message is it is alright for kids to make fun and bully an adult. Now you are getting my drift.

Back to the offending Ugly Malaysian/Ugly Malay commercial, maybe some people got the message that thin -goateed, tie-wearing, Mydin-raiding young man is uncaring and selfish. Some thought the message that all Malay young men are uncaring and selfish. The Medium is the Message, said McLuhan. By the same token, how many of you got these messages from the same commercial:
1. All Indian women on LRT are pregnant
2. Chinese Ah Sohs are kind to blind people
3. All blind passengers are fat Malays

Think about it will you?

Apologies to atok and other friends overseas. Click here for backgrounder.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Whoever said "Time is money" haven't met my pensioner friends and me. We have time but no money. Except yesterday. Yesterday we had neither. We didn't get to meet to have lunch and I ended up spending more money for pizza.

This post is late because I was hard-pressed for time and had to prioritize. Blog posting, which was high on my list, dropped down a notch or two. I also didn't get to have my usual fun in the chat room except to have a virtual dance or two with Mak Andeh. That was fun albeit a quickie.

Today, I have to lecture on Human Resources and Time Management for the Special Events class. I had to troll the Net to come up with a decent set of PowerPoint slides. I found some interesting bits and pieces which I shall share with you. It seems that to people of working age, most of our time goes to unexpected places:
7 years in the bathroom
6 years eating
5 years in queues
3 years in meetings
2 years on the phone
8 months opening junk mail
6 months sitting at red lights (not applicable to Malaysian motorcyclists)
Of course, there are those minutes and hours wasted. Apart from reading this blog, there are 17 Leading Time Wasters:

1.Telephone interruptions
5. Lack of priorities
6. Disorganisation
7. Inability to delegate
8. Computer problems
9. Inaccurate information
10. Indecision
11. Unclear communication
12. Inability to say "NO"
13. Fatigue
14. Correcting mistakes
15. "Waiting time"
16. "Road time"
17. Poor planning

I will leave it to you to ponder on the above time wasters. I also have a Self Test that can tell you how good are you at Time Management. Since time is precious, I will leave that for later.

Time is also wasted when you dilly-dally and use the kek gi syndrome. Tasks, however unpleasant, have to be done. No matter how long you wait or delay, they won't get better. So, one wise man said :
"If you have to swallow a frog, do not take too long looking at it."


Monday, March 21, 2005
Today, Monday 21st March is the Spring Equinox for people in countries with 4 seasons. For us, in a country with only 2 seasons (hot and hotter), the sun will be directly on the equator and it is predicted that it will be a very hot day. Terengganu people will call the day panah derring.

In Terengganuspeak, the heat is described in many ways. Panah derring is for hot and bright sunny days when you can fry an egg on the asphalt. It is also a good day to get sunstrokes if you are not careful. Surprisingly, there is no Terengganu word for sunstroke. There are words for the consequences though such as pitang and gelap mate.

The heat on muggy, sweat-filled humid days would be called panah sok oh. You get uncomfortable and you get belengah (sticky). This is the time, when you can, you want to take off your shirt and wait for the slightest breeze to come. Modern day air-conditioning and electric fans help of course.

On either days, it is not advisable to be on the beach barefooted. I know it is nice to be barefooted on the beach and feel the sands between your toes. Do it on cooler days. Otherwise, you will shout out that the sand is panah ketik-ketik - biting hot. Panah ketik-ketik is used to describe hot things that come into contact with your body like hot berangan (chestnuts) or minja (malinjau) just off the sand-filled wok.

That's about all the temperature words I can think of in this heat. Metaphorically there are words that use panah. There is panah punggong. No, it does not mean that you have a hot backside like J Lo's. It means that you are restless and cannot stay put in one place. This kind of behaviour might make someone close to you angry or panah hati. Panah hati is not heartburn. It is the Terengganu equivalent of the northern hangat hati. Of course, when you are angry enough, the heat will start a simultaneous combustion - a condition the Trengganu people call tebako ( to burn). This is exactly what happened to an elephant.

It was a hot day in the jungle and all the animals were fanning themselves trying very hard to keep cool. Suddenly they heard a roar. It was the tiger, collaring everyone and demanding to know "Who is the King of the Jungle". The small monkey got it first. The tiger roared the question in his face "Who is the King of the Jungle?" and the monkey answered between chattering teeth "You..you..sirrr!". The tiger released the monkey's throat and moved on to the next animal -a nervous tapir. Same question, same answer. The tiger roared on.
A very hot elephant at the end of the line muttered under his breath, "The idiot better not come to me. It is too hot for that kind of nonsense". But eventually the tiger came to the elephant anyway and barked the question: "Who is the King of the Jungle?"
The elephant lost his cool. He grabbed his trunk around the tiger and tossed the tiger high in the air. When the tiger came crashing down, the elephant stomped his massive foot on the tiger. Then he tossed the tiger up again. The tiger landed on his feet this time, avoided the elephant's foot, brushed himself up and looked at the elephant in the eyes.
"I say man. Just because you do not know the answer, don't get so angry lah".


Friday, March 18, 2005
I really have no valid explanation as to why I suddenly thought of kolleh. Maybe the hard drive in my brain scoured the database within and stopped at kolleh. I am not even sure if kolleh still lurks in various brass pots somewhere in the kitchens of Terengganu. It has been a while since I tasted kolleh. The last time was when I was 8 years old. It was about the same time the spherical golden balls earrings, otherwise known as subang bung was the rage. No, I didnt wear earrings and never will so there is no connection whatsoever between kolleh and subang bung other than to pinpoint the period.

As far as I can remember, kolleh is shapeless which makes it harder to remember. If you ask buaya69, he will tell you that it is easier to remember things with shapes (or shapely things) compared to a mass of protoplasm. So, I have to dreg the deep recesses of my memory to come up with a few salient points of the kolleh:
  1. Kolleh is made from wheat flour. There are also kollehs made from kacang hijau.
  2. Quality kolleh has eggs mixed with the flour
  3. Kolleh is sweetened during the cooking process by adding granulated sugar or nissang (gula melaka/coconut sugar)
  4. Kolleh is thick ( it may look stupid too) and when ready to be eaten is somewhat like gruel. Most of the time it is like a brown paste
  5. Kolleh is extremely unattractive and never made it to any cookery page of magazines.
Kolleh is not a dessert. In Terengganu, it is usually cooked for tea although it would be not be anything like the English tea where they have tea and crumpets (or strumpets, as the case may be) or tea and cucumber sandwiches. Thus kolleh will take turns with asang gupal, onde onde, teri mandi, bata buruk and tok aji serbang to be the fare of the afternoon.

On a totally different level, kolleh is something like my ideas. It never gels. It never knows what to be. Like I told you, it is shapeless, hesitating between a syrupy liquid and a gooey mass. Some people are like that too. At least the humble bronok can make up its mind and has a definite shape, turning purple in a given time covered by grated coconut.

I have a friend called Umo Kolleh. Whether the Merang folks gave him that sobriquet due to his fondness of the kolleh or because he demonstrated qualities of the said kolleh, I will never know. Whatever it is, I miss both Umo and kolleh.


Thursday, March 17, 2005
sausage, food consisting of finely chopped meat mixed with seasonings and, often, other ingredients, all encased in a thin membrane. Although sausages were made by the ancient Greeks and Romans, they were usually plain and unspiced; in the Middle Ages people began to use the various spices and meats that led to the modern sausage. Many of the sausages that became famous were named for the localities where they were first made: the frankfurter in Frankfurt, Germany; the bologna in Bologna, Italy; the genoa salami in Genoa, Italy. Black pudding, an ancient dish in England and Scotland, was made of oatmeal, suet, and hog's blood. White pudding was suet with toasted oatmeal. Sausages are of two types, dry and wet, according to whether the casing is filled with fresh (wet) or cooked (dry) meat. Pork sausage is an example of the wet. Dry sausages are made from fresh meats and curing substances, and then smoked (e.g., pepperoni). Salami, most common in Italy and Germany, contains beef and pork and is highly seasoned. The large bologna sausage is of veal and pork and is smoked. Frankfurters and wienerwursts are small, smoked varieties containing lean pork and beef. Sausage is usually packed in casings made either of the cleaned and salted intestines of the slaughtered animals or of synthetic cellulose.
I can't remember when halal sausages came to the supermarkets. I am sure it was at the time when I still had teeth. I can safely say that it came after hotdogs became popular. You really cannot have hotdogs without sausages, can you?

Recent developments will make me stay away from hotdogs and sausages. I have to skip the occasional treat of fried bangers (sausages) and eggs on a bed of baked beans until I am sure the sausages are halal.

For non-Muslims who might be wondering what the fuss is all about, let me tell you that I, like all other Muslims is very particular of what I eat. I might be the greatest sinner this side of Hell, but I care about what I eat. I might not care what I wear, where I live or who I live with but when it comes to food, I care. Halal does not only mean pork-free. It means everything must be done as prescribed by the religion. The animal must be slaughtered according to the mode taught by the religion. Animals that committed suicide or killed by passing JKR lorries cannot be used as food for Muslims. I can tell you more on this subject but I think I need a license.

Porcine ingredients creep into a lot of things. Shortening is an example. The capsule for medicines and vitamins is another.Friends will tell me of other things. I have to be more alert and read the label. You too must be alert. The country needs more lerts.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005
I stood at my balcony smoking a cigarette that tasted less and less good. I peered at the night sky, trying to look for the Petronas Twin Towers hiding behind the uncompleted buildings across the road. In a moment of silliness, I scanned the Kuala Lumpur night sky for a falling star to wish on. None fell. The distant lights of Genting Highland winked, mocking me.

The curious cat in you might wonder what I was wishing for. No, I didn't wish for a million dollars. I knew God would not give me that much because I could not count. I had difficulties counting the four rakaat in prayers. I did not wish for world peace. I leave that to beauty contestants. I just wished for a subject to post on. There are days like that. Mental constipation. Bloggers Block.

If you are in a wishing mood, you should be in Rome. Throw coins in the di Trevi fountain and wish away. Bring your own coins. Wishing for coins to throw is against the adage of "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". The Romans bring their own coin, so must you. Roman men pinch bottoms too. I do not know whether you should too.

If for one reason or another, you could not be within throwing distance of di Trevi fountain, and still wish to wish, look for a wishing well. They are a bit difficult to find in Malaysia. The few wells you might come across would be jealously guarded by kemban-wearing and heavy timba-wielding Amazonian makciks. Throw anything in their well and you would wish you were somewhere else. There are telaga buruks - old disused wells. Unfortunately, one or two were already used for P.Ramlee movies and not wishes-friendly. The rest became refuse refuges.

So you are left with shooting stars. Hunting for them in the murky Malaysian sky takes a lot of luck, good pair of eyes and extreme gullibility. But despair not, there are other things to wish on or wish with. Go into any KFC outlet, eat some chicken and you might end up with a wish bone. You and your partner can then grab one end of the wish bone and make a wish. Eating alone might not work. You can also look for Aladdin's lamp. Then you can wish for a partner to take to KFC.

They say you have to be careful of what you wish for. One guy found a genie and wished for a million bucks. The genie brought him a million ducks. Hundred years in the lamp made the genie a bit deaf. Another guy, a perennial failure with the ladies asked the genie to make him very close to ladies. Genie turned him into a ladies deodorant stick. But the story you must always bear in mind is the one about the cowboy. The cowboy was out riding one day when the horse reared and nearly threw him off. He saw that a rattlesnake was the culprit. He took out his gun to shoot the snake. The snake stopped him, claiming to be a magic snake and would grant him any wish. The cowboy believed the snake and shortly asked that his sexual organ be turned to resemble the horse's sexual organ. Piece of cake, said the snake and told the cowboy that his wish would come true the moment he wakes up the next morning.

The next morning, our cowboy woke up and excitedly threw away the blanket to look between his legs. His scream could be heard all the way to the Indian Reservation:
"Ohmygod!!!! I forgot I was riding Nellie yesterday!"


Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I first saw this on Sunday night on Mack Zulkifli's blog. I was under flu medication and did not realize that it was a "chain post" until I saw it again on Jordan's blog. Yesterday, Baine left a link in his comments on my Malu post naming as one of the chain and I will sportingly oblige. I shall not risk making Baine lose all his other hair by breaking the chain.
I will leave out the names of the 3 victims. I don't mind curses and being bald.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

It used to be zero. I prefer CD as the medium for my music. MP3 files are at the best "near-CD" quality. But since starting Radio Pencen, I have accumulated a substantial amount of mp3 files on my other harddisk. It is half full of music so I guess it is about 3 Gigabytes.

2. The CD you last bought?
None. I get CDs free. I have children and indulgent friends. Last CD that I got was Peter Cincotti's "On The Moon " album.

3. What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?
Diana Krall's version of "Just The Way You Are". It was playing on Radio Pencen although nobody was connected. What a waste.

4. Write down five songs that you often listen to or that means a lot to you.
Desafinado by Stan Getz. It let me escape to exotic places and nobody blows a saxophone like Stan.
Winelight by Grover Washington Jr. It brings me back memories of happier times when life was not too complicated.
Anggerik Bulan by Chrisye & Sofia Latjuba because I like Sofia's legs in the video. It is also a beautiful song.
Cindai by Siti Nurhaliza. Beautiful voice and beautiful gurindam.
Sunrise by Norah Jones because it relaxes me.

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
None. I am in a merciful mood. Must be the medication. But if you want to participate, please go ahead.


Monday, March 14, 2005

MALU, both in Terengganuspeak and in Standard Bahasa has many meanings. It can be translated into English as shy, coy, embarrassed, ashamed, shame or disgrace, depending on circumstances. In the West, a lady who is not ashamed to show off her navel and other assets in a bikini, polka-dot or otherwise, will scream in embarrassment if you see her in pyjamas or a bathrobe and curlers. She will be embarrassed too if you see her face covered in some gooey night cream. Long long ago, in the eastern states of Malaysia, long before toilets were available, men were not embarrassed to do their business on public beaches as long as they can cover their face with their sarong. No shame when you are anonymous.

Malu was the invisible policeman of social mores. You did not do certain things because of malu. Malu disciplined you. You took pains not to disgrace yourself and worse, your parents and your family. You were told not to "scrawl charcoal on your parent's face" or otherwise disgrace your parents and family. The Japanese know this better than the rest. They invented hara-kiri to solve malu -related problems. The Malays did not resort to such drastic and final measure. They believed in "Prevention Is Better than Cure". So all members of the community played their part. They nipped the problems in the bud. Knowing that they are known to everyone in the village, people who harboured thoughts of doing anything disgraceful would think twice. Malu prevented them from doing anything stupid. So the kampong was peaceful.

Then people moved to the cities. Malu was lost when anonymity was found. In the cities, nobody knows, or bothers who your parents are. One of the reasons to be malu was gone. Establishments in the cities too are conducive to anonymity. There are dark places. When you can't be seen, you can't be malu right? Even if you are seen, like the men on the beaches, they wouldn't know you. Thus, everything you wouldn't do in your kampong would be done in the cities and more. When malu is gone, anything (and everything) goes. With malu long-forgotten, some are driven to criminal activities. The malu will only resurface when they are caught and photographed in court. Then they will cover their face. A bit of misplaced malu there.

Malu to go against the norm of proper behaviour is replaced by another malu. The fear of losing face or simply the fear of losing. Call it kiasu or whatever as long as you don't lose. Towards this end, you will not be ashamed to borrow, beg or steal as long you can better your competitor. Of course there is a story to make the point clearer.

Pok Derih, P.J.K. is a neighbour of Mr. Tong. Their semi-d house is next to each other in a posh neighbourhood. When Mr.Tong installed automatic gate, Pok Derih followed suit with a shiny stainless-steel version. Then Mr. Tong made Pok Derih malu by buying a big 54 inches tv. They had to break the front door to bring the tv in. Soon after, Pok Derih sold his kebun derian and bought a home theatre system with a plasma screen. Then Mr.Tong bought a Mercedes. Pok Derih had some money left over and promptly bought one too. Cannot malu one. One morning, Mr. Tong, a Catholic, baptised his new Mercedes with holy water. On seeing this, Pok Derih went inside, came out with a hacksaw and cut a bit of his Mercedes' exhaust pipe. He told Mr.Thong:

"You baptised your car, I sunnat mine!"


Friday, March 11, 2005
Derumo's Lakseganu post made many keyboards wet. It is a conditioning reflex when something tweaked your brain under the right conditions. Let us confirm this. If you are game, read on. If not, you are free to move somewhere else.

First, you have to relax. Go to the bathroom if you have to. If you have a mother-in-law bothering you, go find her false teeth or her falsies and make her quiet and leave you in peace.

Relax and imagine a lime. See the lime clearly in your mind. See it almost round, shiny green with pockmarked skin. There is a nipple-like nub on one end of the oval of the lime. If you cannot picture this lime, you are not relaxed enough. Stop reading and start relaxing before going on. If you got the picture clearly, take the lime and place it on a table. Now, imagine a very sharp knife. The blade is made of stainless steel forged in Sheffield, Great Britain. The blade is about 6 inches long. Strike the blade with your finger and you hear the "tinggggggggg". The knife has an ivory-like handle 4 inches long. Hold the handle and it feels very comfortable in your hand. Put down the knife next to the lime.

Now imagine a clear glass shorter than the teh tarik glass. If you have seen a whisky glass before, imagine that and see it in your mind. It is made of good crystal and when you strike its side with your finger, it will make a nice sound. Hear that note. Put the glass down on the table.
Now, take the knife in one hand and hold the lime with the other. Cut the lime in half. You can see vapors and bits of lime escaping as the sharp blade parted the lime. You have two halves of lime. Take one half and squeeze the juice into the glass. Watch the thick lime juice streaming down the side of the glass to the bottom. Discard the now pulpy half of lime and tak ethe other half. Squeeze the juice into the glass and once again watch the juice oozing down the side of the glass and making the bottom rise. Now you have about an inch of thick, sour lime juice in the glass. Take the glass to your lips and drink the juice.

When I gave this "Lime Test" to friends in my old chat room, they had many reactions. Some salivate, some puckered their lips and some screwed up their face. You tell me what was your reaction. If you had some reactions, you will understand Pavlov's conditioning reflex. If you don't, it is alright. Pok Long's plight may help you understand better.

Pok Long was never away from his wife. He made it a point to sleep (and fall asleep) with his wife. One day, Pok Long was forced to be away and he had to put up in his good friend's house for the night. His friend, Deramang Loley, was a good host and gave Pok Long the guest room downstairs for greater privacy. In the middle of the night, Deramang Loley was awakened by some noises downstairs. He came down to investigate and found his good friend rummaging drawers. Pok Long told him that he was not used to sleeping without his wife, could not sleep and wanted to borrow a shoe brush. Deramang Loley did not question his friend's wisdom or sanity but promptly gave him a shoe brush. The next morning, he found Pok Long sleeping peacefully with one hand firmly on the bristles of the shoe brush. Now, that's conditioning.

Read about Pavlov
Play Pavlov's Game from the Nobel Prize webpage.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

(Concluding DERUMO's serving of long stuffs)

4. The laksa is served in chats and you can take one or two chats per serving with the vegetable garnishing and flavouring. In serving lakseganu, the salt, chili and belacan are grounded separately and served separately). The eater will have the option to add them according to their taste - whether you like it salty, chilly hot, creamy ( lemak) or very belacany (Not as the laksa johor in which all those condiments are combined together into sambal belacan) The vegetable garnishing or the vegetable salad that goes with the laksa ( known in English as laksalad ) are daun kesum, ulam raja, daun kemangi, daun selasih, daun kadok, tauge, etc. My habit is to take as much belacan as possible and spread over the laksa like grated cheese. Somebody once commented that I should not do it that way - its not cheese. I replied that it is the most appropriate way to eat laksa using Malaysian cheese.

5. To get the full taste of lakseganu, it should not be eaten with fork and spoon but with your bare fingers and clean cut fingernails Can you imagine the pleasure that you derive by pressing (ramas) your laksa in the thick gravy with your finger with the belacan aroma and kesom leaf smell, and then putting it into your mouth. Ummphhhh Sedaaap nya. Once when I was eating the laksa Johor in a posh restaurant in KL in that natural manner, the waiters and other diners looked with much disapproval. I told the waitress that I was eating Malaysian laksa lah (lakseganu) not the Italian lasagna!!! I plan to do the same thing the next time I have spaghetti at the Italian Restaurant in Via Veneto in Rome, Italy - to follow the Malay proverb "Bila anda di Rome, jangan buat apa orang Italy buat"

5. There are two type of gravy ( kuoh) for lakseganu . Kuoh metoh - The gravy is prepared "on the rock" without cooking - made of white, raw santan, black pepper, onion and finely grounded grilled fish meat eaten with the same garnishing and ingredient. Kuoh metoh may not agree with some sensitive stomach (perut plastik) since they may get kembung perok . The other lakseganu gravy is the kuoh masok. It is prepared the same way as laksa johor gravy except that it is more yellowish and not dark brown as in laksa johor. Perhaps, lakseganu do not use much nyior gula or krisek (burnt coconut)

5. There are 5 versions of lakseganu i.e. laksa beras + kuah mentah ; laksa beras + kuah masak; laksa tepong +kuah mentah , laksa tepong + kuah masak and laksam +kuah mentah . (By the way, laksam is the Ganu Kuetiau) I suppose that's why they cannot call laksa lemak as Laksa Trengganu since there are so many varieties and combination, and the laksa johor is only one version or a subset of laskeganu. However, when you enjoying eating keropok goreng at the Batu Buruk stalls and you feel like having a plate of laksa, please don't ask for one laksa. They will fry ten thousand pieces (10,000) of keropok for you because that is what one laksa means.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005
(Digest this BIIIIIIG serving by my Guest Blogger, DERUMO)

There is a delicious Malaysian dish known as Laksa Johor. The laksa is made of noodles and the gravy is made of fish preferably ikan tenggiri or economically ikan kembong or the mixture of the two cooked in santan. The vegetables garnishing for the laksa are cucumber, kesum. Pineapple, sliced onion, etc. So far, the instant noodle companies have not made instant laksa johor yet since these fresh ulams are difficult to be "instantized"!!

Being a Trengganunese, I don't agree with the assigning of the name Johor to that particular laksa. It should be generically called laksa lemak (or laksa kuah lemak). The laksa of Trengganu which I would like to officially call lakseganu (short for Lakse Gganu and almost similar to the Italian lasagna) is the same as laksa johor in terms of the laksa, kuah and ulam etc. In fact, the lakseganu is more fresh and elaborated prepared. The laksa is made of either rice or wheat flour. The rice laksa is usually freshly made with a brass cylinder extruder known as gebok laksa tembaga (its technical name is BCNE = Brass Cylindrical Noodle Extruder). The art of making the laksa is very interesting but with the advent of the dried laksa (originally from Thailand), this art had vanished.

The feedstock material used for the laksa is rice flour (tepung beras) -which is more valued in East Coast because it is more difficult to make. On the other hand, the laksa tepung is made from wheat flour which is considered as the inferior version. They don't fancy the laksa tepung so much since it is cepat muok.

How is the lakseganu made? The instrument needed to make fresh laksa beras ( lakse berah) are a gebok tembaga ( using the duck penis screw press), a buaya ,a lesong numbok hok dalang , piring lubbang, a kayu mutor, a kawoh, many badang or talang, the daun paku pakis ( fern). The rice is pounded into fine powder and the flour is made into "dough" and wrapped in banana leaves to be boiled. Then the cooked rice dough is again pounded in the lesong (wooden pastel) before stuffing it into the gebok. The gebok had a screw press which squeezes the cooked rice dough into long noodles through a piring (a metal sheet with lots of holes). The most interesting part of the equipment is the screw press is called the "duck penis" in Malay appropriately termed so due to its shape and its movement into the cylinder. The gebok is placed onto a fitting hole of a 4 inches wooden plank known as buaya (not buaya 69). The shape and the size of the thick wooden platform/plank which look like a crocodile explained the term used. A long wooden pole is inserted at the end of the screw press which is used as a lever to turn it.

So you have to push the wooden pole (by going round and round the buaya) to twirl around the screw press which presses the cooked rice dough over holed metal sheet to extricate the laksa. Below the gebok, there is a big kawoh of boiling water into which the pressed laksa is dropped to be cooked. When the laksa is cooked, it is scooped out into woven bamboo or metal tray (badang/talang). For serving the laksa, it is made by into a bundle of elongated curl strand known as chat and then placed on the fern leaves on the tray. (I suppose the women folk were chatting around when they use their nimble fingers to chat the laksa and that's why they are called chat) This art of making laksa is almost gone now gone but we can still imagine the whole as a miniature version when they make putu mayam /putu mayong in the kitchen.

(To be continued tomorrow)


Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Every time I play "I Can See Clearly Now" on Radio Pencen, I think of opticians and I think of the first spek (spectacles) that I had. I was in Standard Six in Sultan Ismail College, Kota Bharu and I just discovered the library. I found out that I could borrow 4 books at a time and I did. I devoured Biggles, Just Williams and other story books and finished them in 2 days. Then I borrowed some more.

When I started to squint at the blackboard in class, the teacher asked me to get glasses. I, in turn, asked my father. My father took me to town, with Ang Brothers as the destination. On the way he got distracted by a sidewalk peddlar who sold , among other things, spectacles. He asked me to try some spectacles. I put a few and tried the read the signboards of the shops at the end of the road. I found one that helped me see clearly. It was a pinkish clear plastic frame. The next day, I found myself having headaches and my father took me to Ang Brothers where they finally tested my vision with a proper eye chart - the one with a lots of drunken E's. You must remember that this was in the 50s. Not many people can read. So the easiest way was to give the "testee" a cut-out E, show him the E on the chart and if he could see the E, he had to show how the E was - either on its side, upside down etc. by mimicking the position with the cut-out E in the hand. Now they have computers to survey your eyeballs. Handsfree.

I got a real pair of glasses and soon lost them in Sultana Theatre. Wearing glasses was not a habit that I adopted easily. I put them on only when I want to read the board or watch the movies. After a quick visit to Ang Brothers again, I was warned to put on the glasses all the time.

When I was transferred back to Kuala Terengganu, Rohing Hj. Dolloh, also a "mata kelabu" friend and a fellow-scout, showed me a pamphlet with a title like "How To See Without Glasses". It involved eye excercises and a diet foreign to me. Belacan or kicap was not in it. Anyway, it did'nt work for Rohing. One day, he broke his glasses. While waiting for his parents to send him money for new glasses, Rohing used a pair of binoculars to read the blackboard. The teacher thought he was being funny and sent him out of the class.


Monday, March 07, 2005
Bloggers:1, our chat room entered a new dimension on Saturday when the first real-time "Berbalas Pantun" took place in cyberspace.

It was a slow day. Regular chatters were enjoying the first Saturday of the month either out or still sleeping in. When I got into the room, only Elisa was in the room. Elisa is a Malaysian working in the Land of The Midnight Sun and she sometimes leave her pc on even though she is off. Then Kak Teh came in and congratulated Elisa on being th enewest member of Rantauan, a network of Malaysians abroad. Whether there are broad Malaysians in there, I would not know. Anyway, Kak Teh told Elisa that one of the activities of Rantauan is "Berbalas Pantun" with people representing the continent they are currently on taking on the people in other continents, Europe versus America etc. You get the idea. Kak Teh then asked to "Berbalas Pantun" with Elisa. Elisa modestly declined and Kak Teh, in a pantun mood took me as the substitute sparring partner.

Kak Teh:
Beli sayur pergi ke kedai
Jalan sedikit sudah penat
Apa ilmu pok ku pakai
Radio Pencen pun ramai peminat

the reply was prompt enough:

Bawak raga selalu penat
Penuh sarat bunga seroja
Mana ada ramai peminat
Sekali dengar, lima sahaja

Kak Teh then urged Elisa to come up with a pantun but again, Elisa declined and I tried to make an excuse for her:

Cantik sungguh anak mak eton
Pakai sari berlilit lilit
Hari ni lisa tak leh berpantun
Minum tea, dah jadi sembelit

which set off an exchange of what Kak Teh called Lavatorial Pantuns like these:

Kak Teh:
Kalau tak tahu sering bertanya
Kalau tak tanya tak ada idea
Sembelit senang saja ubatnya
Minum julap jalanlah dia

Pok Ku:
Ada idea boleh digilap
Bila digilap berchahaya cahaya
Hati hati memakan julap
Silap julap berjalan tuannya

And finally there were pantuns involving my teeth (or lack of) which , fortunately, could not be saved (The pantun, not the teeth. My teeth, according to my dentist are on their last gnaw and beyond redemption.)


Saturday, March 05, 2005
(The following is a newsflash received on Radio Pencen's ancient thermal fax machine. The veracity of the news could and would not be ascertained at the moment but read it anyway)

RU RENGGEH - Saturday : The local chapter of the Persatuan Derebar-Derebar Roda Tiga District 609 will make a movie with a working title of "Kememe" (Blur). It will be about a triangular love-hate relationship between a Malay Mok Inang Rodat, a Gurkha gem peddler and a Bomoh Siam. A sum of RM607.65 sen has been collected as seed money while 3 buffaloes, one billy goat and 7 itik serati has been pledged. No budget has been mentioned.

In a hastily-called press conference at Kedai Kopi Mok Nang Selamoh, the pro-tem President of the Persatuan Derebar-Derebar Roda Tiga, Anang Khatib Jusoh dismissed suggestions that they were trying to ride on the success of "Sepet".

"We will do better than that film, " he promised " we will add in several scenes for the censors to cut, leaving the whole film and storyline intact." He also hinted that there will be a prequel and a sequel tentatively titled "Boley" (myopic) and "Gelap Mate" (temporarily blind) respectively. The cast has not been decided yet. There were no actors or actresses present at the press conference but Encik Anang grudgingly revealed that the majority of the ladies in rodat groups in Hulu Terengganu will be auditioned while Wak Sir will be offered the role of the Bomoh Siam. The Gurkha will be played by a real Gurkha and members of the association were already scouring Kuala Terenganu and beyond for the batu aqiq peddlers.

It is learnt that the scriptwriter will be Rukmini Minggu who grew up in Capitol Cinema, Kuala Terengganu. Locations will be around Ru Renggeh itself, Sekayu Waterfall, Kuala Ibai Bridge, and Pasar Kedai Payang . Some scenes will be shot in Bukit Cerakah Agricultural Park if it is still around.

Credit Card 555

Friday, March 04, 2005
( I am letting my Guest Blogger, the inimitable DERUMO, loose on the blog today, unedited, unrestrained, unplugged)

The Campong Credit Card (KKK - Kredit Kad Kampong) had been used since a long time ago in Malaysia. That before the coming of Visa Card , Master Card, , Cart Blanc, Ala Carte, American Express , or KL-KT Ekspres, etc. It was the advance method of spending on credit by the rural and town folk in those days... The rural folks who were mainly rubber tappers, small farmers and fishermen are the main users of the Malaysian KKK. It was also used by the town folks especially among the factory workers, lorry drivers etc. Among the rubber smallholders and to her agricultural produce and fishermen, they have to sell their rubber smoke sheet (RSS) to the village shop who acted as the supplier of provisions and all other daily needs.

So, these rural folks always opened their accounts with the KKK centre provision shop owners who will sell their produce to them. Upon the sale of their produce, the account will be contra at the end of the month- leaving some cash which the man will bring the family to eat out rojak or mee goring in the nearby town what is in the shopping list for the provision shop in the nearby town? rice from the jute sack with green lining, or wrapped in thick brown paper, flour by the white khaki gunnies, tin of biscuits, pucuk ( fu chuk) , bilis , dried fish and dried sotong and salted eggs. These were the main provisions that will be brought back in the trishaw together with the passengers.

It also happened at the regular coffee shop, gerai teh tarik, work place canteens etc. They took their breakfast, tea break, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, high tea and tell the canteen owner "Masuk Akaun." No need to produce your card. No need to sign or check up your credit reference. Just mention your name and it is all done and the best of all no need to check whether it is the entry into the right book. Since you don't have to pay in cash - you will order large amount of food i.e. Roti canai, roti telur jantan, roti telur betina, nasi lemak, roti bakar kaya kawin mentiga, empat biji telur separuh masak - a very sumptuous breakfast. However, when full moon comes and their monthly pay comes and the 555 Note Book comes, then they asked themselves how come no money this month? The food order for that day was off the regular menu - only nasi kosong with telur mata kerbau and air suam.

One day I was in a supermarket with a push cart load of provisions. I joined a long queue of patient shoppers with full load of provisions too. When it came to my turn, the cashier said that the counter was for credit card only. It was my mistake not noticing the sign of credit card. However, after waiting for half an hour, I was trying to pay cash at the counter but the tiller refused. So I commented sarcastically and loudly "Jadi kaunter ini untuk orang berhutang sahaja? Bayar cash tak boleh lah." Her answer was "bukan hutang Encik counter ini beli secara kredit sahaja." Obviously, she did not really understand the meaning of credit (I hope with the teaching of English in Maths and Science in the school, many of our younger generations will understand the meaning of the word credit. I said loudly again "kredit tu hutang lah - barisan ini untuk orang yang berhutang lah" and made my way to join another long queue at the next counter The other shoppers queuing on the line get annoyed since I told them that they cannot pay cash and have to berhutang. The connotation was different when you buy on credit as compared berhutang, It was my mistake looking for the cashier thinking that I can pay cash but some of them were creditors counter. I propose that instead of labeling the counter as cashier , credit card, the shopping complex and supermarket should labeled it in Bahasa Melayu Malaysia as "BAYAR TUNAI" and "HUTANG".


Thursday, March 03, 2005
This is not a post about cakes. Kek Gi is not a confection although it could very well be food for thought if you are prone to cerebral activities. Fear not, the title will be clear as we move along.

As you might have noticed and probably grumbled about, postings and reply to comments on this blog have gone from bad to worse. I take full responsibility for that. Mea culpa. You might not care less after a while because there are other fishes to fry and better blogs to read. I do realize that. I care and I am making an effort to rectify the situation and make things right.

I am suffering from a dreadful disease which I shall call the Kek Gi Syndrome. Kek Gi is Trengganuspeak contraction for sikit lagi/sikek lagi ( a little bit more) which, in whatever form it evolves to , means only one thing : hold on, or wait. Invariably, as far time and space are concerned, kek gi will soon be replaced with karang (later) or esok (tomorrow). Many tomorrows later, what was promised to be done is still not done. Procrastinators among you will be familiar with this, I am sure.

Procrastination is not only difficult to spell correctly but also extremely hard to shake off. It is in your genes. I doubt whether it can be removed surgically. It is ingrained as part of Setawang Pok Wi's 10 Bad Habits of Unsuccessful People (to be written and published when Pok Wi ceased saying kek gi ). You learn it when you are deep in a book or a tv program and your mother asks you to go shower. That's right, your reply will be "Kek gi!". You are a bit blurred on what is urgent, what is important and what is to be deferred. You defer everything until your mother reach for your father's belt (without the father attached) and shrieked "Selalu!" (Now!) then you know what is urgent.

Let me share with you a story of a man who refused to accept kek gi as an answer. My thanks to Wan Marziani for sending this to me:

Pok Coh is a diabetic (kencing manis sufferer) and was waiting patiently for his turn to see the doctor in a rural clinic. When he asked when is his turn, the reply was always "kek gi". He saw some patients who came later than him being led in. So he complained loudly to the nurse on duty:
Pok Coh: Guane saya kecing manih dok bui masok? Orang kecing masang buleh masuk?
Nurse : Tu bukang kecing masang Pok Coh. Tu KECE MASAN.

Translation? Kek Gi aah.