Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, April 29, 2005
Here I am, at 1:22 AM, sitting in front of the pc pondering on what to write. A few cigarettes have been snuffed and I still sit.

I have not written on Trengganuspeak for a while now, so maybe I should now before this blog lost its identity (and more readers).

"Sit" is dudok in Terengganuspeak. Same meaning as in Bahasa Malaysia (Standard) only in Terengganu it has an extra meaning. Dudok also means "living in" or "staying at" as in
Mung dudok duane? (Where do you live?)
Ambe dudok Mannir (I live in Manir)
Do not ask the guy "Lama dah tinggal Mannir?" (Have you lived long in Manir?)
because the answer might be
Dok rajin tinggal Mannir pun. Dudok sining sokmo. (never left Manir, been here always).

The English has only one meaning of "sit" that I can remember this early in the morning. It means planting your posterior on the chair, on the cushion, on the grass, wherever. Terengganuspeak, on the other hand (or posterior if you like) has various modes of sitting. There is
dudok cokkoh, dudok cattok, dudok jerenggeng, duduk senggeng,duduk belunjur and probably some other duduk too. Derumo will of course describe the subtle differences in English in due course.
Mok Nan Selamoh, the Terengganu equivalent of the Western Emily Post, the authority on etiquette, will tell you that the polite way to sit is
dudok silla for gentlemen and
dudok sippoh (tippoh?) for ladies of any age.
Please do not confuse this because ladies do not bersila and gentlemen do not sippoh unless they have undergone surgery and done the necessary modification at the Jabatan Pendfatran Negara. It is considered rude to
duduk cakkong when you have company. Duduk cakkong is reserved for the toilet, even done by some on sitting commodes.

Mothers would remind their kids to
dudok diang (sit still) or sometimes dudok mollek (sit properly). Dudok mollek is especially important for girls who tend to sit in such a way that they are said to dudok nanggok. It is excusable for very young girls. For mature ladies, it is a no no. Somebody might see you and ask
"How are you fixed for blades?"


Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Recently, We a.k.a. SK, a chat buddy and die-hard Radio Pencen fan told us that he suffered from insomnia. I hope he is sleeping well now because insomnia is really something to lose sleep over.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. You might have insomnia if you have difficulty falling asleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning and/or you had an unrefreshing sleep once too often. Insomnia , like schools, can either be primary or secondary. Primary insomnia is when your sleeplessness is not directly related to any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia , on the other hand is caused by depression, heartburn, cancer, asthma, athritis or pain. It might also be caused by pain, medication or alcohol. Insomnia can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). I usually have short-term insomnia. Once I have paid my debts, my insomnia and the accompanying goons sent by the Friendly Neighbourhood Along disappear.

A lot has been written on and about insomnia. Some give tips on techniques to help you sleep better. Among the suggestions are:
Taking a Warm Bath (Not applicable to sleepless goats)
Get A Massage
Listen To Music
Drink Warm Milk
Eat A Bedtime Snack (Wan, kebab is not advisable)
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco
Sleep In a Well-Ventilated Room
Sleep on a Good Firm Bed
Sleep On Your Back
Get Some Physical Exercise During The Day
Keep Regular Bedtime Hours
Get Up Earlier In The Morning
Keep Your Bed a Place For Sleep (heh!)
Avoid Naps
Of course, there are techniques which only true-blue and despearte insomniacs would try:
Sleep With Your Head Facing North
Toe Wiggling
Stomach Rub (yours, I guess)
Progressive Relaxation
Deep Breathing
I like the "Progressive Relaxation" because apparently it worked for one of my friends. He was an insomniac until he taught all parts of his body to relax and go to sleep, progressively beginning with his toes. By the time he got to his eyebrows, he would be snoring.

One night he was on his usual Progressive Relaxation exercise, you know, going like:
"Toes, go to sleep"
"Knees, go to sleep"
"Thighs, go to sleep.."
When he got to his belly button, his wife walked into the bedroom, wearing the sheerest nightie from Victoria's Secrets. My friend's jaws dropped and he was quiet for a bit. Then he started shouting "Hey! Everyone wake up!!!!"


Tuesday, April 26, 2005
On Sunday, channel-surfing brought me to TV3's "Nona" where a couple of young ladies who latah were talking about their experiences. It was an eye-opener for me because hitherto, I always thought only old people got afflicted by this latah syndrome. I have been entertained many times by matrons of Merang and elsewhere who split our sides with their antics during latah.

I also thought that only Malays latah. Again, I was wrong. I surfed and learnt that latah is also prevalent in China where it was called "koro". The Eskimo also latah. They called it "piblokto" while the Ainu of Japan called it "imu".

Apparently, latah is not regarded as a mental illness, at least not in Malaysia. There is no stigma attached to this affliction. People who latah are a source of amusement. No weddings or kacau dodol sessions are complete without at least one latah person to add to the merriment. Once poked, the latah person will act or speak as suggested. In fact, the latah person needs not even be poked by anyone. He or she can start his or her antics once startled. It was said that a similar situation happened in the part of Johor where there are many parit.

A straight-forward man married rather late to a younger lady who is latah. They were on the way home after visiting the girl's mother. When crossing a small bridge over the parit (actually more of a canal than a drain), the lady was startled by a large green lizard who fell from one of the overhanging coconut trees. All at once the lady screamed out repeatedly that a part of her anatomy fell. The husband, the straight-forward man that he is, and getting used to marital bliss wasted no time in jumping into the canal, purportedly to retrieve his wife's missing part.


Monday, April 25, 2005
I know. It has been nearly a week since my last post and I will not apologize for being physically sick. If I had been mentally sick, I am sorry.

My predicament started last Monday. My gums got swollen and I had trouble chewing food. On Tuesday, I was feeling a bit woozy so I decided to drive to the college. I could not find my car keys anywhere. Then I remembered that Shah came to the house the day before and he must have inadvertently took my keys with him. A phone call confirmed that and Shah promised to deliver the keys early next morning. I sent Mimi to school by cab and took the LRT to college. I broke into cold sweat well after Bangsar Station and barely made to college washroom to throw up like a pregnant young lady. Later, some of students saw me sitting alone in the class and was alarmed enough to inquire if I was alright. They dragged me to the cafeteria but and when there I was already swaying in the queue like a drunken sailor. I hardly touched my rice (with ikan keli and kuah asam pedas).

The class went on as usual with lots of pregnant pauses on my part and my students waiting to catch me in case I keeled over. When it was over, I caught a cab and asked to be sent home. The cabbie politely told me he can only send me to the Setiawangsa LRT station because he had to pick up his kid at school. So I took the LRT home. I had to break my journey at various stations along the way to throw up in the toilet.

I got my car keys back at 6am on Wednesday. I drove to the college and later went to see my doctor. He told me I have gastritis which was causing the giddiness. The gastritis was probably caused by my erratic eating. That was caused by my rotting teeth. My stomach condition was also aggravated my an overdose of painkillers that I bought from a pharmacy. My doctor told me I was given a double dose. I had to see a dentist once the gums stopped swelling.

Calls and SMS from concerned bloggers (Kak Teh, Awang and SK called long-distance) helped to raise my spirits and I felt good enough to attend the Futsal "Let's Kick It" at Bukit Jalil accompanied by my eldest daughter. I had to give marks to the organisers of this event. It was part of the students final assignment. Even though no one from the college cared enough to drop by, the students were in an upbeat mood and the event was an unqualified success. The winning team was from a group of non-college students from Bangsar while the runners-up were from UNITEN and MMU. I got to give away part of the prizes and medals even though I forgot to comb my hair and had to lug my considerable amount of medicine. The students even gave me a hamper that they got from a well-wisher. Inside was one packet of Jintan mee, 2 packets of chips and one large bottle of 7-Up. What wasn't inside but more valuable was the sentiment and thought of the students. On the label outside the cellophane wrapper, they wrote in large letters:

I won't deduct their marks for that spelling error.

The real ayahnda now needs your help. My daughters are thinking of opening a restaurant and they are conducting a survey. If you haven't done so, please spare a few minutes to answer the questionnaire here. Thank you!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Yesterday I had a somewhat pleasant Monday despite my throbbing gum.
First I went to the Post Office to Pos Laju Kri's cd. The lady who came to process my package was seen rushing from one counter to the other. I asked her why are there so many counters with the "TUTUP" sign. She explained that a few of the staff went on leave or on a course. I asked for a jiffy bag - the padded envelope and the Pos Laju sticker. I must have an honest face because the lady asked me to take the envelope and fill in the form first before paying. Fatimah took a risk. I could have ran away with the 75 sen envelope. I did not abscond with the envelope and a few minutes later Fatimah processed the package efficiently, smiling sweetly throughout. I thought that the service level in Malaysia has improved.

One Mat Salleh in the Post Office did not think so. When I arrived, he was holding on tight to his number, waiting for his turn. It did not come and I saw him going out and then coming back in to browse at the Philately Corner. I left him, still waiting.

I went straight to the 3rd Floor and made reservations for 3 at the Ume Tei Rastaurant. Since it was not lunch time yet, I headed for the 2nd hand bookstore at the end of the floor. I asked the girl on duty at the cash register if there were any books on Media Planning. The girl replied that she has never heard of Media Planning so I browsed the shelves. Trying to read titles on the upright books is very hard on my neck. You have to turn your face almost 90 degrees - a process not so healthy for an old man. My head was saved from being on a permanent tilt by a call from Amir. He was already in the parking lot so I left the ignorant girl and her old books and waited for Amir in front of the restaurant. Amir came soon and we went in to order our lunch. I asked for my usual tempura set while Amir chose the soba set. In some restaurants, the set is, well, set. You cannot change anything. In this particular restaurant, I asked that the chawan mushi be replaced by a salad and they did.

Memphis Belle came later just as Amir and I finished our food. We sipped our green tea and watched Belle eat. Later we moved downstairs to have our coffee ( and me , my cigarette). I introduced Hassan, the waiter from Madras whom I blogged about earlier to Belle and Amir.

We left soon after and as I was paying for my parking, I could understand why my friend Razak always used the automated parking. These people who take your ticket and money never smile. I noticed that. One particular lady made an extra effort to look grumpy. No smile, no thank you. Maybe I am expecting too much from these people who are cooped up in the small box under the hot Malaysian sun. They know I have put up with their constipated face if I want to get out of the parking lot.

The next time I will use the automated parking downstairs. At least the machine will thank me when it gets my money.


Monday, April 18, 2005

A few days ago I discovered that I could not chew well because of a loose tooth. I did not want to pull the tooth out. I do not have that many teeth left.

Later the gum swelled and I had to take some pills to reduce the swelling and to lessen the pain. The pills made me drowsy although they are not supposed to do that. The pills also upset my stomach. I think it affected my brain too, hence this posting.

If anything, learn something from my experience. Take good care of your gnashers. Visit your dentist at least once a year. I did that until my dentist migrated to Brunei. I put off getting a new dentist until I was transferred to Kuantan. A friend recommended me an established dentist and I went to get my plaque removed. Be careful when having your plaque removed. Sometimes it is the plaque that holds your teeth together. Anyway, that visit to the dentist had an impact on my teeth.

I was wincing in the dentist chair with the drill humming and screeching away when suddenly the dentist told me to spit. I spat and the drill bit came out of my mouth. Before that I read about a few cases of people swallowing drill bits. It was fortunate that I did not swallow any of the dentist's hardware.

I did not go to dentists for a long long time after that. Whatever orthodontic problems that I had, I solved by using Sansilla. Alas Sansilla was withdrawn from the market and I was forced to see a dentist. The first one was in SEA Park. He looked inside my mouth, shook his head and gravely told me that my teeth are going. I asked him, equally gravely, how much time my teeth had. That broke him in stitches. He didn't do anything except to refer me to another dentist in New Town PJ.

Anyway, do take care of your teeth while you can. While you are at it, take care of your eyes too. You can chew with false teeth but you can' t see with false eyes.


Friday, April 15, 2005
Last week I received the same joke from two people namely Wan M. and Toye. The joke is about Trengganuspeak:

There's this one family of terengganu people nak balik raye and they were stuffed into one kancil.seven of the family members all together.so the mum said,

mum: guane nih..penuh kete.dok muak ayoh mu wey!
dad: betul jugok.guane nok buak nih?lamo dok sapa kampong.
mum: tujuh oghang dokleh sumbak masuk kete kancil nih.kecik do'oh.

and then they thought and thought of the solution to their problem and how to make some space in the car. suddenly their youngest son shouted..

son: abah2,umi2,awang tau doh guane nok buak.kite skarang ade tujuh oghang.tamboh la soghang lagi. baru jadik 'lapang'...

The originator of this joke is surely not a Terengganu native. Terengganu native uses lapang for the number eight and lega for spacious ore relieved. But to Wan M. and Toye, thanks for sharing. I will give you a lapang joke in return. Warning! SX18.

Two friends met after being apart for many many years. Here's the dialog:

Ahmad : Ahmid! Alahai lama tak benar tak jumpa! Apa khabar?

Ahmid : Bolehlah! Kamu dah berapa anak? Macam mana berniaga?

Ahmad: Berniaga tak berapa bagus! anak saya sembilan! Sempit rasanya! Awak pula bagaimana?

Ahmid: Saya punya perniagaan bagus. Anak saya sorang saja. Saya rasa lapang!

Ahmad: Awak bertuah!

Ahmid: Tak, awak yang bertuah Ahmad.

Ahmad: Ha?

Ahmid: Ya, awak bertuah. 9 orang anak masih rasa sempit......


(No translation. It will get lost)


Thursday, April 14, 2005
Reading this morning's newspaper, I found out that Telekom Malaysia is going to have a rebranding exercise soon. Rebranding is good as Mac Zulkifli will always tell his clients on occasions. RTM went the rebranding way and apart from a bit of debates over RIMA, they did good.

I wish Telekom Malaysia well. I also wish and fervently hope that they can improve Screamyx, err, Streamyx. That broadband service has not been behaving well as far as I am concerned. Last night night alone, I was cut off not less than 5 times. People in the chat room must have thought I was ignoring them. Little did they know that I was experiencing chattus interruptus which is not good for the body and the mind. Thus I couldn't get my post up in time.

I do not know the reasons for the disruptions. Neither do I care. I am paying for a month's service of broadband and I expect to get a reasonable service in return. Maybe one day, I will get excellent service. Who knows. Hope lies eternal in the human breasts (with or without bra).


Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Yem, my classmate, kampung-mate, best friend and confidante goes back to Kuala Terengganu quite often. Yem is a good artist, a family trait inherited from his father Mohd Hassan Al-Qudsi or more well-known in Terengganu as Cik Mat Riau. Yem haven't painted anything in years preferring to leave the paintings to his brother Ahmad Hassan. A few years ago, Yem was introduced to digital photography and was smitten instantly. I wanted a shot of the Bukit Puteri light house and Yem obliged by sending me a cd full of pictures.

I am sharing with you a few of his pictures so that you can see that the artist in him is still there.

Mesjid Intan Zaharah, Kuala Ibai

Istana Maziah

Bukit Puteri

Photos Copyrighted 2005 by Ibrahim Sapii Mohd Hassan Al-Qudsi
All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Yesterday, in the bloggers chat room, Suanie raised her concern and displeasure at what she termed as the "anglicisation" of Bahasa Malaysia words. "Bajet" was cited as an example. I thought "belanjawan" is a good term for "budget". Some wise persons gave the reason that budget is not just "belanja" and budget covers both income and expenditure. The accountant in the room disagreed. He said "belanjawan" covers both. I had to concur because I know nuts about accounting and is doomed to facing deficits all my life.

Back to Suanie. She has a point. Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka took great pains to get the right terminology for many words in many activities, including business and finance. Even for new fields like IT, there are official words to use. Hence, there is "perisian" for software and "perkakasan" for hardware. Harddisk is "cakera padat", mouse is "tetikus" and I am typing all these on my "papan kekunci" which you all know as a keyboard.

As Suanie pointed out, not many people use the Bahasa terms. They are more comfortable with the English. We "konar" and we "gostan". We hardly "belok kiri" (or kanan). Neither do we "undur ke belakang".

Tell me why that is so.


Monday, April 11, 2005
Last week I used the taxi a lot.

On Monday, Elida and I took a cab home after a meeting at the college. I asked about my grandchildren and Elida kept me up to date on Adam and Aisya's progress in school. Aisyah is doing very well but Adam is struggling in some subjects. The taxi driver chipped in with some pointers, citing his own experience with his kids.

I guess most taxi drivers are good talkers. They comment about everything. Sometimes you get new insights from them. Most of the time they complain. This, I guess , is to balance up things because we usually complain a lot about them.

On Thursday, I sent Mimi to school by cab. The taxi driver was a silent, brooding type so I didn't bother to make any conversation. He didn't drive well either. The taxi was jerking the whole way and I was glad to be let off at Amcorp Mall.

On Friday, I had an appointment at HUKM, Cheras and took a taxi there. When we were passing through Bandar Permaisuri, I saw an old signboard designating the site of a mosque. I asked the cab driver how long has the sign been there and he gave logical reasons why the mosque is not being built yet. Taxi rides can be educational too.

On the way back, I hopped on a lime green cab driven by a jovial old man. I found out that he is as old as me. He told me he couldn't just sit around doing nothing so he drives a cab. He enlightened me on the reasons for the impending increase in taxi and bus fare. Batteries gone up, tyres gone up, petrol gone up etc etc. He then told me about his kids. He has a mixed bunch. A few are successful, some are giving him headaches. But he wasn't complaining although he confided in me that his wife complained that he is "too amorous".

Oh, my appointment was for a check up. I had to wait in the Orthopaedic Clinic. Streams of people with broken limbs trooped in. Some were in casts, some were in slings. Some got by with crutches and a few with wheel chairs. Got me thinking. If I had waited in Mimi Marina's Eye Clinic, I would have seen a lot of people with eye patches, sore eyes and such. I am glad I didn't wait in a clinic where they treat people with piles.


Friday, April 08, 2005
I noticed that some words, both in Terengganuspeak and in Standard Bahasa can be grouped according to their sound. Let us put this to test.

Take a difficult situation, literally or figuratively. Let's take sesok (BM=sesak). Sesok in Terengganuspeak has several meanings. One meaning is "very much deprived" (usually of worldly possessions like money). A destitute person is orang sesok. When you are deprived of air, you are sesok nafas. When you can't move in a place, like in cramped spaces, you are also sesok. If you are in a very crowded lift, where people are berasok-asok (pushing each other), you tend to feel very sesok. Notice that sesok and berasok rhymes. Notice too the cramped or the deprived situation.

Sesok and asok are both results of pressure. Both resulted in tightness. Things can go awry if there is too much pressure. When you asok too much, you are cramming more than is possible. Things will then go out of joint or out of whack. Terengganu people call this situation keresok (bent or out of alignment). Notice again the rhyme.

Misaligned things can be avoided if we are beraluh (careful) and not lasok (rough). When things are already reyok ( bent) nothing can be done except if they are clothes or egos. Then you can try gosok (iron or rub) to make things right.

Am I making sense or is my brain already keretok (gnarled and stunted) ?


Thursday, April 07, 2005
If you are like me, you have different perceptions of things when you are sick. You look at the same thing in a different way. You also get crankier than usual. You get less tolerant and more impatient. You tend to stay away from friends and loved ones in case you inadvertently bite their head off. Those who knows will stay away until you get better. A few that really knows you will take their chances and come close.

My good friend Razak is one of the few. I bought him lunch on Tuesday and yesterday he wanted to return the favour. Once again we found ourselves in Amcorp Mall. We decided to have lunch a few floors down this time. We have been to the place a few times, usually after Friday prayers and we didn't find anything to complain about. Yesterday I complained that the place was crowded. We couldn't find a vacant table. We had to squat at a table occupied by a couple. They didn't like their tete-a-tete eavesdropped and left after a while. Both of us didn't feel like curry so we asked for the menu. I asked for sup ekor and white rice. I also asked for kailan fried with salted fish. The waiter, Hassan from Madras, told us that kailan is not available and showed me the various nasi goreng on the menu instead. Poor Hassan got a taste of my bad temper. Razak shushed me and told Hassan to go check the availability of kailan fried with salted fish. It was available. Razak added an omellete to the order and we ordered our drinks. Both of us ordered lime juice.

Have you ever ordered air limau nipis where the lime juice is squeezed into your glass together with the seeds? Then when you suck the juice, one or more of the seeds will get lodged into the straw and your cheeks will go hollow. Have that ever happened to you? It is not very pleasant and it is avoidable. A strainer will solve the problem. How much does a strainer cost? I mean an ordinary garden variety strainer, not the classy one like in the picture above. I would say, very cheap. A mere pittance. But I guessed a strainer will strain the profit. After all, who ever complained? Will people go the extra mile?

Our meal came about an hour later and not after I went after Hassan, the waiter. We noticed that the soup was not made of oxtail but plain beef. It was Razak's turn to blow his top. The soup tasted nice though and we were too hungry to be aggrieved further. We decided to forgive that particular establishment. The manager admitted the shop's mistake and took a ringgit off the soup's price. Hassan brought the sambal belacan on the house. It went well with the omellete and two cranky old men had their lunch in relative peace.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Alhamdullillah, coupled with your prayers, I seem to get better. I had to cancel a class today though and left a date with akutakretiomputeh hanging. We were supposed to have nasi kandar together. Instead, my friend Razak drove me to a Japanese restaurant for tempura and miso soup. Yesterday my #1 daughter brought me some Boyan rice. It was strange to see a lonely large piece of fried taufoo somewhere in the rice.

Anyway, old people recover slowly. I am recovering though. Enough to be able to post this. My monitor has not recovered though. It has ceased to display anything. I have kidnapped Mimi's monitor to use until Kenny, my pc pusher bring me another monitor. I have faith in Kenny like some sick people put their faith in faith healers. Oh, there are faith-healers, even in Malaysia. There are more in other places. I read about healers in the Phillipines doing surgeries with just their bare hands. You have to have faith to believe.

There are even faith healers with their own radio shows. One old couple was listening to one such show one night. The evangelist on air urged listeners to place their hand on the afflicted part and prayers will cure the ailment. The wife put her hands on her athritic knees and she saw the husband put his hand between his legs. She let out one long sigh and then reminded the husband:
"Darling, the man said he can heal the sick. Not raise the dead"


Monday, April 04, 2005
I am not in the best of health these few days and the doctor's medicines floored me enough to prevent me from rambling as usual.

For loyal readers, I am sharing with you an audio clip of a Terengganu syair from Besut written and read by Cik Gu Pa. Maybe Atok, sangkelate or other Kelantanese -speaking friends can translate this into English or Standard Bahasa for those not familiar with the dialect.

The syair is here. Enjoy!


Friday, April 01, 2005
I am sure many of us use Google to search for information. The most relevant is usually ranked first.

How did Google do this? The secret is now out.

Click here and read and be awed at the algorithm.


When Pok Jak was a small boy, he was very shy. He was practically invisible and I rarely see him in the house whenever my father and I dropped by his house to pick up his father, Tok Penghulu Cek Ming to go hunting. Pok Jak's father was my father's faithful hunting companion although he never owned a shotgun. I guessed my father needed a short man to get around the tendrils of the jungle to retrieve wounded jungle fowls and other game.

I noticed Pok Jak again when I took my children back to Merang. The gurgling stream that Elida, Elisa, Dalia and Firhad splashed in while hunting for ikang palla putih was near Pok Jak's house. By then, Pok Jak already owned a small lorry, transporting stuffs in and out of Merang.

When tourists started to flood Merang on their way to Redang or Lang Tengah, Pok Jak already owned a boat and had the concessions to a couple of chalets. He sold the family house by the beach and built a better house further inland. He also bought a used Mercedes and became the chairman of the Fishermen's Association. Not bad for someone who did not finish secondary school. Then Pok Jak found out he got diabetes. The disease did not respond to any of the treatment that he went everywhere for. Now, it has affected his eyes. Pok Jak can no longer drive me in his Mercedes from the airport. He can barely recognizes me until I spoke to him.

Any other person would have stayed home and enjoyed the fruits of his labour. Not Pok Jak. Last week, when I stopped at Merang, I found him as usual, in a coffee shop by the jetty, waiting for tourists to come and be loaded onto his boat and sent to the chalets recommended by him. He has learnt new skills. He learned how to "feel" the worth of each paper money and he learned to recognize the sound of his boat. Pok Jak won't lie down and give up. There is no money in it.