Monday, February 27, 2006I learned about the names for the various shades of colours when I got my first set of water colours. On the tubes were names like Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna. Very much later, I was educated further when I peruse car and paint brochures where more names of colours were coined. My first Proton was "Perawan Yellow". I am still wondering which jaundiced virgin they were thinking of. I must ask fellow Terengganunese Dato' Wan Nik, the then CEO. A few Protons CEO's later, we are offered Racing Red, Midnight Blue, Apple Green and other colours while Perodua entices us with passionate Ozzie Orange, Olive Green, Glittering Silver, Ebony Black and Klasik Gold. I am sure your own car has a colour name less mundane than just red, black or white. We have come a long way since the Ford Model-T when Henry Ford told the buyers "You can have any colour you want as long as it is black!"
The people of Terengganu, though as passionate as any Myvi buyers are somewhat down to earth when naming the shades of colours. They use nature as a common reference. Whenever necessary, the shades of green are distinguished by ija palla itik (duck head green) and the lighter ija pucuk pisang (the light green of the young banana leaf). Whatever shade of green in between is of no consequence whatsoever and thus unspoken. Political development in the state added another shade to green. Now we have PAS Green.
In Terengganu, red is either meroh daroh ikang (red of the fish blood) or meroh jambu. Others might call the Piscean red maroon, port or even Dunhill Red. Terengganu being a fish producer would have seen a lot of fish being cut and bled to make this particular shade of red easily understood. There is no record whatsoever to back up the claim that meroh daroh ikang was coined after menstruating mackerels. The other red, very much lighter in colour is meroh jambu after the Malaysian Water Apple (Eugenia aquea) that you find in some salads or rojak.
Look at the succulent pink fruits. Now you know why some young people are described as jambus. Incidently, pink is also called meroh samor in Terengganu. As for traffic light red, I have no idea what red it is in Terengganu. I only know that people stop when they see it.
Blue is a colour that is quite ambigous in Terengganu except biru nila. Nila is ultramarine used in laundries. Nila is a true-blue blue. Other than that the definition of blue will give the colour purists the blues. Biru butir stor (stor rhymes with "store") is actually more to the purple side although not as much as biru bunga kedudok (senduduk). Even biru air laut can cause trouble. Depending on where the sea water is and the time of the day, the sea can be turquoise or blue or even green. In fact there is a colour called sea green. Confusions between blue and green might be the reason for the change in government in the state.
Finally, we have yellow. The various shades of yellow are kuning kunyit (turmeric), kuning bata (bricks or tiles), kuning lemok ketang ( another confusion over crab roes ) and kuning raja (Royal Yellow). There is also kuning taik minyok after the solids at the bottom of the pot when you make coconut oil. I shall leave other kuning and kelabu to Derumo and other commentators. Before I leave, I just want to ask the question again: What is brown called before cocoa and chocolate came to Terengganu? Chew on that.
Earlier Colours of Terengganu here.