Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


(Gloatingly) Guane gamok Pok Yeh? Nok sepapang lagi?
(Sighing) Takmboh doh. Sepuloh papang doh kita maing, se habok dak menang. Rokok pong habih doh.
Isap rokok saya lah! (Proffering his pack of cigarettes)
(Taking and looking at the pack) Ning rokok hanyut ning! Ada lagi?
Takut nok jua. Saya sipang, isap sediri.
(Lighting a cigarette) Takut apa gok? Siapa dia nok mari igak. Orang Kijal gandeng penyu pong orang dak igat lagi.
Gandeng penyu dossa, tapi kalu ikut undang-undang dak saloh.
Bakpe dak saloh nya? Tembok rima saloh, tembok rusa dak kena museng pong saloh jugok. Tembok babi tungga baru dak saloh.
Tau. Tapi penyu hok kena bunuh di Kija tu bukang Penyu Belimbing.
Kalu bukang penyu belimbing, buleh bunuh ke?
Bukang gitu Pok Yeh.
Doh tu?
Undang-undang le ni kata, saloh bunuh Penyu Belimbing saja. Penyu lain kena tunggu kerajaang pinda undang-undang lah.
Guane yang jadi gittu? Penyu lain bukang penyu ke?
Penyu jugok Pok Yeh weh, tapi hok nok pupuh Penyu Belimbing je.
Ye ke ni Deng? Dulu, Merang ning, banyok jugok penyu naik. Dak ingat doh penyu belimbing ke, penyu agah ke tapi banyoklah. Le ning tadok doh.
Dulu lain Pok Yeh. Orang dak rama, Chalet tadok........
Mung dak sedih ke dengo penyu kena bunuh ni Deng?
Sedih jugok Pok Yeh Weh.....
Basa penyu bodo! Yang gi masuk pukat orang tu bejadoh apa?
Eh, jangang kata penyu bodo Pok Yeh!
Pok Yeh tau dak, anok penyu panda daripada anok manusia..
Panda guane? Buleh 9 A ke?
(Laughing) Acu Pok Yeh piker. Anak manusia tubek tubek je, panda menangih je. Hok lain dak panda..
Anok penyu dak panda menangih pong..
Betul tu. Tapi anok penyu bila keluo dari telor dia tau mana nok gi.
Dia gi duane?
Tengok anak penyu di Rata Abang. Bila dia keluo je dari telor, dia panda hala ke laut. Dia dak gi hala ke darat, hala ke jalang nu..
Kalu dia gi hala ke jalang, kena lenyek ke lori ikang lah......
Tu yang saya kata dia panda. Mok bapak penyu pulok jarang sesat.
Guane tu?
Penyu ni bejalang merata dunia, dak sesat. Bila sapa masa nak tello, dia hungga mari dari Lautan Pasifik ke, Pulau Hawaii ke, dia balik tello di Malaysia ning. Dia dak sesat.
Panda, panda. Pok Yeh kalu tohok di Kuatang, kalu sorang diri dak reti nok balik doh.

(Running out of airtime. To be continued in the next post. Subtitles will only be added during post-production. Apologies to non-Trengganuspeak speakers)


Monday, March 27, 2006
Last weekend, mechanical things drove me nuts. Electronic stuffs, like my computer misbehaved too. On Sunday, my less-than-6 month-old desktop refused to power on. I have to wait for Farris, the bidan to come back from Alor Setar and see what is wrong with his baby.

In the meantime, I have to look for a nut. The nut is part of the propeller of Adam's radio-controlled boat. Adam is my oldest grandson. I got the boat for his birthday last week and he was anxious to try it out. So last Saturday we all had breakfast at a kopitiam in Taman Tun before proceeding to the lake in Taman Tun's taman.

The boat attracted a lot of curious onlookers but we could not get it to move. The remote control unit did not light up in spite of being fed with new batteries. Since I had to rush for a meeting at 10 am, I persuaded Adam to go home first and try starting the boat with his plane's remote control. I knew that the frequency is different but grandfathers can be desperate sometimes.

When I saw Adam before lunch, he got the remote control working. He took the battery holder from his plane's remote control and slotted it in the boat's r/c unit. I asked him to demonstrate. I pushed the boat's propellers in the water of Adam's mother's pasu (earthen jar) and he proudly twiddled with the remote control to make the motors roar. It also made one of the plastic propellers break.

Adam consoled me by telling me that there are spare propellers and he promptly produced them. We could not get the broken propeller off and everyone was hungry so we decided to bring the boat along to where we were going to have lunch. We decided to have lunch at the Curve. Adam was anxious to look for a hobby shop to fix his boat. He did not finish his Little Penang fried rice. There was not even a single hobby shop in the Curve. Neither could we find any in Ikano Power Center. When the mothers went shopping, Adam, Aisya, Aliya and I went to the car. I managed to figure out how to remove the nut, remove the broken propeller and replace the spare.

When we got to the lake, the boat drew curious looks. Adam put the boat in the water and the grandfather started the motor. It worked but the boat would not move forward. Even though Adam did not understand the word gostan ( he had to ask him mom), he could see that his boat reversed (go astern - thats where gostan came from) very well. I thought that the family curse struck again. Years ago, when my father bought me an electric boat, it kept going backward too. My father wanted to bring the boat to Haji Nafis, his goldsmith friend to reweld the props. Before he did that I fiddled with the batteries and somehow managed to make the boat go forward. This time, the polarity of the battery could not be faulted. The plug connecting the rechargeable battery to the motor was built in such a way that it is impossible to switch polarity. I thought about Haji Nafis and told Adam to get the pliers from the car.

The boat has 2 propellers. We replaced the wrong one. We got the right propeller fixed and the boat went like a dream. Ok, a noisy dream. After a while I told Adam to bring the boat up because I noticed something was wrong. True enough, the nut holding the propeller fell off into the murky water of TTDI Lake. I was sure that the nut holding the bicycle spoke would be a very good replacement. A quick visit to the cycle shop in Taman Tun proved me worng. Nuts nowadays are way too small. The nice cycle shop owner told me to try the hardware shops. No luck in the hardware shop in TTDI. I have to try looking for the nuts on Monday.

I just hope that I won't go nuts.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Thanks to CETONG who suggested this post.

I am in a hurry this morning because I am a guest on Nasional FM as part of RTM's 60th Anniversary celebration. So much for their good taste.

I have read somewhere that there are separate taste buds on our tongue. Different buds for different tastes. Each taste bud is actually a cluster of 100 specialized cells and taste buds live only for 10 days each. Young people can have up to 10,000 taste buds. They diminish by the age of 45. Old people like me have only about 6,500 taste buds although we would still be able to distinguish tastes that touch our tongue.

Somehow,in Terengganu, the tongue does not feature prominently as far as tastes are concerned. People who do not have a discerning taste in food are labelled tadok tekok (no throat) instead of tadok lidah (no tongue).

Putting aside the usual tastes that food should not be like tawo hebe lembor (bland), pahit leppang koang (bitter), massang rebang or massang purreet (sour) and manih letteng (sweet), there are two words that cooks would not like to hear their dishes described. One is cegho (also cegho begho) which rhymes with the English "raw" and the other is lecah where the ah is nasalised a bit.

Cegho and lecah are usually used to describe liquids such as soups, curries and gravies. Cegho is when the stuff is too thin to pass as whatever it is supposed to be. A cup of coffee can be cegho when there isn't enough coffee in it. Ditto for very thin curry that looks (and tastes) undernourished because it is not fortified with enough santan (coconut cream) to give it a decent body. I am willing to bet my last bit of kepala santan that you, in the course of your culinary journey, came across cegho stuffs at least once. It would be more if you are the babel (stubborn) kind and keep going to bad eateries.

Now we come to lecah. Lecah is not to be confused with lecoh. Lecoh is usually used to describe a ground (or other real estate) that is squishy wet but not flooded. When it is flooded, it is no longer lecoh. Lecah is when the taste is not easily defined. It is not salty, it is not spicy, it is not sweet and it is not even tawo. It is nothing like it is supposed to be. It is a cook's ultimate disgrace. Most of the time my blog posts are very lecah. They are only good for people who tadok tekok.

I shall go now and leave other tastes like pedo and maung to Derumo and other readers to explain.


Friday, March 17, 2006
I did not have a proper breakfast yesterday. I could only manage a cup of coffee in the morning. By the time I thought I had an appetite and found an eating place, I could not find anything appetising. Worse, I was already luga.
Luga ( pronounced loo-ga and rhymes with the Spanish La Liga) is Terengganuspeak for the nauseating feeling you get when you ate the wrong thing on an empty stomach. You also get luga when you eat the right thing at the wrong time, like a few hours late. To really experience luga, Pok Li, my childhood friend and fishing kaki recommends eating buoh bruah (bruas, garcina hombroniana) on an empty stomach.
Luga is also used to describe a state of disappointment. Literally, it involves an empty stomach. Figuratively, empty hands. Nausea is optional I guess. Thus, as I sat in front of my TVwatching the Commonwealth Games first Women Hockey match, throwing up gases, I was wondering which team will go home luga. The Malaysian team is ranked behind Nigeria but our girls won 4-0. The commentators for that match got our girls name right but, alas, the on-screen graphic changed their sex. The goal-scorers was shown as Hashim Nurfarah, Abdul Rahman Nadia and Arumugam Kanaggi. There wasn't even a comma to right things. I guess western organisers have yet to learn about our name system.
Have a nice weekend and May you never experience luga, in any way.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006
This post is in response to a request by Cek Na who commented in my Sitting Pretty post.
Cek Na, who should not be confused with Nina my daughter-in-law, asked about the word songo and songo hamlo.

I have never heard of the word songo hamlo although songo by itself is quite familiar. Maybe Derumo or any other Terengganu native can enlighten us. Songo is an adjective to describe a particular behaviour or attitude. If Tengku Aiman Naim (above) were to do what he did in the picture to anyone else other than the indulgent members of his family like his grandfather, he would be called songo. The closest English word for songo that I can think of is "cheeky". Naim is not the cheeky type, but he can be anything for the camera.
In olden Terengganu where children were to be seen and not heard and expected to behave with a certain decorum, songo borders on rude and punished with a rebuke. The rebuke can either be gentle or otherwise, depending on the gravity of the songo-ness.
You can be forgiven if you have not heard of songo before. Values change. Children nowadays are encouraged to express themselves more than their parents were allowed to. What might be called songo before would be considered cute now.
I have no idea where songo came from. I do not think it is remotely associated with any of the Wali Songo. There is a lake called Songor in Africa which I heard is dying. I do not think the word comes from there because we in Terengganu knew about Africa only after the arrival of Tarzan movies. I would appreciate any illumination on songo's etymology.
Songo reminds me of bango which cannot not stand by itself. Bango, in Terengganuspeak have to follow bising or busuk. Thus we have bising bangor which means a great big din. One day, when all 11 of my grandchildren get together in one room bising bangor will be audibly clear. If the younger ones were to poop all at the same time, the whole room will be rendered busuk bangor.
My grandchildren's paternal great grandmother used to amuse me with a ditty:

Perok, Kedoh, Selangor
Berok, sudoh, busuk bangor.

Now you know where I got my warped sense of humour.

Naim in a non-songo pose.


Monday, March 13, 2006
I wanted to give Saturday's Anugerah Seri Angkasa a miss but Mimi wanted to feel the ambience of being among the VIPs. She would probably write about her enchanted evening in her blog sometime soon.
There were many awards that night some would dispute. I shall not go into that, more so because there are many of friends in the jury. There were a few decisions that gladenned my old hardened heart. Among them was the choice of V.Prema as the Best Radio DJ. The fact that she can beat even the Malay djs speaks volumes for her command of the National Language and her mastery of the art of chattering. Prema can even effortlessly remind her Muslim listeners to do the solat and at times automatically responded to a caller's salam with a sincere "Walikumsalam!" Sometimes listeners forget that Prema is not a Muslim. This of course does not make Prema less Malaysian. Well done girl! I can imagine her usually quiet and reserved husband smiling a little bit.
I have personal reasons to agree wholeheartedly with the choice of Wan Hanafi Su as the Best TV Drama Actor even though I seldom watch Malay TV dramas. I do know that Napi is a good actor and would be in the same circle as my friend Ahmad Yatim, Khalid Salleh and other accomplished actors. Napi's family is part of my extended family. I call his father, the famous wood carver Tok Su.
The only choice of the evening that no one would dare dispute would be the award for Broadcast Personality of Year. Tan Sri Dol Ramli totally deserves this award just as he deserved the numerous other recognitions earlier. He was a broadcaster's broadcaster and a fine human being to boot. I did not have the honour to serve under him as I joined RTM after he was no longer the Director General. I do know though that he was the composer for the song "Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa" that I sang endlessly as a school boy. Tan Sri Dol Ramli is the only broadcaster alive that was at all the places in the history of RTM. He started in Caldecott Hill, Singapore, came to KL (Young Road and Federal House) and retired in the complex that he helped to create - Angkasapuri. Tan Sri also had a hand in the creation of the Asian Broadcasting Union as well as the Asian Institute of Broadcasting Development. After retirement, Tan Sri Dol Ramli headed BERNAMA and later worked for UMW as Head of Corporate Communications when, in his own words "I had to deliver big birthday cakes to sultans." Tan Sri Dol Ramli is a director of many companies and was active in many voluntary organisations such as the Historical Society. He is still the Adviser to the Persatuan Veteran RTM. For an association that does not collect monthly (or even annual) subscription, PVRTM survives on the annual dividend from Amanah Saham Mara that Tan Sri Dol transferred to the association.
A few days after he was awarded Panglima Setia Mahkota last year, a few of the veterans visited Tan Sri Dol Ramli's house in Bukit Ampang. He already had difficulties moving about because of a torn cartilage. Note the walker in the snapshot (taken with my Zire71 PDA) below.

That evening I had a peek at the genius of the man. He was telling us how RTM, especially Suara Malaysia countered Indonesia's salvos of psy-war during Confrontation. One of the rumors spread by the Indonesian media was that we were running short of butter. Why butter? I did not ask because I did not want to interupt. Tan Sri did not ask radio announcers to say that the rumours were not true. He did something more subtle. He instructed Siti Hawa Majid or one of the other Women's Programme producers (he wasn't sure, can Nurfarahin confirm?) to air recipes that use a lot of butter.
Tan Sri Dol Ramli penned his experiences of his broadcasting life as articles in the occasional newsletter of PVRTM. I hope the then Editor, Zulkarnain Hassan still have them in safe custody. They are valuable insights that might not be available from the current crop of broadcasters. Tan Sri Dol graduated from Universtity Malaya, Singapore not with a degree in Boradcasting or Communication but he did an excellent job as a broadcaster and communicator.
I wonder how he would handle the communication on the current fuel crisis.


Friday, March 10, 2006
As I was sitting down on my sofa waiting for Joe, the Astro guy to finish recabling my dish, a few Terengganu words flitted across my mind. They were not swear words even though the cable thief/thieves made many people spent more than RM200 to get back Astro signals. The thief/thieves hit several floors of the apartment. At least I knew it wasn't personal.

The words that teased my memory were cokkoh, cokeh, cekoh and cekok. For the life of me, I could not find the definition of cokkoh. I have heard of sentences like
Mok Wang dudok cokkoh tepi pata tunggu Pok Wang balik.
(Mok Wang sits on the beach waiting for Pok Wang to come home)
Sema orang kata Pok Wang mati bahang ribut tengoh laut tapi bila Mok Wang buka pitu esoknye, dia tengok Pok Wang cokkoh muka pitu.
(Everybody thought Pok Wang drowned in a storm at sea but when Mok Wang opened the door the following day, there was Pok Wang.)
So cokkoh might not be just how you sit like duduk congok or congok angok. Cattok is pretty clear though. Cattok is sitting on your haunches. A baby's progress is measured when the proud mother announced that "Semek boleh duduk cattok doh!" (She can sit up already!). If you reboh cattok, you fall down on your bum. Cattok is also used to describe a lady's perky breasts. Derumo will elaborate. This is something he can sink his teeth into.

Cokkoh somehow brought me to cokeh. Cokeh is to pry something like a loose floorboard although you can cokeh gigi (pick your teeth) too. If you ever play Terengganu Scrabble (there isn't one yet) you can transpose the tiles so that cokeh becomes cekoh. Cekoh is also prying but prying open this time. So you cekoh deriang (durian) or some other tough fruits. Silat (Malay art of self-defence) exponents would learn how to cekoh a lock or kilah by prying open the opponent's fingers or his jaw, whichever is more convenient. Of course everyone must know not to fight out of one's league or class. If you do, Terengganu speakers will say "dok makang cekok", literally not within your grasp.

If you do not grasp today's lesson, fret not. You might not need all those words whenever you are in Terengganu. If you are a durian aficionado and buying durian from a lady vendor, do remember the word cekoh if you want her to open the durian. Never under any circumstances ask for kopek, the standard word for opening or peeling fruits. However cattok her kopeks are, please restrain yourself.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Yesterday at 8.00 pm when I wanted to watch the news on TV, I could only get "SERVICE NOT AVAILABLE " on my screen. It was raining then and I accepted the high-tech nature of ASTRO.

When the rain stopped and I still could not get any program, I checked everything inside the house. Then I checked outside the house. I found about 10 feet of the cable missing. It was cut from the dish on one end and the other right at my front door.

How much can you get for a 10 ft cable?


Monday, March 06, 2006
It rained heavily in Kuala Lumpur last night. After picking up Mimi at ACTS Studio we decided to try the newest restaurant at the end of Plaza Damansara. It has a basement carpark (1 ringgit per entry). There were two slots at the carpark outside but theywere reserved for handicapped people. This did not stop a family from parking there. I guessed theye were handicapped in someway or the other.
Chef & Brew has a very spacious dining area. We loved the ambience despite the half-flooded floor. The hailam mee was perfect and not soggy or flooded by gravy. The sizzling fish steak that I had was nice. They tied a bib on me. Mimi was a bit disappointed that she didn't get her Earl Grey tea. They brought Lipton instead. I was disappointed because I could not get any of the coffee on the menu. I guessed they have teething troubles. Anyway, prices were reasonable. Dinner for 3 came up to just under RM50. We didn't stay long to complain because I thought The Academy Awards was on. It wasn't. I got confused by the International Dateline. I caught it this morning. It is is still on when I am writing this.
The Countdown started at 7.30 am with interviews on the read carpet outside Kodak Theatre. They had 4 stand uppers. None, in my opinion, was outstanding. The Awards proper started at 9.00 am Malaysian Time. I liked the opening montage and the short skits featuring people who declined to be this year's host. The job went to Jon Stewart who tried his best. Somehow I preferred Billy Crystal.
The live broadcast was spoilt in the first hour on the Malaysian side (Star Movies - Astro Channel 42) when commercials and promos had the wrong audio. Monday Blues probably. I shall not spoil your enjoyment of the show that you can watch tonight by not telling you who won. I was a bit shocked to know that "Its Hot Out Here For a Pimp" (from Hustle & Flow) was featured. Pimps are legitimate now? Maybe Jon Stewart was right when he mentioned on the show that "Pimps are like agents. Only they have better hats." The Best Picture was a picture that I liked even before I knew it was up for nomination.
If you like movies, watch the show tonight.


Friday, March 03, 2006
You can rave and rant until you foam at the mouth but there is nothing you can do about the price hike of petrol and diesel. So, you must learn how to maximise your tank of fuel. You must drive more efficiently. If you do not know how, here are some tips:
1. Drive Sensibly - The late Ahmad Daud (Ogy's dad) used to say "Steadylah beb!" Driving steadily without speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower fuel consumption by 33% on the highway and 5% in town. Of course sensible driving will reduce accidents and you save money on compensating for dented fenders and broken tail lights.
2. Keep To The Speed Limit- Your car wil consume more fuel at speeds exceeding 60 mph/96.56 kmh. Speeding tickets are also expensive. Use the money to fill up instead.
3. Get Rid of Extra Weight -No, I don't mean dumping your mother-in-law at the next R & R although it will make your car lighter since your wife will leave too. Anything heavy in the car that is unnecessary should be left behind. The boat on the roof, bags of rice that you meant to give to the mosque but havent got around to doing yet, you know what I mean. An extra 100 pounds (45.36 kg) will reduce the mileage by 2%. Smaller cars will be affected more.
4.Do not Idle- Some people start their car and let the engine idle for a while to warm the engine. Some press the pedal because they love to hear the vroom-vroom of the engine and/or irritate the neighbours. Idling the engine wil get you 0 miles/kilometers to the gallon/litre. Get the car moving. Warm the engine while you are on your way. Idle minds and idle hands are dangerous. Idle engines waste fuel.
5. Switch Off Your Engine - Unless you are driving a getaway car you should switch off the engine when you stop the car for a considerable amount of time.
6.Keep The Car Tip Top - A well maintained car will maximise fuel usage. Replace air-filters regularly. Use recommended engine oil. A wrong grade of engine oil affects fuel consumption.
7. Make Sure Tyres Have Enough Air - Underinflated tyres not only will shorten their life but will increase fuel consumption. Take the time to check your tyre pressure. Do not forget the spare tyre (the car's, not yours).
8. Use The Proper Gear - Most manual cars have 5 speed gears. Use the higher gear as much as you can without straining (some say "knocking") the car. A car travelling at 37 mph in 3rd gear uses 25 % more fuel than at the same speed in 5th gear.
9. Plan Your Trips -Plan whatever you want to do with your car so you can maximise fuel consumption. Without a plan, you might end up going to the same place more than once or drive haphazardly. Friends and relatives from Terengganu not familiar with KL roads must be sure where to turn. Sometimes U -turns in KL are few and far between.. Going round and round MRR2 will not be fuel efficient. If you are married, train your spouse to make up his/her mind or get a bicycle.

You are welcomed to add and share your own tips.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006
As far as I can remember, "brown" is always warna koko or cukelat. Perang ( pay-rung) is never heard of. Perang the clash is always pronounced pperang with the syahdu or else it will be taken as the standard equivalent of peram - to keep something quite for a time. This is something like the process of making 100 year-old eggs or when they KIV some important files.

This is of course quite intriguing because I am sure there were plenty of brown things in nature. Were they never spoken of, colour-wise, in Terengganu? Sawo matang is not a Terengganu word. We call sawo (the fruit) ciku.The Kelantanese call it something else. It was sawo nilo I think. So why is brown cukelat or koko? To add to the confusion, cukelat in Terengganu is sweets as in cukelat angin (mint) or Terengganu's own cukelat nissang (the toffee-like sweets made from coconut palm sugar). So chocolates must have been introduced long enough to find a way into the language. Cocoa, as Derumo pointed out in his comment came later. It first came in tins to shops like Kedai Bbunga or Kedai M.Shariff. Cocoa was later cultivated in Jerangau. We used to see the Mat Salleh manager in town, looking a bit lost.

Incidently, since cukelat is sweets in Terengganu, chocolates like Cadbury's are called cukelat koko. Go figure.