Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Wednesday, February 18, 2009
(Click PLAY to listen to the blog. Excuse the reader who still has no teeth)

For want of a better subject, we will start at the top with the head. Why? Well, why not? In good times and in bad times, we need to keep our head. There is nothing worse than losing one's head. Ask those who lost theirs in the French Revolution or the revolting people in front of Istana Bukit Chandan recently.

The standard Bahasa Malaysia word for head is kepala. The economical Terengganu speakers use pala. Pala is for the thing at the topmost of your neck where your hair grows (or not growing, as the case may be). Pala as in kepala is both for the physical head and idiomatic head. Thus when Terengganu speakers speak of pala botok they are referring to a shiny bald pate or a head with a bald patch. There is a ditty that rude children of Terengganu used to chorus:

Ayang ketok bawoh rumoh Pala botok sama tengoh
Roughly translated
The hen cackles under the house
The round bald patch is right in the middle
(If you have time on your hand, translate the ditty so that it ryhmes.)

Like gangs anywhere else, those children would have a leader. Shocked and disappointed Terengganu parents would call the ring leader pala haliang. I have yet to be told of the meaning of haliang. Perhaps Mek Yang in faraway Big Apple could tell me the next time she honours this blog with a visit.

Like the Bahasa Malaysia kepala angin ( a temperamental person), Terengganu speakers also use pala to describe the attitude or demeanour of certain characters in their midst. Thus we have pala masang (literally sour head) and pala pengat (literally gruel head).

I have been called on ocassions pala anging (kepala angin) and for the shallowness of my blogs, an airhead (head full of air, no brain). So far, nobody has called me pala masang. Pala masang is someone who is angry at everything and everyone often without valid reasons. Like a bad battery, a pala masang person is all negative. So probably we can translate pala masang as "sore head". Pala pengat is something worse. A pala pengat person, I have been told, is quick-tempered and might slap or hit you for the flimsiest of reason. My maternal grandmother, a Kelantanese-speaker would call this type of person gedebe. You will find pala masang and pala pengat characters in any group. My fervent hope is that there is one pala pengat person among the supporters of Eli Wong. I met Eli at a bloggers gathering and I would never think of Eli as a bad person, whatever you think "bad" is. I agree that she has done nothing wrong. We all trusted someone at some point or other. To betray someone is wrong. To be betrayed and to have your privacy violated is horrendous. So if there is a pala pengat person among Eli's friends, go find the low-life who violated her trust and her privacy and shove the camera phone up where the sun doesn't shine.

For hyprocritical politicians who bayed for Eli Wong's resignation, I, who have allegiance to no party have only this for you:
pala korrok mung

Go translate that.

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