On Trengganuspeak and the Spirit of Trengganu

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peace & Goodwill to All

A Happy Christmas to my Christian readers...

And a Happy New Year to One And All:

1st January 2009

1 Muharram 1430

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An Old Trengganu Song

The New year is approaching fast, and the footwear’s a little worn. Time to sing an old Trengganu children’s song about a pair of shoes, seen on the feet of an old dandy when war began (the second one) and still laced to his feet when the Japanese Occupation came to an end (“Sapa Jepung ngakku kalöh”). Throw them away, they urged him, but the old pair of shoes — like old soldiers — refused to die but was beginning to smell that way. They kept reminding him, its trims are in tatters (“Ttepi dia gelèbèk nyèng”) and you hadn’t realised that you had holes in your soles until you stepped on some dog poo (“Bila ppijök tahi anjing”). Do the Trengganu thing, they told him, Gilah tohok ddalang rök, go and hurl them in the bush (rök). Time then to sing this song yet again, in these sad, malodorous times. All together now...Shoes in Bush

Ttepi dia gelèbèk nyèng
Bbau dia busuk hapök
Nök siyèk takdök rèng
Gilah tohok ddalang rök.

Paka so’mö siang malang
Hujang ribut, panah ddering
Tapök pong döh ada lubang
Jjirék paku ppanggong Mak Ming

Döh nök wak guane setarang
Dok paka lama ddö’öh
Dari jamang belong perang
Sapa Jepung ngakku kalöh

Masa jjalng keték kkasut
Habis tumit méröh mmerang
Jatoh jerebak nnelah lutut
Ssèpak batu ttengöh jalang

Kasut tu lah paka sapa le ning
Dök wak èk siang malang
Bila ppijök tahi anjing
Barulah sedör tapök belubang

Lepah Jema’ak satu hari
Abih orang mung tömöh
Kasut mung kena curi
Rupanya lekat ttepi kölöh

Sapa döh bbau busuk ko’ong
Dök léh lah mung dok ök
Bawök kasut tu ambe tolong
Tohok buang ddalang rök .

Illustration courtesy of

Thanks Naz for being such an early bird! [See Comments, below] I suggest we sing it to the tune of P.Ramlee's "Direnjis Renjis Dipilis", sung here by a remarkable guy:

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Friday, December 12, 2008

A Book of Practical GUiT Redux

As you know, you can’t beat a Trengganu stick (or goats). And thanks to all of you who wrote in to comment on A Book of Practical GUiT . We’ve all been amused by the plight of R in Brazil and his little dog. After his last report, R tried to re-invent Trengganu technology (but it didn’t work), so he made a slight modification to it. Here’s his latest update:
”After spending a small fortune increasing the height of the wall to ensure our little dog didn't escape in to the neighbours' garden, we were horrified to be woken up by barking and crying coming from the garden at about 3 a.m. So armed with a torch I went out to see what was happening, and was amazed to find that the little pest was up our peach tree, presumable chasing bats or other creatures that eat our peaches at night. He had his rear legs on one branch and his front legs on another and had discovered that he had stretched too far and couldn't go forward or back without plummeting out of the tree, so he had decided to call for help. As he was well above my reach I had to go and get the ladder (remember this was three in the morning), and I managed to reach him and bring him down. I put him on the ground and went to take the ladder back, when I returned I found him half way up the tree again. This time I could reach him without any artificial aids and I locked him away for the rest of the night.Success
“The following day we made the peach tree unclimable with the aid of some strategically placed wire. But sadly the next night we were again awaken in the early hours by the same barking and crying. This time we discovered that the pest had made it over another two metre high wall and on to the street outside, but after discovering that he couldn't get back inside, he decided once again to wake up the entire neighbourhood and us. We were at our wits end and it looked as if we were going to have to spend another, bigger, small fortune increasing the height of the other three walls. So we decided to look for alternative methods again, in the photograph entitled "Failure" [above] you can see something we tried, at the suggestion of our gardener, but later in the day a neighbour informed us that "your little dog is running about on the street with a strange green thing around his neck". So in desperation we revisited the "Trengganu Solution", with a few local adaptations, as can be seen in the photograph entitled "Success" [below]. We (and our neighbours) have now had 48 hours of peace and quiet during which time Ze, for that is his name, has stayed within the boundaries of our garden. Our gardener now calls him "Ze de pau" which roughly translated means "Ze with the stick" (I was thinking of calling him "Sherpa Ze"). The pest appears to have adapted to this thing and is living his life happily and, more importantly, we are able to sleep at night again.”

Thanks R, and thanks Ze avec le stick!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Eid Mubarak

A blessed Eid al Adha to all Muslimin and Muslimah.

Friday, December 05, 2008

21. How to...Beratang

In these credit-crunchy times it is important to beratang, something we’ve probably forgotten in these Me-times of the Me-generation and the growth of the individualistic, also known in Trengganuspeak as jamang aku-mung. Beratang can be used in many areas of life, as in beratang kereta (car-sharing), and beratang gatéh if your transport of choice is a tandem and the pedal-power is shared by you both. You can also beratang your efforts to make light work, as in beratang rèng or to increase its effect, as in beratang tumbok when two or more people get together to knock the daylights from say a shoplifter caught in the act.

In days when Cik Kalèh ruled the roads, you could not beratang his tèksi (i.e. a Trengganu trickshaw) with your mates and, like the Three Musketeers, pay one fare for all because you were all going to Kolang. But as the Kalèh transport was probably the only one in town that had an early version of the muzak — a transistor radio dangling on the handlebar — you could all beratang dengör (listen together) the latest version of the Trengganu hip-hop (rödat).

Though you can eat your food with someone who is without, and whilst the cost of a desired object can be spread, beratang is more a togetherness word than a burden spread. You can all eat together from one plate just as you can all watch together from the sideline (beratang keléh) as someone is knocked senseless by another in the crowd.

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