On Trengganuspeak and the Spirit of Trengganu

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Man of Röjök

At the water's edge, by the long pathway of concrete that jutted into the harbour, was the kitchen of Pök Déh under a canopy of corrugated metal sheets. Pök Déh clanged on the metal kuali with his metal stirrer, and through the fire and smoke came the throat-tickling aroma of chilli in the air, and tiny cubes of meat basting in coconut oil and browning shallots.

Klang-klang-klang! Pök Déh would call the customers on his kuali, worn at the edges by his constant beats and coated with the flavours of dishes that came together in the heat, embedded in layers of oil in the kuali, of flavours fossilised from dishes past.

There was art in the kuali of Pök Déh; first a sweep of water over the greasy crust, then, as it vapourised over the charcoal heat, a dose of oil followed, just when the heat was right, by squid or meat and some concoction from a clay pot that raised the steam and – wait for it – the sizzling noise of the combined ingredients as they hissed their voices out in applause, the ddesèr of the kuali as we say it in Trengganuspeak.

There was little that I knew of the private life of Pök Déh or Abdul Kadir as he was named in his land of birth. He did not appear among the Tanjong Mappalaikuppam crowd, nor at the canteen for diaspora Tamils run by our Pök Kör (Abu Bakar) in their Tanjong hub, but Pök Déh appeared without fail when the noon-day sun rose above the head, to prop the shutters up around his röjök stall and dust the seats and klang his kuali to the delight of his discerning crowd.

He drew his customers from the General Post Office that stood at the foot of the hill, and from the Department of Customs and Excise, and the boatmen who rowed their boats into the water before letting them go on wind-power as their sails unfurled their full patchwork of flour bags. This same wind also blew Pök Déh's flavoursome smells into the nostrils of wayfarers and the passing trade who stopped, if only for the breathtakingly sweet tèh tarék.

Pök Déh was master of the flagship dish of his people, the Mee Mamak, of noodles fried in spices and seafood or meat to the accompaniment of much ritualistic clanging of the kuali to bring out the flavours that soon dispersed into a cloud that stung the eyes as to make adults weep. True Mee Mamak is only slightly moist, sometimes embellished with hints of tiny bits of nuts, and eaten in a ha-ha chorus, not in laughter but in an appreciative sigh because the chilli was very hot. In Trengganu we were both mee and röjök people, and the jurymen had decided that our Pök Déh was for us in Kuala Trengganu, Pök Déh Röjök.

Röjök was a delicate operation that Pök Déh executed with alacrity and no small measure of delight. This was basically a chopping operation (with his heavy cleaver) of pre-cooked ingredients of cow's lung and, tofu (fried) and cucumber and a root called sengkuang (jicama; yam bean; Pachyrhizus erosus ) that gave the röjök a crunchiness that was a change from the sponginess of the fried lung and the bready taste of the fried floury blobs. Dah-dah-dah-datt... went the woodpecker noise of Pok Deh's cleaver over the cutting slab, and then the heap, all sliced, is pushed into a plate before Pök Déh dunked a heap of noodles in a wire-mesh dunker into the cauldron of boiling water. When the noodles and the chopped up röjök articles laid in a promiscuous mix in a deep plate, Pök Déh pulled open the lid of another pot bubbling quietly over the fire; and with an artistic sweep he brought the kuöh (sauce) in a ladle onto the heap.

People who know will tell you that it was the kuöh that made Pök Déh's röjök, and there are many now walking about who will give up their favourite TV programmes to be able to go back to that shed where Pök Déh klanged into the night and made that delightful noise that woodpeckers made.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Notes From Elsewhere

I am out in the sun in the Quaker's (yes, the people who gave us the Oats) Garden of Peace reading a book by Diana Athill and munching now and then on some short sticks called, inapproprately, Prawn Roll. In my backpack beside me on the Quaker bench are kuih bahulu filled with a smidgen of Blueberry; pineapple tarts; and a load of other things that have made my back creak with stuff and the weight of years.

The air is warm, there are lawn mowers whirring, and a bevy of policemen and women have just come out from the back of the garden to peek into particular spots, and the Quaker café in the building is serving Fairtrade tea. Are the fuzz on the scent of the dried prawns in my 'rolls' that smell to them like something exotic?

This is a fascinating part of London, but alas, I don't stop here very often. Not a mile from here is the British Library already seriously running out of storage space in its gleaming new building, and then there's the new Eurostar terminal over there, built, like most transport terminals nowadays, as a retailing outlet. Even closer to me is the Wellcome Museum which now has a display in its plateglass window a long message that begins: Only one in ten of the cells in our body is human. The rest are microbes and symbiotic organisms*. I don't know if I should be proud or alarmed, but it does remind me of an old joke in the Beano (or Dandy) about a bicycle so old and rusty that it is held together only by dirt.

Of special interest to me Slouching caryatidswithin a few hundred yards of this spot is the Parish Church of St Pancras, not for its Greek style columns, but for the four caryatids supporting the portico leading to the crypt. The four women in Greek robes do lack something in the area of deportment, and they all wear a rather pained look; but there's a reason for that. When they were made and brought to the church to take their supporting roles, the measurements were all wrong, so a section had to be taken from their abdomen to fit them into place. Poor women, they have been slouching for more than 200 years. People who have travelled with me in this part of Euston Road will remember this caryatid spot for its “Oh, no!” moment. “Oh, no, he's not going to tell us that caryatid story again!” (I'm sorry, but I do moonlight as a non-Blue-Badge** London tourist guide, so it's my duty to tell you these things.).

Back to the Garden of Peace now where I've stopped munching on the Prawn Roll and am deeply immersed in Athill's meditation on an elderly life and eventual death. I love Athill (who took to writing quite late in life) for her beautiful prose, effortless intelligence, and candour. She spent most of her working life as a publisher's editor with André Deutsch (she actually helped found André Deutsch), and now, at the age of 91, she has won the Costa Prize for biography with her book that I'm reading now, “Somewhere Towards the End”. I love her insights on famous writers who had come through Deutsch: Anthony Burgess, for instance, was so terrified of death that he refused to go to bed but merely allowed sleep to overcome him as he was sitting down or working till late. In her earlier book, “Stet” she had some uncomplimentary things to say about the Hungarian-British writer George Mikes.

But why am I now sitting in the afternoon sun in this quiet haven on the edge of this very busy road with a book of Athill's amid the traffic fumes and the smell of freshly mown grass and a load of kuih bahulu and prawn rolls and jam tarts? Well, they are from KL for this good lady, sent through this good person, and I am just the content-filching courier man.

*Quoted from memory.
** Can't afford the fee for the Blue Badge course; too steep.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

24. How To...Tang

Tang is a primeval word that is the stuff of gbh. Sometimes parents use it to warn a child, “Budok ning, aku tang, kang!” (“Don't let me smack you lad!”) and it is often so effective that the lad will soon be quiet, sitting in the corner listening in his head the sound of tang that resounds just like the English smack. So tang like many other basic words in our native tongue, is in the category of the onomatopoeic.

As it is now established that the tang is the sound that became the word, a wide choice is given to us as to the mode of its administration. You can tang with the hand as with a stick, with a stone hurled in the direction of your quarry, or with a blow in the face of an opponent; the last mentioned is especially prized by practitioners as the tang in cheek.

Unlike the tumbok a punch, or the debök, which is the landing of your fist or fingers bunched together into the shape of a bird's beak onto the back of your opponent at great speed, tang lays particular emphasis on the impact, like a stone thrown at an undesirable's house. Now this has a special place in the roll-call of Trengganu's combative arts, and tang of this quality is termed tagor, an act done normally in the quiet long after the sun has set to emphasise its special sound effect. The house is normally that of the orang bujang (unmarried folk), a kampong euphemism for those ladies who flitter about in the dark.

But lest you be mistaken and take tang to be the enforcement of moral values as a nocturnal act, there is no time requirement or place preference for tang, so by practise and common consensus it can be executed at any time of day or night. There are men, but very few women, who are skilled in the art of tang, and they are known variously as kaki tang (practitioners of tang), kaki puko (hitmen) or just simply ppala haliang (trouble makers). The height of their reign was known in Trengganu as jamang tang orang or an era when tang was supreme, the Trengganu version of the Tang Dynasty as prevailed in another land.

There are so many ways of doing the tang as there are practitioners of the art. One mode of operandi that is widely known involves one or several stones hurled in your direction. This is tang done by the petöng, and the recipient, once the stone has landed, say, on the face or some other part of the cranium, is said to be in a state of ddamör, which has no equivalent in the English tongue. Ddamör or bedamör is a mixture of being shocked and swollen and seeing stars and birds suddenly tweeting in the immediate vicinity of your noggin, the antidote for which is a poultice of wet and cold tamarind paste wrapped in a shred of old sarong.

Tang has recently been in the news when a balaclavad British riot policeman hit {tang) a home-going newsvendor with a truncheon, a stick known to us in Trengganu as the ggandeng. The man has since sadly died, and tang by this injudicious use, has acquired a bad name.

Mamak Ppala KerahSome men are immune to tang, one such went by the name of Mamak Ppala Kerah (Hard Headed Muhammad), a recipient of so many tang that had little effect on him beyond making him look, in some light, like Richard Widmark. As we are not all so tang-proofed by birth and without the slightest aspiration to look like Jim Bowie in The Alamo, I'd urge you to be judicious with tang and not practise it in your or on other people's homes.

For a look-back at tagor, see:
Hurlers in the Night

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Going By the Colour

When two Syrians, Iraqis or Palestinians meet they inquire after colour. “Shlounak?” they’d ask of each other.

“Shlounak” is a how-are-you-word. But it means more than that because what the person is actually asking is, ‘how is your colour?’ In Algeria it is even more puzzling, “Ishrak?” How do I see you?

In Trengganu we use the polite apa kabör? when greeting people we respect. Apa kabör? What news? How are you, in other words.

And then there’s guana gamök?

Gamök (Standardspeak, gamak) on its own is ‘reckon’, ‘guess’, ‘estimate’; whilst the meaning of its mainstream derivative form, tergamak is ‘calculable’. So, tidak tergamak would be something that is incalculable, beyond reckoning (which some of you may have stashed in your bank accounts). Say tidak tergamak in Trengganuspeak, dök tegamök, the world shifts to another where correct forms and proper behaviour hold sway. The move now is towards social inhibition, anxiety, where a person expresses concern that what he desires to do may not be acceptable, cause him embarrassment or turn his cheeks to a crimson colour.

This is the colour of discomfort or embarrassment, not one of health as enquired about in the Arabic shlounak. Looking at the face, we would say, in Trengganu, mèröh mmerang. (bright red), and looking at the hands they are, as we say, ketör gelitik, trembling with fear, or desire, or both, and noticeably so to the wide world. These arise from feelings of acute inadequacy as to prevent one from making an approach to say hello. When meeting a VVIP (so V that it has to be repeated) for instance, or an intended paramour.

Now, guana gamök? is a many-faceted enquiry depending on tone, or situation or the expected repartee. If the second syllable of gamök is raised, it is probably a ‘How are you?’ If dropped slightly, it could be a ‘What do you think?’ And then there’s the red-rag guana gamök?, with the exaggerated final syllable rising higher than the coconut tree, often accompanied with (or following) a shove. You can tell from the chest surging forward, blood in the eyes (mèröh mmerang) and arms akimbo that this is a declaration of war.

This is where, after the event, someone wiser would say, “Sèdèr, tegamök nye buak tu!” Here there are meanings with varying intensity: “My, he’s got the cheek!”, “He’s got the gall!”, “How he does it, I don’t know!”

That last one is the gamök that we spoke about when you went slightly off colour at the thought of approaching your employer in the fish market to ask for a raise. Dök tegamök, so you abandon the idea.

One morning in the half refurbished surau, Wang Mamak (the surau chairman) asked Father (the treasurer), “Berapa bekah gamök-öh?”

This is how room space was measured in Trengganu, by the number of trays (bekah) it will accommodate on a feast day. “How many trays do you think will go in here?”

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reach for A Setar

A sight as would please Mat Spröng. A watering hole next door to a monumental mason, or, as Mat would have said it, keda batu nesang.

This is straight out of Mat's noir world, a memento mori shop next door, and then a cup of kampong chic yuppiedom to take the weight off your weary mind at the modern Setarbak Kopi. "I've got this case to solve," says Mat. "But this kopi's so good I'll have a case of that too!"

Thanks to my correspondent Marina Emmanuel for this interesting pic. Er, is that Mat I see sitting down for a wee smoke in his best blue T-shirt?

Setarbak Note: This reminds me of the early days of the Body Shop in Brighton. It was right next door to the funeral director's.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak VII [Last]

Cuaca jo’ong bbawöh payong awang makéng sarak ggipong atah daong pohong kerekuk, dari jaoh napök kapas langit ggulong gelak dari celöh dahang pohong setor. Daung nyör kkelik ddalang cahaya lampu jalang bila hujang turong ritik-ritik, anging nniup kecang dari jaoh ssinör jari kilat. Mat Spröng löpak lökang besör ttepi stèséng bah terus lari kejör asap löri kecik sarak denge barang setimbong bbawöh kaing kènbèh di belakang. Hujang making kasör, örang-örang jjaje pape mula tèbèng gerè denge kaing plastik biru, kuning, mèröh, ssèlök naik bila kena mbuh anging hök mari denge kilat: ceröh tanöh, bumbong rumoh, orang, serema kena mandi cahaya putéh pucat. Mat Spröng ngellik belakang löri sapöh bila gerudung bbunyi guroh.

Bila reda sikik Mat jemba terus, ngèllök tèksi, ngèllök basika budök-budök bbukuh baju hujang plastik. Kaki dia harong air ttakong ddalang lekök, selipar jepung lekat ddalang selok ddènèr, bila dia tarik kaki naik, selipar jepung kelecak barak nneting macang kör mainang géng budök-budök. Mata Mat tèngök ddepang, göbör ccapor gerang. Bila dapat sebelöh selipar ddalang tangang dia pelèköng terus kena benda bbönggök bulat bbawöh kènbèh.

“Adooh!” bbunyi suara serök, kkejuk. Dua belöh tangang keluör ggagar ddalang cahaya separoh napök, lidi kasör hujang turong bbunyi bberèk atah payong, orang lari basöh jjerok. Mat sèlök kènbèh, napök budök ggösök ppala ttepi timung cina ssusong setimbong.

“Mamak Ndok béng Awang!” Mat jereköh. “Aku nök repéh tekök mung macang ppala cölök!”

Mat Spröng mata-mata gelak Teganung ddiri ccegak ttepi pagör belakang löri Murtuja bin Mohamad Salim. Tangang dia senjöh tekök baju budök hök dok tengöh gelepör gelenyong, dada Mat ddebör dak-dak. Bila budök di belakang lori cuba nök naik, Mat sèkèh ppala dia sekali; tangang dia naik sekali lagi, turong jjadi sebutir debök

Pitu depang sebelöh penumpang löri bbuka, keluör budök ppuang kèlèk kaing ddalang bukusang batik.


Mat Spröng lembèk lutut, jatoh ccakong ttepi tayar celok löri. Mata dia basöh, hujang turong kena tiup anging kkibör macang kaing jjemör ggalöh; baru rasa kaki dia kècök bila ssepak batu tajang atah tanöh, baru tangang rasa nnelah bila jatoh ssèmbak tali guning dekat gerè Mök Nöh jjua paéh, baru dada rasa ddebör naik se’eh, baru dia ingak dunia ning bulat ggètèl, mmusing ligak.

Air ujang turong nnèlèh bbira mata Mat, tapi air ujang bukang rasa maséng, jernèh. Döh dekat lima tahong orang dök panggil dia Ayöh.

* * *

Pagi turong macang cahaya kertah perada di Kuala Teganung. Air kkelik di pelabohang, matahari ssinor lik-lik atah atap bata rumöh-rumöh tinggi, ssinör ceröh di atap zéng, nnari galök di cerming mata hitang Cik Kalèh. Di muka Kuala lepah semalamang hujang ribot udara rèngang segör turung, Tok nnambang mmusang pong napok manis sikik.

“Guane Mak, aku dengör mung debök belakang budök Ndok tu sapa kerlök batu dia.” Punggong Cik Kalèh ggèlèk atah sèla tèksi sambil dia pèro masok ddepang keda Baboo jjalang Kapong Ttani. Bibir dia senyung ssengèh, said baju dia tajang buléh buak hiris kertah.

“Mung ccakak bbaik ddepang anök ppuang aku ning, Lèh!” Mat beraléh atah kusyéng tèksi, dia èsök punggong rapat denge Munöh.

“Tapi mölèk sunggoh mung uting selipar jepung kena betol-betol ppala ötök budök darak tu,” Cik Kalèh ppaléng ke aröh penupang tèksi dia. Senyung dia lèbör buléh lalu sebuöh bah.

“Nasib baik aku dök paka capal malang tadi, Lèh, kalu tidök bicuk ttönjö ppala budök jjadöh tu!” Mat Spröng tèngök anök dia. Puah.

“Tapi,” kata Cik Kalèh, sambil muka dia ppaling ke timbong kayu dök jauh dari Masjid Abidéng. “Guane tiba-tiba mung tahu dia ada belakang löri Murtuja béng Mohamad Saléng?”

“Aku ingak kata Ustad Lèh,” jawab Mat, mata dia beraléh jauh ke Padang Malaya. “Dia kata dunia ning döh bbalék, kadang-kadang bila mung pusing baru mung dapat.”

Cik Kalèh garu ttiök, ccengang sejuruh dengör kata-kata Mat.

“Ggininglah,” Mat tamböh. “Bila mung gatéh ddepang stèséng bah tu aku dök tau nök tuju duana. Bila aku napök tulisang ‘LORI MURTUJA’ ddepang kita, aku ikut kata Ustad Lèh, aku susong balek tulisang tu, belakang ddepang, bbalik bbelöh, jjadi perkataang laing. Aku dapak, ‘Mari tuju lör…’

Cik Kaleh tengok ccengang. “Tu macang ilmu dari kitab Tajul Molok.”*

“Betol Lèh,” kata Mat. “Aku tau selalu tu alamak suroh aku ikot. Le ning banyök orang bbaca bok, Lèh, tapi jarang hök pahang isi ilmu kitab.”

Matahari pagi kerabak langit mmacör atah pasör. Dari jauh jarong jang besör Keda Payang tunjok kurang lima minit pukö pak.

“Tu lah aku terjung dari tèksi mung tu Lèh,” kata Mat. Aku dengör macang Ustad Lèh dok kata ‘Mari tuju löri…Mari tuju löri…’”

“Tapi Ayöh kena dia selalu bila dia keluör dari nnusuk bbawöh kènbèh…” sapok Munöh, ppala dia ttèlèng ke aröh Mat.

“Kalu mung ikut dia Mèk, abih lah mung, jahanang nye ambék di örang darak.” Ppala Mat ngilling sambil mata dia ttenung ke anök.

* * *

Ddalang keda köpi bbucu dèrèt gedöng batu ddepang bulatang raungèbauk Keda Payang. Dari belöh barak muka jang besör tunjok kurang ssuku puko nang. Cik Kalèh siyèk röti bakör ttangang dia, dia cicöh ddalang kuöh.

“Satu hari,” kata Mat Spröng, “serema orang Malaya akang tiru kita di Teganung, makang satay pagi-pagi denge röti bakör cicöh kuöh kacang.”

Cik Kalèh mamöh röti garing sambil mata tèngök Mat repéh nyöcök satay sapa patöh.

“Budök Ndok tu kalu dapat aku kerjöng, aku nök patöh tekök dia ggining,” kata Mat, mata ssinör gerang. “Nasib baik dia lari aku dök lèh kejör dia sebak dia cedah.”

Lengang Munöh berenti, dök jadi cicöh satay perok ayang ddalang kuöh.

“Mung jjupa dia sekali bbawöh kaing kènbèh mung döh tau dia buléh lari cedah!” Cik Kalèh tarék sapu tangang dari dalang köcèk.

Mat Spröng kerling ke Munöh. “Bila aku paka baju lèhèr bulat Hari Sukang Sekölöh Sultang Slemang hök Mok beri aku paka tu aku tau tu bukang baju mung Mèk. Baju tu hök örang lömba lari hari spök. Dök ssaböh mung paka, Mèk, sebak mung bukang saja dökléh lari, lipah kècök pong mung dök dang nök hambak.”

Cik Kalèh gerèhèng dua tiga kali, ppala dia ppaling tang ke laing. Mata Munöh tèngök ppinör ke aröh Ayöh dia.

“Sebak tulah aku gi tanya Budök Nama Ku Ali tu sebak dia sekauk, jaga kèmöh hari Spök, dia tahu sape lari, sape dök,” tamböh Mat.

Cik Kaleh akat jari, tapi suara Mat lebih kuat. “Bila bbunying nama Mat Ndok béng Awang, aku pahang selalu sebak apa Awang tudong lengang dia denge pinggang masa dia sapu mèja ddepang aku kkeda Bhiku ari tu.”

“Sape pulök?” Tanya Cik Kalèh, mata belalök.

“Mak Ndok béng Awang, Lèh.” Muka Mat naik mèröh. “Awang tukang cuci mèja kkeda Bhiku tu ada sipang batu putih kkelik bbawöh lengang baju dia, bila aku jjupa surak pajök ddalang töng sapöh aku tau selalu dia buat peranga dök mölèk.”

Pagi tu köpi ddalang cawang tebal rasa pahit ccapor kelat. Mat Spröng lupa buboh gula sebab ralék buka cerita. “Gelang geliga nyör Tok Nyang aku tu aku kena mmana-mana pong. Dia dapak di Pahang masa gi cari Tong Tèja denge Megak Panji Alang. Bila aku tanya Lijöh baru aku tau söhèh dia beri ke Munöh hari jadi baru ning...”

“Ayöh döh kat lima tahong Ayöh tingga rumöh, tingga Mök. Gelang tu Mak Ndok mitök pinjang sebab nök gi cari Ayöh dia kata ada di Kuala Berang masa jjupa Mèk kkeda. Dia kata bila kita jjupe Ayöh di nung kita buléh nniköh.”

“Dökkanglah Pök dia pong sama subhak,” Cik Kalèh ccelöh masok.

“Dua kali lima je,” jawab Mat. “Nök bawök anök aku gi ddarak, nök ajök nniköh pulök lepah gada gelang geliga ttuöh aku.”

“Mèk nyessa ayöh,” kata Munöh. “Mèk ingak dia budök baik.”

“Tapi marilah Ayöh balék dudok denge Mök, ssiang dia dok ambék upöh bbasoh kaing nök beli berah secupök.”

Mata Mat tundok bbawöh. Mulok dia berenti mamöh, jari dia urot lidi satay sapa patöh. “Gilah balék semula,” Cik Kalèh pong masok capor. “Dök baik bbalöh lama-lama. Ssiang Munöh. Ssiang Lijoh.”

Mat Spröng ingak balik pagi Jema'ak masa dia kkejuk napök Lijöh ddiri ccegak ddepang wakah.

“Kalu aku balek nati Lijöh pulök ssiang aku macang ikang,” kata Mat.

“Dök Ayöh,” Munöh jawak cepat. “Mök napök je bèkèng, tapi dia dok sebok sökmö nama Ayöh.”

Bila Cik Kaléh tingga Mat Spröng denge Munöh ttepi paya dekat Batas Baru, anök bbiri gguling bating belakang rök; burong ciök nnyaning lagu cèk-cèk, galök. Munöh lega dapak balék derumöh denge Ayöh dia nök jjupa Mök.

* * *

Cik Kalèh tengöh hiruk air kawe ddalang piring kkeda köpi Wang Wook bila talipong bbunyi ddering ddalang pöndök Talikong ddepang keda, tunggu örang jawak. Tok peraih ikang tengöh isak rökök ttepi pagör, dia masok terus akat. Pitu pöndök talipong bbuka sikik, ppala Tok Peraih jengök keluör tèngök kkeda Wang Wook.

“Lèh, ada örang nök ccakak denge mung!”

Cik Kalèh lari cepak jemerang jalang. “Halo,” bbunying suara köhör dari jauh. “Mung Lèh?”

“Mak, macang mana mung tau aku ada ssining?”

“Aku tahu pe'el mung Lèh. Mung mesti gi sölör Awang tu dari jaoh, tapi dia takdök döh, balék ddarak lesat patat,” kata Mat Spröng, suara dia naik sikik. “Aku di pöndök talipong ning, ddepang rumöh Mr Hamid belakang sekölöh rendöh Sultang Slèmang, dekat rumöh Lijöh. Rumöh akulah jugök, aku lupa sebab lama dök balik...”

“Mung bbaik semula döh? Bagoh Mak, ba'ape...”

“Lèh,” kata Mat, separoh bbisik. “Ma'ajong hök mung beri ke aku dulu tu, ada lagi? Aku nök mitok sikik.”

Cik Kalèh suka kah-kah sapa belöhök.


* Kitab Tajul Mulk, an ancient manual of Tibb (medicine) and subtle forces.

The Return of Mat Spröng; Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak II; Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak III; Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak IV; Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak V; Mat Spröng Kelecak Barak VI.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Farewell to A Dear Friend

My dear friend Faizal Abdul Aziz left us today, Faizaljust hours after admission to hospital after he was taken ill while sitting for a paper that was to take him to the next rung of his career ladder. He was 45 years old.

I have known Faizal for many years and he was very much a member of our extended family here in London. He was a good man, generous to his friends, and loyal to his alma mater, the Malay College, of whose alumni association, MACOBA, he was an active member. Most Fridays we, our small communtiy here, would meet at the tahlil gathering in Malaysia Hall, and Faizal went on the night when he would have been there with his wife Nina and son Norman. He left us on the eve of a good day, called home to his Maker. May Allah rest his soul in peace and reward him with Jannah. Amin.

In life Faizal was an enthusiast of the Housing movement. After he left the Notting Hill Housing Association last year he was looking forward to the day when he and associates would be able to set one up for our community here, on shariah principles. But Faizal has been called before his ideas could bear fruit. We pray that his hopes shall be fulfilled by others who come after him.

When a friend dies a part of us is taken forever. We shall miss him and pray that his family be given strength and sabr in these trying times. Faizal is survived by his wife Nina and two children Norman and Farah. Alfatihah.

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