On Trengganuspeak and the Spirit of Trengganu

Friday, December 31, 2010

Here's To Another

Anging töpang kecang sunggoh
Air böh nèllèh pah Balék Bukit
Tahong lama ning nök gi döh
Bulang pong gerhana atah langit
Di negeri sejok kabörnya sejok ddö'öh
Di negeri panah pong hujang belambök
Setahong nök gi, habihlah kèsöh
Jangang susöh nati ada se lagi èsök.

The winds whirl and blow ever so strongly
The flood rises to the hill of Balék Bukit
The old year's now leaving so wearily
The moon in the sky's now eclipsed
'Tis freezing they say now in the north
The hot zones pour with rain 'n' shower
A year passes by, so the tale endeth
Courage, for tomorrow there'll be another.

We at Kecek-Kecek wish you our readers a happy and meaningful new year 2011.

Awang Goneng, Mat Sprong and all who sail in here.

Photo credit: Starpic


Friday, December 17, 2010

Urbi et Ubi

To be called ubi török is to be consigned to the bottom of the heap because ubi török is Trengganu rhyming slang for cörök, bottom of the class, a dunce with a double 'd'. Of the things that are taken into account, cörök is the last of all.

This is a good time to be talking about ubi, in this piang böh, the season of the floods. Piang is an almost forgotten Trengganu word (and perhaps Kelantanese too; piyæ?). It began most certainly from piantan, which Winstedt in his unabridged Malay-English defines as 'auspicious', but it is also used euphemistically to mean 'usual time'. So piantang böh, the usual time for floods, would have come to Trengganu in a very convoluted way, from piangtang to piang, and so on to piang buöh, piang duku and piang piala muséng jo'ong...the fruit season, the duku season, and the Monsoon Cup and a heigh nonnie-no.

And there's something there that we may have forgotten too. The fruit season wasn't just known as piang buöh but as piang buöh kayu, season of the fruit of the trees. Rainy day women with rainy day fruits, in baskets that are carried from boats to markets on the river-banks or at the intersection of roads in Chabang Tiga, or in the bay area in Tanjong in Kuala Trengganu.

Although the ubi is not, strictly speaking a fruit, it comes with the monsoon crop from the forest trees, and it holds a special place in wet weather. There is something comforting about the tapioca arriving steaming hot on a plate while the day rages with the monsoonal shower, or the large tubers that rise from beneath the earth and sitting oven-ready on the newsprint laid out in the pasar. One theory about the ubi's rise with the downpour is that in this season of wind and floods, the ubi have to be dug out before they are damaged by the water.

Chuck a tapioca into the fire, roll a sweet potato in there too - ubi kayu and ubi setela - but some of the bigger ubi are meant to stew in the water, muttering incessantly and spitting in the air as the liquid boils and pushes the salt through the ubi's pores. There was the ubi ppayang that got its name probably from its girth, bulging beneath its skin like the earthen jar or the ppayang as we call it in Trengganu. Tenderised by the heat and moistened in the boil, a slice of this ubi takes the look and feel of your nasi kapit or compressed rice that travels well into the peanut sauce with the satay. I'm not sure if this is the same ubi that some folk call the ubi nasi.

The are many more ubi than rise above the soil, little dark ones like ubi kemili whose name in the local lingo is too rude to mention now. Then there's the hefty ubi gajah, the elephant in the room of the ubi world. The keladi is an ubi too, mushier in its outer layer when taken fresh from the boil and fuller in taste on a gloomy day when cats drop and dogs hurl from the sky. Ubi is the primordial food, a basic comforter, and a crop always in deep storage whenever the hunter gatherer goes out on the prowl.

That probably explains the ubi's lure. What better to embrace on a cold day than the steaming carbohydrate, dipped in sugar. For the mellower taste, the preferred dip is nyiur, the pristine coconut, shredded and salted. But there are others who prefer to dip it into nnisang, our coconut sugar. Ubi and its accompaniment, on the selasör, the rain can pour for weeks on end and the wind may blow, but the yam and the sweet potato, the tapioca and those myriad others, this is seasonal food, much like turkey on Christmas day.

Photo credit: I have stolen the picture of keladi (yam) [above] from Pak Zawi's wonderful blog. Thank you Pak Zawi!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Days in the Water

I am delighted by the many very interesting reactions to Muséng Sejok. I loved them all, especially the place maps and persons long gone who came back to our midst. From the many delightful reads I feel I must do a very quick translation of Zulomar's description of his childhood in the water. I enjoyed it immensely as it is a narration of times now lost. I hope you will enjoy it too. Thank you Zulomar, and thank you all of you who have left your comments.

"Kalu ingak piyang ujang & mase boh jamang kecik2 dulu memang sedak mmaing air.

"Di Beladau Kolam kalu mase air boh besor memang sedak mandi ssunga - air keruh macang teh susu & memang derah. Ambe dengeng saing2 ppakak turung dari se kkalang pah tu ppakak peranyuk ikuk aruh air, naik pulok kkalang laing hok ddepang - stak Kkalang Pasor naik Kkalang Che' Ming, hok beraning lagi peranyuk sapa Kkalang Sekoloh. Naik pokok Rengah (pokok Rengas - pokok bergetah yg kalau kena boleh jadi kudis) pah tu terjung sunga dgn macang2 gaye - (silak2 buleh lawang penerjun Sukan Asia/Komanwel he he...). Kalu gatung tali di pokok Rengah buleh wak tali Tarzeng terjun sunga. Kadang2 ppakak lawang aruh derah sapa lenguh gi ttepi. Bowok tangguk buleh takak udang & ikang.

"Kalu air boh koho besor, air nnembok tebing sapa ttepi rumoh. Kawasang rendoh hok ade air jjadi tepak mmaing - papang, batang pisang wak jjadi rakik. Sapa kecuk bberuk abih kaki tangang - biru hherang sejuk ketor. Ade mase jugok jjupe ulor, kale jeking. Serung pulok bile pikir smula.

"Jamang budok2 dok mmikir bahaye. Kalu pikir smula muking dok beraning doh nok buak. Tapi ALHAMDULILLAH takdok hok mati lemah sebak mmaing air boh.

"Llening takdok doh hok mmaing air ggitu. Sunga pun jjadi tepak org bele ikang Talapia, Ppating & Baung dlm sangkar.

"Piyang ujang memang sedak makang ubi kayu/stele rebuh cicoh nyor, minung air kupi. Llening kalu musing ujang, kg. Kubang Jela & Banggul Tuan Muda banyok org jjua ubi ttepi jalang.

"Hmm....sweet memories."
"Going back to the rainy season and the floods during my childhood days it was a joy to be playing in the water.

"In Beladau Kolam during the big floods we loved to play in the river - the water was muddy like milky tea and flowed very swiftly. My friends and I went down to the river. Starting from one jetty we went down with the river's flow, and then we went up again at the next jetty downstream - we started from the jetty at the market place and then went up again at the Jetty of Che' Ming, the braver ones drifted on to the School Jetty. We climbed up the Rengas (gluta renghas) tree (the Rengas tree has a sap that can cause the skin to blister) and then we dove into the river in every style that we knew - (we could have competed in the Asian/Commonwealth Games diving competition he he...). If we attached a swing rope to the rengas tree we could have used it like Tarzan to dive into the river. Sometimes, together, we swam against the swift flowing river and retired to the river bank when we were worn out. With a landing-net we would have been able to catch some prawns and fish.

"If the flood water continued to rise, the overflow would go to the edge of the houses. The low lying parts now filled with water became our play areas - we used planks, banana stems as rafts. We played until our hands and feet shrivelled from the cold - we turned blue and had the shivers. There were times when we encountered snakes and scorpions. It gives me chills thinking about all that now.

"Children never thought of danger. If I think about it I don't think I'll have the courage to do all that now. But ALHAMDULILLAH (Praise be to God) no one drowned while playing in the flood.

"Nowadays they don't play in the water like we used to. The river has become an area for the farming of tilapia and catfish.

"The rainy season was a good time to enjoy tapioca/sweet potato dipped in coconut shreds, to drink coffee. Now during the rainy season many people sell these roots in Kampung Kubang Jela and Banggul Tuan Muda, by the roadside.

"Hmm....sweet memories."

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Muséng Sejok

Sejok ngökkör badang habih ketör gelitik
Serebangnya kaki rasa macang nök jjerik
Döh nök wak guane le ning anging muséng sejok
Keluör rumöh pong baju habih basöh jjerok
Sapa kambing bbiri serema dök keluör setabok
Habih serema nye beratang dok nnusuk ddalang gok
Lainglah budök-budök jadi kesukaang pulök
Gi mmaing air böh Kkeda Payang roungabauk*
Suka gelèkèk llaki ppuang, sèlök kaing tarék naik
Nök gi ngarrong air böh sapa ttiang Kampong Daik
Dari Keda Pök Löh Yunang
Sapa ke Ah Chin tukang jahit
Kalu demang rasa tekök macang döh nök serök
Kita singgoh kkeda Pök Ali kita gi beli minyök
Air kölöh sejok ssiak, bulu roma ddiri kkulék
Dök léh tunggu lama döh masok waktu ggarék
Ddalang sura habih air turong hanyyar atah lata
Pah tu masok anging sejok pulök nung dari pata
Air ssembor keluör dari mulut Pök Löh Tuk
Dia dok ssörang ddalang ujang muka kkeruk,
Pasa Seberang rumöh dia gamök oh, pasa bini anök
Barangkali hök tulah cerita dia bök-bèk bbuéh mulok,
Dok jauh bang dengör, nök gi dekat tu takot
Pah tu dia mmusing ligak sebelum dia naik bot,
Tolong gök sape-sape gi ddapor rebus ubi török sikik
Cicöh gula denge air kawe sambil makang tepong ba'ik.