Wednesday, June 3, 2009


"Ma, why is it that Grandma next door always cursing?" A child next door asked het mother after all the time hearing my grandmother uttering the word "patak" (Tereangganu dialect for the word 'pantat' .

Her mother did not know the answer and had to ask my mother.

My mother explained. Actually Terengganu people referred the bottom part of thing such as bottom part of a sarong, a wok, a pan, etc as 'patak'. eg patak kaing, patak kuali, patak belanga

Then they all laughed at my mother's explanation.

Another Terengganu word that normally makes other people to raise their eye-brows is the word 'berahi'. We say 'Saya berahi sangak cerita hindustan' (I really love hindustani films).

'Berahi' brings the meaning of sexually aroused instead of like when we Terengganu people speak!

Certain words have totally opposite meanings. Take for example the words 'burit' and 'pantat'. For the Sabahans 'burit' means buttock and 'pantat' means 'burit'. So don't go crazy when a Sabahan says 'burit' to you as he slapped your buttock! By the way 'Burit' is the female private parts.

In Indonesia it is worst. Imagine this scenario: "Ke mana Pak?" (Where are you going uncle?) you asked an elderly man one evening at the beach. "Mencari burit." he answered casually.

What the heck? A pious man looking for girls? Hold on for a second. That was not what he meant. What he meant was that he was waiting for sunset! He was waiting to enjoy the beautiful sunset by the beach. "Burit' in Indonesia means sunset or the bottom part of a ship!

Now we go to Kelantan. In Kelantan we never ask a livestock farmer this: "Pak cik ada bela lembu?" (Do you keep cattle?"
The word 'bela' brings the meaning of keeping women for immoral purposes. That's why he will frown on you when you asked that question. Instead, you should have used the word 'pelihara'.

Sorry, I am not being vulgar but just trying to illustrate how damaging it can be if you used wrong words in places that you visit. Same words can have totally different meaning altogether in different places. So be careful.

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