Growing Up In Trengganu

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Trengganu Redux

A few people revelled in my being thrown into the kolah, albeit a long time ago. [Growing Up in Trengganu #38952]. A fellow blogger phoned in from Lancaster to say that in Kelantan it's called the kolah too; and another asked me to translate the little ditty of Pak Leh that I used to hear.

Pak Leh was an itinerant Imam who moved from one surau to another on a weekly rota and probably sang his doleful tune wherever he went. I heard it many times, as he taught it to female members of his congregation who sang it out loud while waiting for the 'isha prayer, the last one in the day. This is how it'd translate —
Remember o remember and think it daily
You will in your grave be lying so lonely
Your big house and your estate's vast spread
Will all leave you once you're in the ground dead

I have also realised that the man in the blog that I'd placed in Kuala Lumpur, the one who made asam gumpal that's simply wicked, to use today's parlance, isn't Pak Leh's son, but a fellow villager. So I've now taken him out of the story, but he'll probably return someday, in another, with his asam gumpal still intact, still piping hot in a sea of coconut milk and everyday ingredients concocted in a secret family recipe.

Kuala Trengganu was a village, and we were all villagers. The area I lived in was a kampung, and my kith and kin lived in other kampungs in this little, big kampung by the sea. There was once a turtle on a mini roundabout perhaps a mile and a bit from the shop of Abdullah al-Yunani (yes, many remember it as Kedai Pak Loh Yunang), now I'm told it's been replaced by a replica of the Batu Bersurat, the Trengganu Inscribed Stone, as a reminder of Trengganu's history and introduction to Islam many centuries ago. If only the chengal could talk, it'd tell us many tales.

And it'd be able to tell us if Trengganu was indeed Taring Anu in the beginning of history.

September 8, 2004

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