Thursday, October 7, 2010

Unwelcome Words

i was re-reading Amir Muhammad's piece for New Malaysian Essays 1 : Unwelcome Words when my OCD side of the brain refuses to read on without highlighting ones that i particularly like.

Anak ikan :
Catamite ; a young man, perhaps barely past the age of consent, used for sexual purposes. Has both heterosexual and homosexual connotations and so, in the parlance of personal ads, it's a 'versatile' phrase. From the Malay 'little fish' which you can swallow whole without worrying about de-boning.
"The actress Rosnah Mat Aris got into trouble for speaking too enthusiastically about her alleged anak ikan on a talk show."

Apanama :
Malay for 'Whatsisname'. To say this while searching your mental database for the person's name might signify a kind of lofty contempt. Popularised by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathis Mohamad, who used it all the time during interviews, although the word would usually be edited out by the time it appeared in the print media.
"That anak ikan of hers... apanama... Adam was just in here looking for DVDs."

Cable :
Denotes crony connections. A stronger version of 'pulling strings'. Despite the government's persistent attempts to encourage transparency and openness, some spoilsports insist on doing business this way!
"That bugger should not have been promoted so quickly, but he has cable."

Chu kia :
Of inferior quality. From the Hokkien, 'make/work false.'
"That sex video recording is not so chu kia, they used four cameras!"

Feng tau :
Chinese techno music, that is associated in the popular imagination with the XTC drug, the consumption of mineral water, dark places, laser strobe lights, and throbbingly insistent songs that consist of the repetition of the same 5 words. From the Cantonese, 'shake head.'/
"I tried to concentrate on Trigonometry despite the feng tau from across the road."

Kau tim :
To settle a debt or seal a deal. From the Cantonese, 'play finish.'
"The cop stopped me for speeding but he was such an obliging bugger that RM5 was enough to kau tim."

Line clear :
This is a bit more than 'the coast is clear', it means that there are no further impediments to success. Probably after you have kau tim with the right people. One of Malaysia's most commercially successful film directors, Razak Mohaideen, uses it for his company name, although here it might mean he's so attuned to what the public wants it's like he gets a good radio signal.
"After he married the leader's daughter, it was line clear for him."

Muka seposen :
To look pitiful ; sometimes a useful tool for the passive aggresive type. Literally Malay 'ten-sen face', as if that person were a beggar who would be content with such a small amount. 
"Get that lancau and his muka seposen out of here or I will lanyak him."

Porah/podah :
Go away, sometimes in a figurative sense of 'Get outta here!' from the Tamil.
"When the DVD scandal broke, he insisted he wouldn't resign, but everyone else told him to porah."

Projek :
Malay sland for 'illicit sex' ; because the way projects are awarded in Malaysia also involves lies subterfuge and some cleaning up afterwards.
"They decided the movie was poyo and so they porah to the staircase to projek."

Rempit :
Young Malay males on motorcycles, who conduct illegal street races and inspire hit movies. The Dictionary defines the word only as 'to hit with a rattan cane' but this now probably refers to a fantasy punishment for the racers.

Sabo :
Short for sabotage. 
"We were about to projek last night but some guard sabo our plans by locking up the staircase."

Skandal :
A sex partner with whom you have no emotional bond.
"He was driving back with his skandal when they were overtaken by a bunch of samseng rempit types."

Skodeng :
Peeping tom. Someone who spies on, and maybe takes secret recordings of courting couples while they projek in parks and staircases. 
"There was a suggestion in Terengganu in early 2007 to recruit skodeng to become religious vigilantes, all in the name of vice reduction."

I would seriously suggest all of you to get a copy of New Malaysian Essays. They are in their 3rd edition already as of now. 

It's really good to know that there are plenty of unconventional published writers who writes with real essence as compared to those sappy Malay 'romance' novels and Malay chic-lit with predictable story line. At least these people won't kill your brain cells simply through their writing. :)



-hazen said...



"They decided the movie was poyo and so they porah to the staircase to projek."


ezral Sya said...

Buku ni punca jatuh cinta dengan Saharil huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

modom as in your word verification said...

mana nak carik buku nih? mph @ borders ade x? atau buku ni dijual bawah tanah?

Merissa K. said...

Hazen :
my favourite is skodeng! :D

sya :
hors d'oeuvres cousin. terbaik!

modom (tee hee):
u can get it kat mph online. kinokuniya pun ada i think. or try silverfish. susah susah sangat try

oh! and new malaysian essays 3 is only available as e-book! pergi la download! free! heheh.

Igniz said...

when you start considering my advice and become another Malaysian writer, i think we'll have a better new malaysian essay. heeee. go tasha go! :P

Nurul Aain said...

i can't believe u just read it.
it was there in the room for ages.

tapi, buku ini buat saya ingin menggunakan bahasa melayu selalu selalu mungkin.

Merissa K. said...

Ijan awak ni boleh ajar class Flattery 101 okay! stop it! im not that good. biasa biasa je. ehem jawapan melodi ehem.

noin, ive reread it a gazillion times. and each time it gets funnier. but doll, the book is in english! hahah. but i get what you mean, for a weird reason, it gets me all patriotic and in love with malaysia and our dysfunctional ways. hehehe