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Si Tenggang's Journey

In the wake of my grandmother's passing, I begin to reflect on a few things...

It has been three years since I had gone back to the land of my father's ancestors... Three years since I had kissed the fresh breeze of its morning sky... Three years since I had gone back to Kelantan.


I had always felt at home there, waking up in my grandmother's house, or even my aunt's house. Waking up to the lilting sounds of the Kelantanese dialect - a musical language, whose beauty is apparent to all, but whose true meaning can only be appreciated by one born of the tongue, or in my case one who is half-born to the tongue.

I remember there used to be a time when a sense of calm and happiness would engulf me as we crossed the borders into the Kelantanese lands... My affinity with the land and its people... My paternal tribe...

Yet at the same time, as much as I felt at home there, there was still a sense of alienness, that I was still not a part of the people, as much as I had wanted to be...I was alien for so long, because I did not truly speak the native Kelantanese dialect. I was told that it was 'tainted' by influences from the Terengganu dialect, or even some parts of the 'standard' dialect.

But I tried.

I worked hard on practicing it. Harder than I ever tried for any other dialect or language. I don't think even my father knew, because I would only speak the 'standard' dialect with him.

I worked hard because I did not want to feel alien, no matter how slight.

Finally, it was not until my early twenties did I really get a sense of how to really speak the language - that I could strike up a conversation with a local without them having to ask me where I was from.

I know for many it's a moot point. "So what?" they say, "Just speak your own language, your own dialect."

I laugh out loud every time I hear that... Just what is my language? my dialect? English? West country? London? Malay? Johorean? 'Standard'? Sabahan? Terengganu? Kelantan?


Language is a powerful force. It can determine one's right to be where they are... It can determine if one does indeed truly belong.


It determines one's Identity.


Bargain Books said…
Have you made nasi tumpang :P
azie said…

happy fasting. malu nak tanya nih..tapi..err..err...duit raya ade utk ai tak?ahahaha
I wanted to leave a comment, tapi could not after reading cik azie punya komen kat atas tu.

sorry, nak gi ketawa terbahak-bahak.

Alahai cik azie ooooiiiii
Abdullah said…
I don't think I'd be capable of such a feat...I leave that in ur capable hands..tapi bila dah buat nanti jgn lupa hantar kat sini eh?

Nanti jemput dtg ye..Duit raya bergantung bergantung kepada sumbangan anda. Sila pilih dari yang berikut:
1- Datang, makan kuih, balik (10sen)
2- Datang, minum air kosong, balik (20sen)
3- Datang, tolong hidang, layan tetamu (RM1 sejam)
4- Datang, tolong hidang, layan tetamu, kemas rumah (RM2 sejam)

Datang ye! :)

Rasul s.a.w kalau ketawa hanya tersenyum menampakkan gigi.
I kalau ketawa menampakkan anak tekak.
azie said…
ai mau no 3 and 4

duk umah u sehari suntuk takpe. duit masyuk beb,ahahaha

haih sir, u r too kind:P
Princess Liyana said…
i pun nak duit rayaaaaa....

huhu, takde keje lain ke?;p hik2. memasak hidangan berbuka puasa ke?selain kemas mgemas..ahaks;p
cT cHaN said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abdullah said…
tidur rumah I pun I charge for lodging RM20 semalam. After taking option 4 for 12 hours, u'd get RM24. Minus lodging = RM4. Minus service tax = RM2.
Duit raya RM2 ok apa?... ;)

U boleh basuh kereta I.
missyizzati said…
ahah. okay. kalau i, u takyah bagi duit raya. bagi makan banyak-banyak je. jimat kan? :D

btw sir, banyak betul language u know. belum campur spanish, german, french lagi kan? hehe..erm. btw, i kinda agree with u. language is a powerful source.

all of them (the ones u've mentioned) are ur language, dialect. u just have to choose. good luck in adding to that list. :D
Abdullah said…
thanks :) u ingat lg the languages that I talked about huh?... banyak language tu makin lama makin hilang... lama x pakai..
aoc gold said…
What does the bee do?

Bring home honey.

And what does Father do?

Bring home money.

And what does Mother do?

Lay out the money.

And what does baby do?

Eat up the honey.

--------- by Age Of Conan gold
Gukita said…
Identity is what gives one his lineage, his root. Is that a moot point?
Abdullah said…
Pakcik Ali,

Sometimes it's so difficult when one cannot claim true lineage to any land... It's something like belonging everywhere, yet belonging nowhere.
Gukita said…
Claim your lineage. It's what is in your heart; where you feel you really belong. Nobody have any right to deny you that..
Count Byron said…
Beautiful writing Son. Great insights into the intricacies of my culture. You do have the appreciation that will take you far. You might be laughed at (initially) but believe me, you were loved to the core. Kelantanese do take things on a lighter side, but once ascertained that you are sincere, and not jesting them, they will eat from your hands.

Thank you for being fair in your expose ( you always are )
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