Sunday, December 05, 2004

snippets from ‘kursus haji’

InsyaAllah, by the Grace of Allah, Yati and I will be leaving for our Haj in about a fortnight. Today was the conclusion of Ceramah Haji Perdana (Grand Haj Seminar) where we; all the 3000 odds Terengganu pilgrims were made to go through a full dress rehearsal. That includes the wearing of ‘ihram’, ‘melontar’(pelting of stones) at the ‘jamrah’, ‘tawaf’ (circumbulation) around the Kaabah and ‘saei’ (walking) between the hills of Safa and Marwah.

The whole rehearsal was orderly executed under the experienced guide of Tabung Haji personnel, a feat I found daunting. The 3816 pilgrims from Terengganu made up a mere fraction of Malaysian contingent of 52000 and a mere drop in the expected 2 to 3 million pilgrims in the ‘Haram’ this season. If three thousand was an endless flow of people, what more the few millions. The management, the planning, the logistic and everything else must be exponentially strenuous even with more than a thousand and four hundred years of management experience. Since the very day of pilgrimage by Rasulullah saw into Mekah, liberating it from paganism, the haj has been regularly carried out without fail.

For Yati, it was also an experience with a difference. In her group were the elderlies from Kuala Berang, northern hinterland of Terengganu. Those who know Terengganu know that people in Kuala Berang speak in a totally alien slang that even those in Kuala Terengganu could not easily understand. I could not myself. The way out she said was to diplomatically acknowledge herself as another one of the ‘mek’ (Terengganu for ‘miss’; the sweet way of addressing a younger lady), joining in the laughing and smiling; nodding at every words even though she ‘dok pahang satu sa’ (cant make out anything).

Kuala Berang folks were often at the end of Terengganu jokes, not unlike the Irish to the Brits or the ‘Parit’ and ‘Bota’ to the ‘Perak’ians. A popular one was about a ‘Kuala Berang’ian going to haj.

In the days before KLIA and its aerobridges, pilgrims from Terengganu had to take a flight from Kuala Terengganu to Subang before taking a pilgrim flight to Jeddah. Those were the days when passengers were ferried on buses to the terminal. On arriving at Subang, the pilgrims were orderly alighting in a row. An older man stopped at the door, looked around and let the other passenger passes, one by one until he was left alone. A stewardess noticed the confused old man, approached him and asked, ‘Maafkan saya, Pak Cik tengah cari apa?’ (Excuse me uncle, what are looking for?). The man answered, ‘Pok tengoh cari kasut’ (I am looking for my shoes). ‘Mana pak cik letak?’(Where have you left it?) the stewardess asked. ‘Dok ingak doh. Dok silak pok, mase naik takdi, Pok tok tangge.’(I can’t remember but if I wasn’t wrong I left it at the stairs when boarding) he answered.

The joke took a slight variation when KLIA was completed. The Kuala Berang’ian now was a little more savvy. Reaching the door of the plane, he stopped, turn around and call for a stewardess. ‘Mek, mek, tangge pah kuane?’ (Miss, where has the staircase gone). ‘Kenapa Pak Cik? (Why uncle?) she asked. ‘Tok j’upo payon. Tadi, Pok sakuk tangge.’ (Cant find my umbrella. I hanged it there.)

I wrote about a Terengganuan never having the ability to completely erase the ‘g’ in their ‘ucapang’ in my earlier blog. I noticed that in Halim (of Radio Era, Roda Impian) and in Wan Kamaruddin (NTV 7). The speaker at the haj’ seminar (a Terengganuan) related his personal story. In one of his seminar in Selangor, he was bewildered when the crowd laughed heartily at him after he had stressed a point. Confused he turned to his fellow speakers and asked. They too were laughing. Apparently he had ‘spread-eagled’ himself on the text of ‘saya tekankan depan tuan-puan’…… In his spirited speech he had unconsciously Terenganu-nised the sentence to ‘saya te(r)kangkang depang tuang-puang…..’ thus the laugh.

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