Friday, June 15, 2007

Of ‘kherlok’ and ‘kherlong'

Kherlok’ describes a state when a person became obviously fearful or intimidated by another person or situation. The best description is of a tortoise withdrawing its head into the shell when in danger. Chicken too, tend to withdraw their head when afraid. Perhaps how the proverb ‘chicken out’ comes about. Kids especially (and elderly too) has a similar reaction to lower their head when afraid, usually when being screwed, gets a lashing or a dressing down. All figuratively.

Kherlong’ means greedy, voracious, gluttonous etc. A kherlong person usually will want to take all to him or herself and has little regards about sharing with others. It is however selectively used on someone who is well off but equally greedy.

Kherlong sungguh Semek, habih nye wak alik kue, padahal orang laing dok dang makang pong’ (That Semek was so greedy. She took away all the cakes when others have not eaten)

‘Mek Yah lagilah, kherlongnya, je’put atas pinggang aku pung dia ambik.’ (Mek Yah was worse, she’s so gluttonous, she even took the je’put from my plate.)

A closer illustration on the right type of a kherlong personality would be on someone who falsify income statement to qualify for free text book, food assistance program, tekun loan, baja subsidi or specifically in the case of Terengganu, the ‘wang ehsan’. ‘Herang sungguh aku. Hok gi ambik wang ehsang tu, ada hok paka kereta pong. Kherlong nye dia.’ (I’m surprised. Among those that take the ‘wang ehsan’ are those with cars. How voracious is he?’

‘Kherlong’ is sometimes confused with cerelong.’ To ‘cerelong’ is to stare, to eyeball or to look angrily at someone.

‘Maroh sungguh dia kat ku. Meroh mata-mata dia cerelong kat ku.’ (He was furious at me. His eye was blood shot when he stares at me.)

An inspirational illustration.

Mamat budak nakal. Dia cuma takut ayah dia je. Kalu ayah dia cerelong pun dia kherlok doh. Kalu ayah dia deheng, lagilah dia takut, kecik pala-pala dia lari masuk rumah.

Mamat is a naughty boy. He only fears his father. He quiets down just by his father’s stare. If the father snarl, he would be scared shit and quickly ran away into the house.

Je’put is the way we pronounce jemput-jemput or cokodok or cucur kodok.
Deheng is to make a noise in the throat, growling more or less.
Kecik pala-pala directly translated as shrinking head to mean being terrified or scared shit.

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