Tuesday, May 06, 2008


A gong is drum like brass musical instrument used in traditional music. A single strike will emit a ‘gonnngggg’ sound with a rippling echo. Berdengung I think is apt to describe the effect.

Beating of a gong is now extensively used to signify opening of events like the opening of an upacara or like starting of trading day on the Bursa (KLSE). In the old movies, a gong is sounded just prior to a proclamation; normally reading of a king’s order. Old Malay hikayat, (this one, Hikayat Awang Sulong Merah Muda) beautifully described the effect of gong once sounded on rakyat jelata .

Yang capek datang bertongkat
Yang buta meraba-raba
Yang tuli leka bertanya
Yang kecil terambin lintang
Yang jarak tolak tolakan
Yang pendek tinjau meninjau
Yang kurap mengekor angin

(I have no idea what the last phrase mean)

In Kemasek, there is a village called Gong Chengal and in Kuala Terengganu a Gong Tok Nasik. There are also Gong Pak Chang near Kedai Buluh and Gong Pak Jin in Gong Badak. If I may deduce, the former was founded by the father of Hassan and the later by the father of a genie. Whether there is anymore jin living there I would not know. That gong in a village name refer to a higher piece of land or an elevated plateau as against ‘mengabang’ meaning a water logged area. Gong Badak unknown to many is located next to Mengabang Badak.

Gong to Terengganuan refers to a person, proud, big headed, an egoist – one in English idiom described as proud as a peacock. Imagine the peacock dance, just like the cock, cocky.

Awang tu, padang muka dia kalah pilihang raye, Baru jadi wakil rakyat sepenggal pong, gong do’oh lalu doh.

A gong person, like the land (as in Gong Badak) is elevated above and sounds equally berdengung if he ever utter anything. Maybe it was his nose that is elevated because a gong can be as what the Malay proverb describe as ‘hidung tinggi’ (high nose or tall nose?)

When writing a gong, be careful to space the a from the gong else it means something significantly significant. Agong means great. A gong on that respect is not an agong no matter how he pretend to be.

My father loves to dismiss a person as ubi atas gong especially to the kind that is stubborn or those that refuse to listen to other’s opinion, one that thinks that only he is right. I have no idea if is a Terengganu proverb because I could not find any official writing on it.

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