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Monday, November 08, 2004

Pnamo Ghima?

Pnamo ghima? is a Kelantanese slang for 'what (on earth) is that!?’. It is, however, widely considered as a rough slang commonly associated with oghe daghak* (orang darat = village folks) or sometimes used in a jovial conversation among friends.

Centuries ago, when keris, lembing, pendekar and penyamun (dagger, spear, warriors and robbers) are the norms of life, one of the essential survival skills is to posses ilmu batin (mystical powers) . We often found in Malay legends and epics things such as flying dagger, invincible warriors, and unseen friends among great names. In those days, the lacking (or rather non-existence to the present standard) of road network did not, however, hinder communication and movements of the people in the Tanah Melayu. Men walked through the thick and dangerous tropical jungle and mountains from one side to another. A person, for instance, from Kelantan travelled to the west coast states via these torturous trails, encountered and defeated many great challenges, both from the nature and its inhabitants, as my great grandfather often did.

One of the great tales among these mighty travellers is their secret friendships with invisible tigers (harimau jadi-jadian) of which they normally used as their 'vehicles' in crossing the jungle and keeping them company, in addition to dwarf any trouble encountered. These tigers, said to be very big and fierce, only emerge at night and would come to their masters’ abode for food. They remained unseen to the naked eyes of the normal joe public.

These invisible tigers were often given (pet) names by their keepers. Some owners, for some reasons, sometimes kept their mystical friends under their houses (traditional Malay houses are on stilts), chained to one of the posts, normally the main, i.e. tiang seri. Actually, they were not completely invisible. Most owners could actually see each others pets lurking under the timber floor, staring to the outside world with their fiery eyes, stretching their claws killing their off-duty periods.

So, when these owners went to visit each others, they normally greet their friends’ companion whilst washing their feet from the tembayan air + chebok (water urn and scoop) commonly placed next to the front steps.

Semae Tok Ddeka (Seman Tok Pendekar): Guano weh Pok Mud, lamo tok napok, kuano? (How're you Pok Mud, haven't seen you lately, where have you been?).

Pok Mud Kaki Gajoh (Pak Mud the Elephant Feet): Tak dok guano, po skalo jah. Baghu kelek kemagheng dulu. Gi nnebah utae alek Peghok. Oghe puteh bbuko estek. (Nothing much, just normal. Just got back a day before yesterday. Went to do some jungle clearing in Perak. Englishman is opening a plantation estate).

Semae Tok Ddeka : (Looking under the house) Oh, chome weh hok demo... pnamo ghima, ambek duano? Sehak molek. (Oh, yours looks so great... what's his name, where did you get it from? Looks healthy).

Pok Mud Kaki Gajoh : Hehehe... kawe keleh demo ambek gak, nok tra getek. Ambek ddenung la jugok... Utae Melitae, oghe kato hok ni maghi daghi utae Yala lagi. Ambo panggae Awe Loh Misa Lebak. (Hehehe... when I saw yours, I wanted to have a go at having it as well. I took it from the same place, Hutan Melintang. People said this one came from jungle of Yala. I call him Awang Lah the Handlebar Moustache).

Hence, “apo namo ghima (demo)?” (simply means ‘what’s your tiger’s name?’) was the first common question. Consequently, as many other captions and expressions, it become shorten into “pnamo ghima?” and the rest is history.

Selamat Ber-Ramadhan & Bersiap-siap Nak Raya

* orang darat in Kelantan does not mean 'orang asli' (aborigines) as commonly understood in other states. orang darat in Tanah Serendah Sekebun Bunga simply means uncultured people, commonly associated with the rural inhabitants. though it can also be applied to the urbanfolks with rural traits, languange and behaviour.

... sedak jugok slogho nnungu ssaho ni...

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