Monday, October 22, 2007

Awang Oh Awang. Bukang Angkasawang.

There's no such thing as plain Awang. You gotta be Awang something. Like Awang Chia, the husband of Mek Marang. Of course there's no way of knowing for sure which part of mainland China they came from but they are as Chinese as Chinese could be when they are as silent as a fish but the moment they open their mouth to speak, either to ask you about Aunt or Grandma, or to tell you that the price of sugar has gone up 5 sen to 25 sen a kati, you won't know the difference between Awang Chia or Awang Botok, who is short, dark and not very bright in the head that it got people to psst psst that he is actually a wali in disguise. And Awang Botok can't be anymore Malay than you and me unless you decide to change your name from Tawil to Thompson, or from Melor to Mary, or thereabout. Maybe you've missed my point since I have the tendency to digress from the main topic but at this point in this entry you will have deduced that I've got two things on my mind; that in Trengganu people are fond of calling you Awang. You've gotta go figure what is the second thing on my mind since I am not too bright in the head to figure that out myself. Maybe, just maybe, like Awang Botok, I am a wali in disguise.

There's Awang Teksi. No, he's not a cab driver but he's the only trishaw man in Dungun who goes about his job in a cowboy hat. Well, it's not exactly the real cowboy hat you find in Texas but a good immitation to the real thing to resemble a hat movie cowboys put on when they ride on their horses. He should have been Awang Koboi but somehow it didn't go this way because he had a trishaw first before he finally had enough money to buy him a cowboy hat.

I know don't know Awang Injeng very well because he doesn't talk to children all that much when he's busy working on boat engines. Besides, you don't see him very much. His job takes him deep in the dark, engine compartment of a fishing boat, only to emerge every now and then, his face smeared in oil that he looks like a miner who has spent five years looking for coal in a used mine.

There's Awang Ddecung. I don't know of a standard Malay equivalent for Ddecung but in Trengganuspeak (a word coined by Awang Goneng who has got a book out on Growing Up In Trengganu), Ddecung is usually reserved to describe the sound of a fast-moving object that whizzes you by in a flash. Say for example you are relaxing on a veranda sipping a cup of coffee and then all of a sudden a fighter jet zooms you over that it got you all startled and nearly die of a heart attack. I hope you get what I mean. Awang Ddecung is like that. He walks like a snail but when he's on his motorcycle, he's gotta be the fastest man alive that people say one of these days he's gonna burn himself into a flame riding his bike so fast against the wind.

There's Awang Guling, but his Awangness isn't strong enough to hold down his given name, which is Semail but we call him Johng. So instead of Awang Guling, he is more popular among us as Johng Guling, but among the older generation, I mean those who were young men and women during the Japanese War, he is known fondly as Awang Guling. You see, he survived a motorcycle accident by rolling himself into a ball over the top of a car and onto the road with minor scratches to his elbows and knees.

I once told Johng Guling that he needed a passport to go to Kuantan. He never left Dungun all his life until one day when he had to go to Kuantan to buy a small truck for his business. He went to the immigration office to apply for a passport and the officers there must have laughed so hard that the whole of Dungun trembled as if a giant earthquake had just hit us. He came looking for me and I ran for my life that it's a miracle people don't call me Awang Lipas.


Blogger mad redo1 said...


dok gulling bating bace pasa johng gulling

good to have you back, mayte!

4:44 AM  
Blogger The Ancient Mariner said...

I wonder if Bergen is 'Bergeng' in Teganungspeak?

Nice to have you back.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Bergen
My great grandfather's name is Awang. Simple kampung name, I was told.
We have a relative called Awang too but I don't know if that is his real name.
I never bothered to find out until I read this posting.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Tigress said...

Hey... you're back! (Macam la kenal...)

Only Awang I know is Awang Kenit. And isn't that a folklore? Your Awangs must be the same as Mats in other states. I've heard of a Mat Buku, Mat Cacing, Mat Jongang, Mat Blue... those must be interesting tales too, I'm sure. Salam Shawal, Sir!

12:13 PM  
Blogger AuntieYan @ Makcik Blogger said...

Salam Bergen...

Poor Johng Guling kena tipu idup-idup!!! :-)

Psssttt..bila nak story pasal Tanak Suci..?

3:23 PM  
Blogger cakapaje said...

Salam bro,

That's was a good one - you lulled me into some twilight zone, only to be smacked with Johng Guling! But a good laugh, it was.

In Melaka though - at least the part where my mum hails from - they'll call you dak (as in budak) something. If you're bergen, they'll call you dakgern; if Fauziah, it'll be dakyah, and so on so on, until you reach adulthood.

When in between you name change, no one really knows. But all of a sudden, you are no more dakgern, but Bergen Tulis (if you're a writer), or Bergen Motor (if you have a motorcycle, and so on so on.

I've not had the chance to buy Awang Goneng's book yet, but insyAllah, I will. I think it will be something like Lat's Kampung Boy, but this is in literature form.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you pronounce "Ddecung"? Sama tak macam the way you pronounce "Dodo Cheng"...

5:21 PM  
Blogger tokasid said...

Salam Awang Bergen( heh3...):

Yes, reading your Awangs and Awang Goneng's Awangs really made me in the Awang-Awangan.

In Kedah( at least in Merbok area when I was a berhingus kid), grandmothers used to call their grandsons as awamg if they are asking for favours from the boys. It'll go like this: " Awang ooii...mai sini sat. Hang tulong di kedai Ah Seng beli toyu sebotoi na..hang amek lah upah ayaq menet(lemonade drink) oi..hang habaq kat Ah Seng suroh dia tuleh dalam buk(book) tiga lima tok naa..."

OR like this: Awang cek oii...hang berenti dok main koboi-koboi tu.Pi tepi jalan tengok padi hat tok jemoq tu...taku satni ayam sapa mai patok padi ka, berak kat padi ka...Petang ni tok buat buboq kacang kat hang na awang..."

About the Melakaspeak(tinged with cencalok and belacan) its true what Shah Cakapaje said. Adressing to someone a generation lower than you will be Dak this and Dak that, like:
" Lahabau betul Dak Zul tu.....ade ke aku ni dia katanye gemuk?"

More from you (Awang)Bergeng.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

Talking of awangs, I remember a dear childhood buddy who was 3 months my senior. We used to call him awang bokcheh. He later became a teacher. The sad part is that he passed away about 2 or 3 months before my eldest brother of the same type of cancer. How could I forget awang.
To us we also refer to our dear old Willy as awang, as in jaga awang hang tu nanti tersepit. My nephew calls his awang Albert.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember this passport story. I was laughing silly when I told Teddy about it!

2:16 AM  
Blogger Kak Teh said...

oh we in kedah know of a pak awang loceng - i think he sells minyak urut!

5:08 AM  
Blogger Mior Azhar said...

Bergen Sir:
Kah kah kah... hillarious. Now I suddenly remember that I have a friend Awang Kecik from my uni day in the 80s. And that's his real name..

1:44 PM  
Blogger tokasid said...

Bergen..minta laluan:

Mior, tu awang kecik budak kedah yg dok 3rd college ka? Yg rambut kerinting macam nak afro sikit tu ka? Yg ada kawan di 2nd RC nama Man Beliku?

Bergen sir, ih the 70's back in Bujang Merbok, we have this guy who is a bit slow in his head but a very kid chap. He had broad forehead, so ppl call him Awang Dongga.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Zabs said...

Salam Bergen,
Memang awang2 tu ada trademark tersendiri.
Saya pun ada kawan nama awang dahulu, tapi lama dah tak jumpa. Nama dia Awang Tajuddin, mula-mula ingat dari Terengganu, rupanya orang Kucing, Sarawak. Dia Awang kategori lain kot?

6:42 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Mad Redo1: Gguling bating kira orait. Gguling nyior pong orait juga. Tapi gguling nyior ada kemungkinang dok leh brek.

The Ancient Mariner: Yes, capt. You've got it right. LOL.

Fauziah Ismail: I believe Awang isn't exclusive to Trengganu. I know a lot of Awangs in Brunei, and Sarawak. Kak Teh and Tokasid have written about Kedah Awang. I guess Awang belongs to all of us. Like nasi lemak. LOL.

Tigress: Yes, I reckon that'd be right. And when you've got Mat you must have Minah. And in Trengganu we've got Mek, goes very well with Awang to produce more Awangs.

Auntie Yan: Good to have you, ma'am. How are you getting along? Have you well recovered?

Cakapaje: That's a new one on me, about Dak, that is. Thank you, sir. Sounds good too.

NBB: LOL. I'm not sure if the spelling, which I have Awang Goneng to thank for for introducing it to us, is good enough to duplicate the actual sound.

Tokasid: LOL, ayaq menet. Now THAT sound likes French cuisine. LOL. Were you an Awang too when you were a child, doc? Maybe you wanna share it with us?

Kata Tak Nak: What does 'bokcheh' mean? Sounds artistic.

Ailin: Gosh, good to have you here, ma'am. It's been ages. How are you getting on? How's things in Aalborg?

Kak Teh: LOL, Awang Loceng and minyak urut? I got the impression he sells ice-cream full-time and moonlights as tukang urut on the side, and pushes minyak urut. My big salam to Sir Awang Goneng.

Mior Azhar: Goes to show that Awang plays a big part in our life. That's because we are an Awang too to another Awang. So let's Awang Awangan untuk merapatkan tali persaudaraan.

Tokasid: Dongga means dahi luas, right? I believe this word is exclusively Northern. In Trengganu we've got dahi Jengdol, which I believe is universal. But that's different than Dongga, right? LOL.

Zabs: Now THAT'S a real Awang. The original Awang because it's what written in his MyKad. You can't beat that.

Okay, folks. Thank you so much for dropping in and I really appreciate it. You have a nice day now, and enjoy all the open house invitations now that it's a weekend. Don't eat too much.

But if you decide to eat all you can, don't forget to exercise.


10:47 PM  
Blogger dee3 said...

awang lipas: indestructable...

lipas always on the run,
cant exterminate!

hehe, lambat sikit dropping by this time around. hope everything's good with you. good to be back, and have you back too!

4:44 PM  
Blogger Awang Goneng said...


I am sorry I missed this posting of yours. It's so thoroughly enjoyable that I forgot I myself am an Awang, and a Goneng too. In Trengganu there's also Wan Nawang, and there's much debate if Wan Nawang does really exist. It could be just Wan Awang spoken in a rush...Over to you mate.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous zety said...


ade ke nok p kuantan kene apply passport..mmg patut u jadi awang lipas..
btw,my atok n atok sedara are both awang kecik n awang besar...

4:28 PM  

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