Terengganuans and Kelantanese seek comfort in groups. Conversation with a complete stranger would go to a different level if both of you come from the same state, a slightly higher notch if from the same district, and of course in ascending order if the person were of the same kampong and knew a mutual friend. The next stratospheric level would be if she or he happens to be “WAREH.“
“Wareh” loosely defined by Kelantanese and Terengganuan as people who had their great great grandma or great great grandpa sharing same wombs making them a brother and sister to each other in that part of the history before the Japanese drop by or the day Raffles landed in Temasek. It is very important for the people of Kelantan and Terengganu to know both sides of the families and if you are married that would be at least four generation and four family lines that you need to get to know and identify them with their appropriate titles in the family.
Along this huge ‘cengal’ family tree, there would be branches that entwined (married) or untwined (fighting, divorced or just plain ‘can’t stand’ each other for no particular reason) and as part of one big tree, you (if you are a Kelantanese or Terengganuan) are supposed to ignore any negative vibes (esp. the divorced branch) and greet and pay salutation to them just like they are any family members.
The most important event is the ‘khenduris’ for the wedding which all would gather from all nooks and corners and getting to know each other all over again. The ‘gotongroyong’ would be in full force and something funny does usually happen.
If you were born with big eyes and had been a point of ridicule by your playmates, it will become a sore point in your personality. Over time, you might start to like it and perhaps eventually you would truly believe that you were quite fortunate soul to be born with beautiful eyes.
Come ‘khenduri‘ times your deep believe in your uniqueness may be shattered as there would be invariably one or two similar set of eyes like yours… that would be funny. Then you may notice someone who walks like your sister or have a shrieking laugh similar to your aunt who teases you endlessly, then….it may not sound funny anymore. The worst would be if you were to see some obnoxious looking old lady who says you look like her when she was young. That freaks me out, for sure.
With that in mind, this conversation I had with my mother certainly brought me down to this plain earth. Her priority certainly is noble but then am I not another propagator of a gene in big kahuna scheme of thing called “wareh?”
Mama: “male sabtu nih, gi rumoh tok ayoh so and so deh? Dio buat semaye hajat, anok dio nok gi ITM.”
Mother instructed with confidence only mothers could possibly have.
Me: “dok leh kot, Kak Long ader plan rasonya weekend nih –” I said timidly in a desperate attempt for a swift way out.
Mama: “Hal gapo? Kalu setakat nok gi shopping & dudok keda buku berjam-jam tu, tok payoh lah. Perabih pitih, perabih maso, tak dok sebutir paedoh pon!”
Of course, Mama found my passion with books is a sheer waste of time and money.
Me: “dok eh…..mana ade…“
As usual she overpowered me! Typical kelantanese woman! (I mean my mother, not I).
Mama: “Mesti gi, wareh kito tuh. Kirim salam mama, bui pitih ke anok dio sikit. Anok dio nok gi sekoloh ITM tuh.“
At this point, I am rolling my eyes over and over again.