Take a moment and visit a wonderful site on the language, culture and history of Trengganu: Kecek-kecek. Kecek-kecek is the home of one Awang Goneng, who introduces himself thusly:

Awang Goneng was born at a very young age, has drifted beyond the shores of Trengganu, and is feeling a crick in the neck from constantly looking back. He claims to have captured the essence of Trengganu, which, he says, was given to him by a very old man living in a cave near the Lake Kenyir. His detractors say it’s just a bottle of budu.

Elegantly written, learned and drenched in nostalgia, kecek-kecek delights with every post. In this most recent post, Growing up in Trengganu #293, 116, he describes the rainy season:

The monsoons imbued us with deep pilu wrapped in bright sarongs that village men slipped into, top end hooded over their heads as their hands grabbed the hem sides below to trap some warmth around their body. Pilu and melancholia were close cousins, but it came in chilly winds sodden by the spray of the roaring sea. In atap houses the rain poured in torrents down the pointed nipah tips, cascading down in a curtain of glistening threads of rainwater. A sudden downpour clattering on corrugated roofs, and clattering as it did continuously, mesmerised already dozy heads into an afternoon of deep slumber.

It must mean I haven’t been here long enough, because it seems almost universal amongst Malaysians to associate the monsoon with melancholy, as Awang describes so beautifully. For my part, I love the rains. There’s nothing I like better than finding myself out on the porch reading a book, sipping coffee, as the rain pours down hard and heavy.

I haven’t had the chance yet to explore the East Coast. Until I do, I’ll just keep reading kecek-kecek.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. Cannot find putu mayam in Perak? That is strange. From where I am from, it is easily found at the Pasar Malam or many Indian eating-places.

    I used to buy putu mayam from the Indian Muslim man selling from outside the Ridwaniah Mosque, after Fajr during the weekend. Dont know if he is still around. My juniors at the next door boarding school dont seem to know him…

    If you happen to visit nearby Taiping, have a look at the Larut-Matang shopping area. The ground floor is food-only area. We go there for their satays, murtabaks, masalondeh, and putu mayam! Yeah, our favourite too!

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