Cicak, Cicak, di dinding
Diam, diam, merayap
Datang seekor nyamuk
Hap! Hap! Lalu di tangkap!
Translation and more after the jump.
Gecko, Gecko on the wall
Quiet, Quiet as he crawls
Along comes a lone mosquito
Hap! Hap! He’s been swallowed up!
Living in Malaysia means sharing your home with the cicak, the house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus). You may find them cute, you may find them repulsive, but you will find them everywhere. They are in every home, shop and mosque, from the lowest to the grandest. As house guests go, the cicak is a good one. They stay quiet and out of sight, hiding behind pictures, clocks and light fixtures on the wall by day. At night, they emerge to feed on the insects of the house, especially mosquitos.
The cicak (pronounced Chee -chak) turns up elsewhere too, in nursery rhymes, in textile patterns, even in movies. Cicak-man is a popular action-comedy movie about a Malaysian who acquires superpowers when he drinks a teh tarik that had been pooped in by a cicak!
The cicak is the top-level predator of the home. Nothing much eats cicaks though occasionally one will fall off the wall into the hands of a cat. Or a kid. My brothers-in-law amused themselves as kids by shooting them off the walls with rubber bands.
Did I say they were quiet? They are most of the time, but at night they will sometimes bark, a very loud bark for such a small lizard. The sound is kind of like “CHAK”, hence the name. When the bark coincides with your conversation, you might joke “betul kata cicak” – the cicak says I’m right.