In Kandila, we will meet

Yesterday was a busy day but today will be busier. I will be in Mentiri, Lambak and Rimba accompanying HM visiting all three housing estates after the key giving ceremony in Mentiri. That's not too bad. On Wednesday I was in Belalong in Temburong to check on the renovations to the UBD centre there, on Thursday I was in Lumut for the Belait District Masterplan presentation and on Saturday, I was somewhere in Ulu Belait to check on the new Belait Dam and that's where I realised mobile phones became deadweight useless items in your pockets as there is no signal.

Anyway, yesterday was the rehearsal and the whole MOD entourage went round visiting the three housing estates. In the last stop at one elderly person's house, we took a rest and during that coffee break, I learnt a lot of new Brunei words from my Minister which I thought I will share today.

I would say that Brunei's sense of time is different. We have words for them. For instance for the period of infinity, the Brunei word is 'Kandila'. I asked for the usage of it. An example goes - '... Fikirnya ia berhutang atu lapas tia nda membayar masa ani. Di kandila karang dituntut masih tu ...' 'Kandila' can also be referring to the time period of 'akhirat' or end of time. The opposite of 'Kandila' is 'Pendaratu' which refers to the far past. An example - '... Zaman pendaratu dulu, alum ada manusia berjalan-jalan ...'

Just as the eskimos have 14 words to describe the condition of snow, Brunei, I discovered have about 5 different words to describe almost similar things. What does 'kamul', 'kumbang', 'tajung', 'kakun' and 'chokin' have in common? These are various words to describe a cloth like or towel like cloth which you used to cover or wipe yourself. The words are not exactly similar but they are close enough to each other. My question is why? The eskimos needed those words because they live in a snowy place and needed to know what condition their snow is as they may impact on their livelihood. But why do we need to invent those 5 words.... Interesting...


Al-Qadr said…
Very interesting indeed, BRo...

I only remember "kain kumbang" or "kain tajung" but "kamul","kakun" and "chokin" are totally new to me!

For wiping dirt or spillages on the floor, I could only recall "kain peranca" or "peraca" (I am not even sure anymore:) as small cloths to use. But more commonly used word for it is "kain pelap" these days.

And looking at your late grandfather's police uniform, I begin to recollect how "cikar" or smart it was to wear khaki bermuda shorts which had to be starched ("bekanji") and strongly pressed or hotly ironed out with sharp edges. I could imagine how 'sharp' you must have looked in your good old primary or preparatory school days wearing those "karau" shorts! *hehehheh* Great anecdotes on old Bruneian Malay lingo, dude!
Kandila is definitely an interesting word. I googled it and the search results indicated that it probably had a Greek origin. However, there was once a French footballer named Vincent Candela. And Candela is also a town in Southern Italy. I was guessing that maybe the word kandila originated from the Latin/Spanish language when the Spanish occupied Brunei. However, it is likely that candela is the origin of the English word candle. So the trail stops there. Maybe some of our local octogenarians can tell the origin of that word kandila.

As for Eskimos having 10, 14 or even 100 words for snow, it has been established that this is a myth. However, I don't totally discount the Linguistic Relativism theory - how we view our world depends on the language we speak. I mean for example, we Malays use the word 'Rumah Sakit' for a hospital. Rumah sakit is roughly translated as 'the house of sick people'. In Arabic, a hospital is 'Mustashfa' which when translated to English means 'a place where people are treated or healed'. If we conduct a survey asking Malaysians (we Bruneians use the word hospital)and Arabs whether they have a favourable impression of a hospital (asked in their own respective languages), Arabs would probably have better impression of it compared to Malaysians.

When I was a kid, I used to be disgusted with 'tahi mata'. Only when I was much older that I learned that 'tahi mata' in English is eye crust. Sounds much less disgusting and it changed my perception a bit.

Popular posts from this blog

Brunei Royal Wedding 2015: Profile of Royal Bride Dayangku Raabi'atul Adawiyyah

Family Titles in Brunei

Pulau Cermin - Brunei's Historic Island