Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sakit Pantat!

TWO days ago, I posted an article entitled Inflation Rate Kept at 2.4%. I quoted an announcement made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak—that the Malaysian Government kept the nation's inflation rate as low as 2.4%. I raised my doubts over the accuracy of such announcement and quoted the increase in prices of several goods.

Then an anonymous visitor commented that I didn't understand the true meaning of the announcement by the DPM, i.e. that Malaysia's inflation rate is the lowest in the world. I readily admitted that I didn't understand the 2.4% inflation rate. But in the end, I think what happened was that the "inflation rate" that we lay people know simply means a direct comparison of prices of goods with that of the previous year. Obviously, there is a different meaning to the phrase "inflation rate" that's adopted by the economists.

And as the result of the above confusion with the phrase "inflation rate", I now have an excuse to tell yet another one of my grandfather stories of yesteryears when I was still schooling...

I went to school in SM Sultan Abdul Samad, PJ when I was in form 4 and 5. Oh it seems like a hundred years ago. It was during one of those rainy seasons when we were playing football during P.E. one day. I slipped and fell onto the wet field. I was covered in mud.

The next day, I was still aching all over; and when my friends asked me how I was doing, I said to them, "Pantat saya masih sakit".

Suddenly, there was a roar of laughters from all of them. And then one of them asked me, "Aik, awak pun ada pantat jugak ke?".

I didn't get the joke and answered quite truthfully, "Memanglah ada!"

And then another roar of laughters.

After they calmed down, I asked them what was so funny about me suffering in pain. They said that word "pantat" meant a female's sex organ.

So you see how such an innocent word can have different meanings to different people. I told my friends that "pantat" meant "buttocks" in Malay. But obviously, when Malaysia introduced Bahasa Malaysia years ago, it must have modified the meanings of some words.

But they disagreed vehemently. To them "pantat" can't possibly mean "buttocks", so I challenged them. They laughed and laughed at me. A quick check of the dictionary proved my point; and it sure silenced them after that.

When I was suddenly inspired to tell this story again today, I actually went to the bookstore to check the word out in the latest dictionaries on the shelves. Interestingly, that word is no longer found in some kamus. But the rest that still have that word do give the meaning of "punggung" (buttocks), but also "kemaluan" (which is the sex organ). Here is what I have found from the internet. So it is true that in Bahasa Melayu, "pantat" has several meanings including "buttocks" and the female's sex organ. However, in Bahasa Malaysia, apparently the meaning leans more towards the female's sex organ.

I want to share with my West Malaysian friends, that many of us Sabahans still speak Malay—as in Bahasa Melayu; and not Bahasa Malaysia. Therefore if any of you happens to visit us, please don't be surprised when you hear someone tells you that "pantat saya sakit". He is not being obscene or rude; rather he is just speaking Bahasa Melayu like how it was originally spoken.

West Malaysian doctors who're posted here in Sabah might be shocked if a woman patient said, "Doctor, saya takut kena jarum (suntik) di pantat!".


Apple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hakim Bin Luqman said...

Hahah so true! I discovered the meaning of "pantat" as known by the western Malaysian only when I got into a similar situation myself.

dj7dj7 said...

Very interesting, TQ! My family (Eurasian) originates from Penang. My mother spoke a different Bahasa Melayu compared to what I learnt in school (Bahasa Malaysia). I was brought up with pantat meaning buttocks and words like kemarin, bilang, sering, trikha, rakus, words that we rarely, if ever, used in school.

Cornelius said...

Thank you for your comment, dj7dj7.

The true Malay meaning of "Pantat" is the one that your mother had taught you. The kind of Malay that we learn in school is Bahasa Malaysia, not really Bahasa Melayu. Essentially, it is perhaps 90% the same, but some words are used differently.

When I was a boy, my grandmother used proverbs like "Mulut macam pantat ayam"; and here again, that word "pantat" takes the meaning of buttocks. "Hitam macam pantat kuali", would therefore mean "black like the bottom of a wok"

Apart from vocabulary, there is also a bit of difference in pronunciation. The original Melayu pronounces based on "baku", meaning the sound of "a" is the same regardless of its location in a word. But for Bahasa Malaysia, the sound of the letter "a" changes based on its location in a word. So, for example, in Sabah - where we speak Melayu - we would pronounce SAYA (sound of first and second A the same). But for the West Malaysians, they would pronounce it as SAYE (the sound of the second A becomes an interim between A and E).