Friday, February 6, 2009


(Republished from another blog for friends who have not read it yet)
Terengganu- speaking folks use panah sok oh to describe uncomfortably hot weather. What is sok oh? The answer will come later. First, my question:
How often do you see your Class Monitor after leaving school? Our friendly and likable Class Monitor was Hj. Mohd Nor Bakar affectionately known by all and sundry in our school as Mat Nong Jawa. How he got his "Jawa" tag remained a mystery. Some of my classmates have not met Mat Nong since leaving school. Some met him at our Class Reunion over 10 years ago.

Thus when Mat Nong came down to KL from Kuala Terengganu we decided to have lunch with him. Only 6 of the classmates made it to the Lake Club on Saturday. Since Mat Nong was also part of my first band "The Arjuna" (he was the drummer), I invited another member, Adnan Othman, our junior, to come along.

(Back row L-R) Kolonel Bersara Shafieq, Shamsuddin Jaafar (School Head Boy), Adnan Othman, Mohd Som
(Front row) Mat Nong, Shamsudin Zahid, Yem Al-Qudsi, TMA.

During lunch Som asked me why my blog does not deal with Terengganu words any more. I did not tell him that the primary reason was that Awang Goneng is already doing an excellent job in that area. When not giving us insightful peeks into the history of Terengganu, Awang Goneng explained Terengganu words precisely and elegantly. For someone as inadequate as I am, it would be foolhardy to duplicate what he is doing.

Just to soothe Som (he is the only classmate in KL regularly following my blog) I asked him whether he knows the origin of panah sok oh. Som, like many Terengganu folks had no clue whatsoever. So I told him.

Panah sok oh is when the weather is so humidly hot and uncomfortable that you want to divest yourself of all clothings. You want to strip down to your kain pelikat (sarong) or, depending on your company, to your underwear, be it a Jockey thongs, boxer shorts or striped seluo katok ( a home-made version of the boxers). It is that hot. But where does the sok oh come from?

Just like mat salleh came from Mad Sailors and ropa came from rolled pie, sok oh was attributed to Englishmen who had to endure Terengganu weather. Being prim and proper, the only thing they dared to take off in the sweltering heat were their socks. So there were shouts of "socks off!" from Kemaman to Kuala Besut during the hot season. Thus, to their Terengganu eavesdroppers "sock off" became sok oh and became assimilated into the Terengganu vocabulary.

I credit this discovery to my good friend Mat Jali, who as far as I can remember, would never wear socks. He is a cool dude.

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