Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strong words.

Some words and phrases in Malay to me, carry such a strong image. Once a friend asked me what swear words there are in Malay, but I couldn't say them because they sounded so vulgar to me in my own head. Even though he probably would not understand them, I couldn't even say it.

One example of a phrase that I often heard in religious class and situations back in Singapore is "gaul bebas" - literally it means 'free mixing'. It refers to the interaction of girls and boys, women and men, without boundaries. As for the nature of these boundaries, feel free to set them in your mind because they have never been specified to me.

Perhaps no standing within 2m of a person from the opposite sex? Not looking down when speaking? Shaking hands? Eating or drinking at the same table? Having a conversation about the weather? Hugging?

This phrase is used to encourage gender segregation in order to avoid the perils of 'free mixing' - which seems to inevitable leads to all kinds of sins, big and small.

Another powerful word (at least in my head) is "bersubahat" - literally means 'being an accomplice of' or 'abetting'. I've heard this word in the context of positive actions (e.g. working as a supermarket cashier means you are abetting the sale of alcohol) and also negative actions (e.g. not telling someone they are doing something wrong means you are an accomplice of the wrong act).

This word connotes crime. So if you do not stop a crime, you are an accomplice. If you do not directly commit the crime, you are also an accomplice. Apa lagi if you commit the crime itself, right.

http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/042809/words-cant-describe.gif

Anyway, I'm in Discourse Analysis mode and my mind is wandering. The point of this post was just to point out how words can carry strong meanings and strong images (:

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