having this unique experience of hanging out with people younger than myself ever since i left university allows me to notice the evolution of bahasa pasar among malaysian teens / twenty-somethings.

when i was in boarding school, we had our own slang words, like piak for smoking, ghanjo (as in perak-speak for ranjau) to describe misfortune, chinggay for girls, ragak for ringgit and so forth (this was brought about by a prominent kutu in school who happened to be an ipoh kid). such colloquialisms were often brought forward to university days. different boarding school kids usually would have their own slang words – taking the smoking model further: skom in MCKK and lados in ?STAR / SAS. also, whilst most of the slang words used in school had existed since time immemorial, some words varied according to the different batches.

pejoratives would undergo some form of lingual mutation, to permit open usage in front of older folk. yeah, we now had siut, babeng, tieng, cibet and many more! more innocent words like cun (great, pretty – depending on context) still exist today but as the years went by, i found that i needed to play catch up.

fast forward five years post-graduation, i learnt of the word peergh, which was the new huiyo then (peergh… tere siut!). then that was that word skema which meant nerd / lurus bendul (gila skema mamat tu – rambut belah tepi). not only you get bastardisations of the spoken word, written bahasa pasar was also modified. apparently first seen in the realms of IRC chat rooms, words were spelt pretty much phonetically. kind of. examples: cantik arr, aper khabar semua?, memang ler, gilerr. see what i mean? i’m afraid these additional R’s get my goat. a bit. haha.

a lot of the current crop of university students (fast forward ten years) i know now, use ek eleh, a kind of laaa…. (ek eleh… macam tu rupanya). hampeh is another one (derived from hampas, or scum). a friend of mine once told me that the usage of these new words were most likely due to comics the likes of ujang and apo!, two popular mags akin to gila-gila (is this still in circulation?). ya, that shows how much of an otai i really am (otai is actually derived from old timer – commonly used amongst the kids in the underground music scene of the 90’s, usually used to describe seasoned musicians from the 80’s like search and lefthanded). then again, one could argue that the comic strips used words that were commonly used by the kids reading them in the first place! and how can i forget the ubiquitous poyo. the new ‘crap’, that is.

one word i still haven’t got to grips with is doh / dowh. as in mahal la, doh. or besar, doh. yup, calling people bodoh is pretty acceptable in this day and age.

formal bahasa malaysia has also evolved in a big way, especially since the days when DSAI was education minister. i remembered every tom, dick and harry would use the words wawasan, canggih and anggun in their BM karangans. in the same sentence, if needs be. if you asked me if i had a choice to pick a new malay buzzword i’d like to kill off, it’ll be realisasi. everyone tries to fit in merealisasikan in every sentence nowadays (if possible with the word glokal, also in the same sentence).

i just have two words to say for that.

poyo, doh.
this entry was inspired by a blog entry in zaim al-amin’s transcendentia, which was forwarded to me in an e-mail from the UKMMF.