The King and I

Growing up, I used to wonder why my parents really insisted on me speaking in Kelantanese dialect, even when I didn’t want to. Their reason was because the language was their mother tongue and they made it their responsibility to preserve it. They continuously persuaded me to speak and also taught my younger brother and sister, who can now speak the dialect fluently. I quote what my parents said:

“We would be proud to have a child that goes back to their home country and confidently speaks to the local people in their dialect. It would be rude to say ‘Oh sorry, love. I was born and bred in England and I can’t understand a word that you are saying or speak your language.’ And that, my child, is very disrespectful!”

Despite the endless support which was given by my parents, I used to hate meeting other Malaysians in the UK. They made fun of me when I spoke Malay because I was speaking in Kelantanese dialect. I am not talking about kids, I am talking about adults. Most of them had children the same age as me or even older. They laughed at each and every word that came out of my mouth. As a result of that, my confidence to continue speaking Malay was killed and that added to my refusal to speak the language. I questioned a lot, “Why did people make fun of Kelantanese dialect?” but the answer remained a mystery.

Time passed and now I am 10 years old. My parents didn’t stop telling me stories about Malaysia. One day, I heard my parents talking about His Majesty, the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V. He sounded like an extremely humble, down-to-earth person. I heard many captivating stories about him and his virtuous qualities. He behaves like a common man and prefers to go out without any bodyguards. When a big flood hit Kelantan in 2014, His Majesty rushed out in his truck without anyone accompanying him and aided those in need. He is also occasionally seen voluntarily digging graves with common people. This marvellous Sultan regularly visits mosque and doesn’t claim a special place for himself in the front line. Sometimes, he even leads the prayer himself. He loves his people and wants to be close to their heart, especially on religious occasions. So for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, he opens his palace to the public to let people pray and read Quran all night long. And on Eid ul-Adha, he performs the slaughtering duties himself. To add to his brilliance, he changed the King’s regal salutation from ‘Daulat Tuanku’ (Long Live the King) to ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) as he is a religious man and strongly upholds his religion. He really is a modest, meek ruler who doesn’t mind to get his hands dirty and is caring about his people.

Finding out that he did all of these wonderful things made me adore him even more. I soon found out that His Majesty was going to be coronated as Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (the King of Malaysia) and that made me look up to him even more! I was motivated and started to regain my confidence in speaking Malay. If the King of Malaysia can speak in Kelantanese dialect, then why can’t I? Thank you for inspiring me, Your Majesty, a boy in a foreign land! You are one in a million! So let His Majesty be an example to all of us! Be gratified of who you are, never be ashamed of your roots and your dialect but always remember to remain humble so that Together We Can Change The World! NOW I CAN SAY THAT MY NAME IS OMAR MUKHTAR BIN OMAR MUKHLIS AND I AM A PROUD KELANTANESE FROM MALAYSIA!

Written by The Pawsome Lion on 24/04/2017 in conjunction with the coronation of the country’s sovereign, Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

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Khun Yai Thi Rak Khong Phom!

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Sawaddee Khrap! Sabai dee mai khrap? 😀

If you’ve read my post last night, then you might have noticed that I had a cold from the sneezing and what not. Today, I was feeling worse, so I had to miss a day of school. I bet everyone in Hazel must be missing me loads! Missing a day of school is like the end of the world for me!! 😦

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When I woke up, I had a runny nose, itchy eyes and a nasty cough. I was struggling to get out of bed. Then it hit me!!! If my grandma was here, she would’ve definitely cooked some special food to comfort me. 😦 When it comes to moments like this, I wish that khun yai thi rak khong phom (my beloved grandma) was here to take care of me. It’s the worst feeling ever! 😦

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Khun yai thi rak khong phom is originally from Phetchaburi, Thailand. I call her Dadijee/Dadi. She is famous for her “magic touch” in the kitchen! 😉 Whenever she cooks, there will definitely be some love sprinkled onto the food. So, I guarantee that it will be the best food that you will ever eat!! Whenever she’s around, the table will be full of mouth-watering food cooked by her with love. Even Mr Dad’s and Mrs Mom’s friends love her food so much and whenever she leaves, they will be crying their eyes out. 😀 But what to do, because she hates winter so much! It’s going to be a while until we can finally say Sawaddee Khrap to summer!! 🙂

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Thanks to khun yai thi rak khong phom, almost everyone in the family inherits her “magic touch”! Khun pu thi rak khong phom (my beloved grandpa) makes the best Milo in the world! Both Dr Auntie and Mr OCD Uncle are very skilled when it comes to cooking traditional Thai food, just like khun yai thi rak khong phom. But, Mrs Mom is a little different. She can take traditional recipes and put a modern twist to them too! Even my Uncle Pawsome is a cook-a-holic! He makes the best fried noodles in the world!! The most skilled cook in the family kitchen is my Auntie Kawaii. She is a professional baker that has supplied cakes for weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc. Even my pawsome self loves cooking too! I can still remember when I was two and Uncle Pawsome bought me a mini kitchen for my birthday.

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Now, back to khun yai thi rak khong phom. I’m being very emotional today due to my illness. I am craving for KHANUM BUA LOI!!! It’s my all time favourite Thai dessert made by khun yai thi rak khong phom. Khanum Bua Loi is a traditional Thai dessert which is tiny rice ball dumplings served in sweet and fragrant coconut milk. Khanum Bua Loi means ‘Floating Lotus’. But my version is different. Because of it’s look, I translated it into the English language as Floating Pearls. Hmm, sounds very appetising. Sometimes, when khun yai thi rak khong phom comes over to visit me, we make Khanum Bua Loi together. And when she’s not here, I make it with Dr. Auntie and no matter who I make it with, it’s great fun. If you pawsome peeps want to make it too, here’s the video for the recipe:

As I was doing my research for Khanum Bua Loi, I came across a folk tale related to this favourite dessert of mine. Once, there was a poor couple who were expecting a baby. The wife wanted to help her husband earn some money, so she started making Khanum Bua Loi to be sold at the Bangkok-Noi Canal. One day, a terrible accident happened and she fell into the canal while rowing her boat. Her husband searched for her for many days until one day, her body was found floating, stuck at the steps of a temple. Then, her body was kept inside the temple. Many people would come and visit her grave to ask for a hint of lottery and lots of people have actually won it. Days later, her body was stolen from her grave and disappeared forever!

Thai Version: Khun Yai Thi Rak Khong Phom

Khun yai thi rak khong phom,

Laew Khanum Bua Loi,

Mai mee khrai thi saamad ca yaek dai,

Si daeng, si lerng, si khiew, si namngen,

Ya lerm si muang duai!

Yai laea khanad lek,

San laea sung,

Khanum wan samlap thuk khon!

Khun yai thi rak khong phom, 

Thur pen phuying Thai thi mok som,

Mii marayat thi dii,

Thur pen khun yai thi dii thi sut,

Thur tham ahaan thi dii thi sut,

Thur pen khru soan yoga thi di thi sut duai,

Khun yai thi rak khong phom,

Thur mii khunaphap thii yai dee,

Thii thuk khon mai saamad tanthan,

Thuk khon yak kin ahaan aroi thi yai tham!

Khun yai thi rak khong phom,

Phom rak khun yai maak cing cing nah khrap!!!

English Translation: My Beloved Grandma

My beloved grandma,

And floating lotus,

You can’t separate them,

Red, yellow, green and blue,

Don’t forget the purple too!

Big and small,

Short and tall,

A yummy treat for everyone!

My beloved grandma,

She’s a proper Thai lady,

With good manners,

She’s the best grandma ever,

She makes good food,

She’s a great yoga teacher too!

My beloved grandma,

You’ve got so many good qualities,

That everybody can’t resist,

To take a bite out of your food that so delish!

My beloved grandma,

I love you so much!!!

p/s: Khobkhun maak khun yai thi rak khong phom!

p/p/s: Thank you Mrs Mom for helping to translate my poem to Thai language. Phom rak khun mae maak thi sud nai lok!!

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*Media Source: Google Images & Youtube*