Thursday, 24 November 2011

Give it back

I am still on the subject of Malay proverbs, this time touching on the short phrase form known as Simpulan Bahasa. The phrase I choose today is buruk siku. There seems to be no direct or proper translation for this idiom, nor is there an equivalent English saying that I can think of.

`Buruk' can be translated to bad, decayed, foul or worn out. `Siku' is literally the elbow but can sometimes be used to refer to a sharp corner or edge. The direct translation of `bad elbow' is not correct because in Malay, the adjective normally follows the noun. However the order is reversed when the words are used as an idiom. A few other examples : keras kepala, buah hati and panjang tangan.

The meaning of buruk siku is asking a recipient to return something that was previously given. Don't ask me why the human elbow is connected to such deplorable behaviour. I've tried to research the origin of this simpulan bahasa but have not been successful so far. In fact, I have yet to find a website or book that explains the origin of Malay sayings.

Anyway, why am I talking of this phrase? Because it aptly describes the extraordinary action of the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) in revoking the Best Song award given to singer/songwriter Yuna during the 18th Anugerah Industry Music (AIM) ceremony held almost 2 weeks ago. Read the news report on Malaysian Insider here -> Yuna loses award.

It seems that RIM and their professional auditors made a blunder while tallying up the scores for the best song. Apparently, the winning song should have been Anuar Zain's Sedetik Lebih.

Maybe Sedetik Lebih is a better song than Penakut.... it doesn't matter to me because I like both songs, but it goes to show that even experienced professionals make the most basic of mistakes.

I feel sorry for Yuna because I know she is very talented. I was lucky enough to watch her perform live during an impromptu session some time last year. My friend invited me to join him and his staff for a simple company dinner at a restaurant in Subang Jaya. This restaurant has a small stage where live music is performed. My friend also invited Yuna's father who is his friend from student days. Yuna's father in turn, brought along his family but never promised if his daughter is willing to sing. The young lady was sporting enough to come on stage and entertain us with 4 songs, including her famous debut hit, Dan Sebenarnya.

Adakah perasaan benci ini sebenarnya.... cinta...
With her young fans...

Don't fret too much about the buruk siku action of RIM, young lady. With your kembang sayap efforts to popularise your music overseas, I am sure you'll go very far.


mamasita said...

Yuna is a very sweet and such a darling looking young lady...combined with her other notable musical talents, I agree..she will become extremely popular soon..InsyaAllah.

Oldstock said...

When my friend first told his office staff that Yuna may turn up for the dinner, they became quite excited. And when she did turn up and obliged us with some songs, it became quite a memorable nite.

Noir said...

i think Yuna is a unique talent.

'buruk siku' antara idioms yang up till now i'm finding hard to comprehend... hehe

Oldstock, keep the pictures of serenity them.

btw, i share your movie favourites :}

Cara Lim said...

Salam Mr Oldstock,

Actually I was extremely disgusted that things such as this can happened. After all, it is not like the first time such event is being held. But kudos to Yuna for being so gracious about the whole thing - a mark of a true professional!!

BTW, buruk siku - assuming I received say, some gifts and I dun quite like the colour etc of maybe 1-2 of them. If I were to repackaged these and give them away as gifts to another person, does this fall under the "buruk siku" definition? :D

VersedAnggerik said...

Look at it this way. At least the auditors owned up to their mistake abt the wrong tally and worked to restore the trophy back to the rightful owner.

Yes, pity Yuna, in that process, she has to relinquish it.

But have any of our leaders owned up to their mistakes and offered to return back what is not theirs that they have took?

I an era of denial, someone owning up to their mistake, is so refreshing.

Sorry if I ramble as if I'm on illegal substance here. Its just, frustration with the country's scenario is sometimes so thick that U just have to blurt it out, on other people's page....

Wan Sharif said...

I am not sure which is nicer..
you searching for the origin of simpulan bahasa or the dinner with Yuna singing.. ;)

Pat said...

Yuna is an amazing talent and I am so sad that something like this had to happen to her.

She has a wonderful husky voice, and I love her whether she's singing in English or in Malay - she's extraordinarily wonderful at both!

I hope she takes it in her stride and understands that these stupid awards mean nothing in reality. I doubt they are fair, and I seriously doubt they are judged by people who really know how to tell their ears from their elbows - be they buruk or not! Yes, I am being spiteful and less-than-fair, but that's just how I feel.

I so look forward to hearing a lot more from this young talent!

Oldstock said...


Buruk siku is amongst the few Malay idioms that really puzzle me because I cannot understand the logic of it in the first place. Kalau `buah hati', `panjang tangan' atau `kaki bangku' boleh la jugak kita gambarkan, ye tak?

Try this one and see if you understand : bajak wangkang. Beats me what it means, either literally or as an idiom.

Oldstock said...

Hi Cara @ Andrea! Good to see that you are back.

The question that you asked... that action does not fall under the buruk siku definition, because you are giving away what you have received at your own choice. Buruk siku applies to the person who is asking back from the recipient the item that he/she has given.

Oldstock said...

Verse, you on a boil, my friend? Hehehe... let's chill :-)

Yeah, I guess RIM and the auditors have no choice but to admit that they have made a mistake. Not admitting would've been even worse.

And I don't think it's hurting Yuna any one bit...

Oldstock said...

Ayoh Wang,

Dinner with Yuna was great. Searching for origin of peribahasa is a pain. Heheh....

Oldstock said...


I am sure Yuna will cope with this situation well enough. Having met her in person, I think she's a pretty down-to-earth sort of gal. She will win more awards pretty soon.