Hokkien Penangites called these creatures … er ... well, this is where I get confused over possible terminological pedantry.
For Penangites, the local convention is that a toad is usually referred to as 'katak-puroo' (derived no doubt from Bahasa … er …?), ...
reminds me of someone in Kelantan, wakakaka
... while a frog would be distinguished by the term ‘chooi-kay’ or water fowl, indicating the frogs taste like chicken - yummy, my memory brings forth scenes from Gurun, Kedah.
The Hokkien word for chook, ‘kay’, is also a Chinese colloquialism for ‘prostitute’ ...
… which takes us to some frog facts a friend has recently revealed to me.
Very quickly now - the biggest type of frog is the Goliath frog (Conraua goliath) from Cameroon, West Africa where its body can reach the size of 30 cm long and weigh about 3 and one-half kilos, like a huge housecat! Thus its legs are also around 30 cm long - eat your
hearts froggie legs out, Gurun ;-)
Forget about the smallest frog because there are two still battling for that title, with one discovered only in recent times, thus not even having a (common) name other than a scientific one in Latin.
But what thrilled me was the discovery that the most expensive katak or 'chooi KAY' in the world costs RM3 mil each. And these lompat-ish slimy amphibians are found in East Malaysia. Amazing!
So RM90 mil will get you 30, and that’s considered cheap in every sense of the word – ‘cheap’ as of shoddy value or very low class, that is! Wakakaka.
So if you want a …. er … wait, what does one call a group of katak or frogs?
Well, I knew that a group of lions is called a ‘pride’ but that’s not a word I thought would be used here in this particular post, when we have been more familiar with, say, a 'nest' of vipers.
Hmmm, I didn’t realise we have a ‘cackle’ of hyenas ..... perhaps because they cackle rather than laugh?
Hyenas! Aisehman, what sort of mental associations those cackling beasts evoke in us? Craven coward scavengers, sneaky treacherous predators, etc?
Then .... hey, when I read about a ‘streak’ of tigers, I thought I might have a handle on how these group descriptors were originally arrived at Indeed, who else is streaky but Sang Belang!
Perhaps ‘leap’ then for frogs?
But no, I was informed that we couldn't have a ‘leap’ of frogs but a ‘leap’ of leopards – you know, those critters which don’t/can’t change their spots. Like their cousins, the Tok Belang’s, they’re carnivorous, dangerously sneaky and unlikely to be
But anyway, I eventually arrived at the sought-after answers - a group of toads is a ‘knot’ while a group of frogs is an ‘army’!
Yes, RM90 mil for an army of 30 East Malaysian kataks or chooi KAY’s.
Now, I'm afraid one of my kampung (village) uncles is not very literate but quite naughtily humorous, so I fear he is likely to translate an army of 30 chooi KAY’s into an army of 'water prostitutes' or less literally and more correctly, 30 'prostitutes from across the sea'. Naughty Unc ;-)
'K lah, 'nuff of kataks, my friend and I then invariably moved on to the elections where we continued our post mortem ;-) of erstwhile MCA and Gerakan lawmakers.
It suddenly dawned on us how close the DAP-PKR-PAS group was to winning a simple majority, to form government ... gasp!
Oh BTW, what does one call a group of parliamentarians?
If one group descriptor for cats, yes, the smaller cousin of the leopards, is a 'parliament' (with wild cats, it's appropriately a 'destruction'), then perhaps we may get a ... hmmm ... er ... 'treachery' of parliamentarians?
Ridiculous? Not so, when we have a 'murder' of crows, a 'shrewdness' of apes, a 'stubbornness' of rhinos, an 'obstinacy' of buffaloes, an 'unkindness' of ravens (I wonder how this one came about), and I even found another besides 'streak' for Pak Belang, an 'ambush'!
OK, back to politics - There are 222 seats in federal parliament. Therefore a simple majority is 112.
DAP-PKR-PAS combined won 82, just a few ... gasp again ... seats short of 112.
PKR is of course the leader of the pack* with 31 federal seats, whilst DAP follows a close second with 28, and PAS wraps up the 82 with its 23.
* another group descriptor
By the by, how many of those 31 PKR federal seats are really held by PKR members?
Yes, how many had to contest under the PKR banner because their political parties haven’t been (weren't allowed to be) registered or who has no party to speak of prior to the election. A typical example of the second group would be former DAP member Wee.
The highest profile MP contesting under the PKR banner who isn't a PKR member is of course Dr Jeyakumar of PSM who toppled Humpty Dumpty in the latter’s once-impenetrable fortress of Sungai Siput.
I have read a Malaysiakini interview with Dr Jeya who clarified his unique position as a PSM candidate contesting under a PKR banner but I couldn’t find that article again. Damn!
Anyway ... maybe my next trip will be to Gurun for a plate of frog legs stir-fried in garlic, ginger and spring onions, all down with an aw kau (Guinness stout) - those poor kataks won't be leaping anywhere for sure.