Friday, February 09, 2018


Malaysian Access - Rafizi Ramli Kaki Auta:

take a break mate and have a KitKat, this post is NOT about you, wakakaka 

one of my faves 

No, I'm not commenting on Rafizi Ramli's conviction of 30 months, and not 30 years as TMI had erroneously reported, which I blogged as
Fake news on Rafizi Ramli's sentence?.

Apart from coming across, for me, a new media portal, to wit, Malaysian Access, I have been far more interested in the news article's use of the word 'auta'.

Of course I know what it means as I heard it mentioned of often by my late father, his brothers (Uncs) and their mateys. I haven't heard it for ages since my dad passed away.

'Auta' have been usually used, just as an example in the following way:

Jangan auta - don't bullshit

Pandai auta - good at bullshitting

Ee tua auta (Penang Hokkien) - he is a big bullshitter


It set me wondering what would be the origin of this word - okay, I'll come to this in a wee while.

'Auta' is not unlike another oldie word my dad and mates used to say, namely, 'poloma'.

It seem 'auta' and 'poloma' mean the same but yet not the same. By the way, you won't get 'poloma' in the dictionary but you may 'auta' if you use a good Malay lexicon. Thus my blog KTemoc Kongsamkok is probably the only place to get a (slightly) in-depth discussion of 'poloma'.

OK, let's review what we know and have discussed about 'poloma'. In March 2015, when I first posted about 'poloma', with a request for my visitors to help throw some light on its etymology, Kampong Lad had been of enormous help.

He kindly explained that ‘poloma’ was derived from the English word ‘diploma’, which the north-western Malays (Penangites, Kedahans) then transformed into a colloquial term, with deliberate mispronunciation of ‘diploma’ as ‘dia pelemah’.

‘Dia pelemah’ in north-western Malay colloquialism means ‘he bullshits’, wakakaka, or perhaps 'dia tembak kau kau', wakakaka again - somewhat like 'auta'.

It does sound logical as it’s known many elderly and thus traditionally conservative villagers (of all Malaysian races) frown on young upstarts with college or university degrees (diplomas) as being too-clever-by-half Mr Know-it-all, wakakaka. In fact there are a few of them right now in Selangor, wakakaka again.

I gather from a Malay dictionary that ‘pelemah’ means something (or someone) who weakens or stupefies.

Thus if we take my attempt to analyse the metamorphosis of 'diploma' into 'dia pelemah' one step further, we could argue that the word ‘diploma’ (of young Mr Know-it-all
 upstarts) encapsulates all the village elders' suspicions about, and consequential but mild and kindly dismissal of the holder of such a certificates as harmless bullshitters, wakakaka. Thus ‘dia pelemah’ means exactly that!

I am quite tempted to say 'dia pelemah' would almost be akin to 'lawyer burok' (barrack room lawyers), but no, it's not quite the same as per the English meaning.

Mind you, the term 'lawyer burok' in Peninsular Malaysian colloquial usage could well be used to describe and dismiss the subject as an argumentative bag of air, wakakaka, which would then approximates though not equal the meaning of 'poloma'.

And thanks to Chinese mispronunciation, wakakaka, ‘dia pelemah’ became the delightful ‘poloma’ as we know of it.

Kampong Lad also confirmed my belief that ‘poloma’, though meaning ‘bullshit’ or ‘bullshitting’, has no ulterior or sinister motive in its usage. It has a more innocent intention of boasting-bragging just for boasting-bragging's sake, and not to deceive with sinister objectives.

And he additionally confirmed ‘poloma’ is used mainly in north-western Malaya.

Thus I can now confirm ‘poloma’ has been derived from the Malay language which in turn took it from the English word 'diploma', but of course with the Chinese (Penang Hokkiens) mangling up the pronunciation - what a delightful series of transformation.

And I hope north-western Malayans especially Penangites will ensure usage of 'poloma' does not become a forgotten colloquialism.

However, in my memory and knowledge of its usage, 'auta' differs slightly from 'poloma' in that it ('auta') could have an ulterior or sinister motive. Sometimes like 'poloma' it has just an innocent objective of boasting-bragging just for boasting-bragging's sake, but alas, most times 'auta' is meant to deceive a la 'chong' someone. By the by, 'chong' also means to deceive.

'Auta' also differs from 'poloma' in that it can be found in a good old-fashion Malay-English Dictionary like one compiled by Richard Olaf Winstedt, first published in 1957, wakakaka.

Wikipedia has this to say of Winstedt:

Winstedt was born in Oxford and educated at Magdalen College School and New College, Oxford, from which he received an MA. His brother was Eric Otto Winstedt, a Latinist and gypsiologist.

In 1902 he became a cadet in the Federated Malay States Civil Service, and was posted to Perak where he studied Malay language and culture. In 1913 he was appointed District Officer in Kuala Pilah, and in 1916 appointed to the Education Department. In 1920 he received his DLitt degree from Oxford. He married Sarah Winstedt, a physician and surgeon with the Colonial Medical Service whom he had met in Kuala Pilah, in 1921.

He served as the first President of Raffles College, Singapore, 1928–1931. During his presidency, he also served as acting Secretary to the High Commissioner, 1923, Director of Education for Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States (FMS), as a member of Legislative Council, Straits Settlements, 1924–1931 and as a member of the FMS Federal Council, 1927–1931.

He was president of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1927, 1929 and 1931. After a term as General Adviser to Johore, 1931–1935, Winstedt retired from the Malayan Civil Service.

He returned to England and was appointed Lecturer, then Reader, and ultimately Honorary Fellow, in Malay at the School of Oriental Studies in London, where he also served as a member of the Governing Body, 1939–1959. During World War II, he broadcast in Malay to Japanese-occupied Malaya. He retired from active teaching in 1946.

According to Winstedt Dictionary, 'auta' means 'bluff' or 'trickery', the latter confirming my point that it ('auta') could have an ulterior or sinister motive in its usage.

Winstedt traced its origin(s) to Hindustani, Penang and Johor. I am inclined to think it was originally a Hindustani word and definitely is used widely in Penang though I am not sure about Johor. Did transformation (or Chinese mangling, wakakaka) of the original Hindustani word take place in Penang as did 'poloma'?

Incidentally, the word Hindustani threw me off for a while because I would have thought Winstedt meant Hindi. While I do know about Hindustani as the adjective to Hindu or Hindustan, as in Hindustani movies, which BTW, Anwar Ibrahim is reputed to love, I wasn't too sure about it being an Indian language.

On checking our dictionary I found that Hindustani means:

'a standard language and lingua franca of northern India based on a dialect of Western Hindi spoken around Delhi'.

Then I check that Hindi means:

1. the most widely spoken of the modern Indic vernaculars, especially its best-known variety, Western Hindi.

2. a literary language derived from Hindustani, used by Hindus.

OK, is Hindi derived from Hindustani or vice versa? By now I am totally bingung with this confusion over Hindustani and Hindi, wakakaka.

But on pursuing the issue in Wikipedia, I found that Hindustani is the lingua fanca of North India and Pakistan. The language incorporates a large amount of vocabulary from Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic.

It is a pluricentric language, with two official forms, Modern Standard Hindi and Modern Standard Urdu.

So there you have it, wakakaka.

Related: Poloma


  1. Replies
    1. You disappoint me by your criticism of me in a non-political post, thus showing an intrinsic hatred for me

    2. Fear leads to anger.
      Anger leads to hate.
      Hate leads to suffering.
      Suffering leads, to the Dark Side.

  2. This sotong deserves much more than even 30 years for what he did to those Muslims he mislead to withdraw their money from TH, and hence their turn to perform Haj.

    He will ultimately be made answerable to his god.

    1. I will, when the time comes. I will die a free man. Becoz I will not have the guilt conscious of being the person that mislead them from their path towards their god.
      If you know how important Haj is to a Muslim, you too will agree with me.

    2. Of course u WILL, with yr syirik-ic mind.

      U call that free??

      Wakakakaka...No wonder u still buying those slavery clauses propagated by that zombieic doctrines.

    3. Syirik? As in Islam?
      Sorry dude. Not a Muslim.

      Not religious either but a believer there is a GOD. That allows me to deepen my understanding of various religion without the presumptive biases of a religious person.

      My personal take is, respect for each religion and their idiosyncrasy. Each has their beauty and their flaws, but to turn them away or tempt them to astray, is a sin all religion abhors.