The Elusive Air

July 10, 2008 at 8:46 pm 1 comment

My brother shared with me yesterday how different cultures perceive the effect of air on crispy biscuits. For the Malays, biscuits lose their crispness because of masuk angin (air has entered). The Hokkiens look at it differently for they say it is due to lau hong (releasing of air).

When air is released from one’s body, it can be released via the mouth or the alimentary canal. The air that is released from the mouth is pretty much affected by the onomatopoeic influence. Malays call it sendawa. Hokkiens call it pak ok. And the English burp or belch.

However it’s a different matter when it’s released via the other end. The Malays prefer the onomatopoeia kentut. Respectable English speakers refer to the act as breaking wind (because of the explosive sound). Hokkiens are more euphemistic for they call it pang pui (releasing of air) with no allusion to whatever sound.

I think I’d better stop now lest I be called a windbag.


Entry filed under: Lang Kong (So they say). Tags: .

How many in a couple? Malaysian English

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Periwinkles  |  September 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Tut tut… Cheetut

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