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Khamis, 22 Jumadil Akhir 1435 (Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014)
 
September 26th, 2008 04:01
On Sex, Drugs and Good Manners: Raja Ali Haji as Lexicographer
On Sex, Drugs and Good Manners: Raja Ali Haji as Lexicographer

By: Jan van der Putten[1]

The first monolingual Malay dictionary was compiled by Raja Ali Haji out of concern that the Malay language and culture were in a process of ongoing degeneration. He also included words referring to sex and bodily functions so that Malays would know when and where not to use them. The dictionary is thus a refreshing alternative to somewhat Victorian-inspired dictionaries from the nineteenth century.

Dictionaries are odd phenomena.[2] They are outdated by the time they are compiled, and they are never complete. Rarely do they live up to the expectations of their users, who would like them to contain all the words of the lexicon of a certain language and who want either concise and precise definitions of words in a monolingual lexicon or exact equivalents in bilingual dictionaries. In other instances, we might look for the cultural context of a word or would like to have clear examples of that particular word in sentences, so that we can use the word in the right sense and proper context. Lexicographers implement certain kinds of strategies to compile words and choose those which will be incorporated in their dictionaries. These lexicographic strategies can be seen as ‘reflecting the attitudes of a society toward the dominant problems of the ever- changing here and now’.[3] The choice of a certain strategy by a compiler to explain the words selected from the language is predominantly determined by that person’s intellectual milieu and thus provides us with a picture of his or her ideas and environment and of the period when the work was compiled.

The word list compiled in the Moluccas in 1522 by Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian traveller who accompanied Magellan on his circumnavigation of the world, is traditionally considered as a starting point in the history of Malay bilingual lexicography. Since then, of course, many word lists and dictionaries have been published, recording different kinds of Malay regionally and chronologically. Each of them tells us something about the Malay used in a certain region at a certain time, while also reflecting the intellectual outlook of the compilers. In this context the brief discussion of bilingual Anglo-Malay lexicography by the late Jack Prentice may be taken as an illustration. According to Prentice, serious Anglo-Malay lexicography started in 1701 with Thomas Bowrey’s English–Malay and Malay–English dictionary, which was ‘expressly intended as an aid to communication between English and Malay-speaking traders, merchants and entrepreneurs’.[4] It may well be the best, and perhaps even the only, tool for reading and understanding Malay texts from the mid-seventeenth century, because it represents Malay as it was spoken in the ports of the archipelago in that era.[5] William Marsden, who published a dictionary and a grammar of Malay in 1812 from the materials he had collected during his time in Bengkulu in the late eighteenth century, can be characterised as a product of the Enlightenment whose main aim was ‘to explain Malay language and culture to the uninitiated Briton’.[6] 

However, Marsden’s dictionary might also have had its advantages for British subjects who went to the Malay world to struggle for economic profits with rivals from other nations. Later lexicographers such as Richard Wilkinson – whose Malay–English Dictionary (1901) is still an invaluable lexical resource – and Richard Winstedt were characterised by Prentice as operating in the same style as Marsden, but with more emphasis on colonial than on mercantile activities. Moreover, their definitions were often encyclopaedic in nature, providing ‘information on the linguistic, cultural, literary, historical and ecological background of the Malay-speaking world’.[7] This shift in lexicographic strategies from producing practical word lists for merchants towards publishing encyclopedic dictionaries reflects the change in political strategies deployed by the imperialist powers.

Prentice found that in the history of Malay lexicography at least one area in the vocabulary had been neglected in the dictionaries, namely words dealing with sex and bodily functions. If these words were included in a dictionary, they were often labeled as ‘obscene’ or ‘vulgar’ and very concisely explained. In other cases they were provided with an explanation that was clothed in a Latin disguise, such as pudendum muliebre (‘female genitals’) for puki (‘cunt’).[8] This, of course, had little to do with describing the lexicon of a language at a certain moment of time, but rather reflected the compiler’s moral views. It was only in 1992, when the Kamus Inggeris-Melayu Dewan to which Jack Prentice devoted much of his excellent scholarship was published, that English ‘four-letter words’ were introduced to bilingual English–Malay lexicography. In this dictionary these terms are treated as ordinary words, which are exemplified in vivid, down-to-earth contexts, such as ‘He’s been screwing his secretary for years’ (Dia telah mengongkek setiausahanya sudah bertahun-tahun).[9] 

The history of monolingual Malay lexicography is much shorter than that of bilingual works. There seems to have been no dictionary compiled by a Malay before the middle of the nineteenth century, when Raja Ali Haji worked on his monolingual Malay dictionary. This development of Malay lexicography carried out by Malays themselves appears to have resulted from the advent of indigenous printing in the Malay world and from intensified contacts between Western linguists and Malay dignitaries. An example is the monolingual dictionary, Qamus al-Mahmudiyya (Mahmud’s dictionary), compiled by Mahmud ibn almarum Abd al-Qadir al-Hindi on the initiative of the Straits Settlements School Inspector in 1893. Many entries in this dictionary reflect British modernizing influences on Malay used in the Straits Settlements, such as kuin for permaisuri (queen), and samer for musim panas (summer). The compiler apparently also wanted to provide his dictionary with a scholarly touch by giving etymological explanations to a number of entries, which resulted in the following ludicrous etymology of Majapahit, the famous Javanese kingdom that ruled over large parts of the archipelago in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: ‘Majapahit, the name of a place in Jawa called Semarang, stemming from the Arabic “min-ja-pa-ta”, which means “whoever comes will surely die, i.e. meet with disaster”’.[10] In this contribution I will focus the discussion on Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary and the lexicographic strategies implemented by the compiler of this first Malay monolingual dictionary. By doing so I will try to establish his views on Malay language and society in the mid-nineteenth century.

Raja Ali Haji (ca. 1809–ca. 1873), was a member of the ruling family residing at the island of Penyengat and a grandson of Raja Haji, the legendary Bugis viceroy of the great Malay kingdom of Johor who died in battle against the Dutch in Melaka in 1784. After the European powers had dramatically diminished the kingdom’s political authority, Raja Ali Haji, in cooperation with his father and other family members, tried to restore some of its glorious reputation by creating an image of a highly literate and Islamic devout community. Many Islamic scholars from the Middle East were invited to Penyengat and their teachings were partly disseminated through writings produced within the Malay community on this small island near Singapore. The most prolific writer was Raja Ali Haji himself, whose historical and legal treatises as well as literary works would stimulate later generations of Malay writers and other intellectuals. Apart from a history of the Bugis influence in the Malay kingdom, Tuhfat al-nafis (The precious gift),[11] written in close cooperation with his father in 1865, and several other edifying works, he also devoted his scholarly interests to the study of the Malay language.

In 1851 Raja Ali Haji finished a linguistic treatise in which he dealt with rules for spelling Malay in Jawi (Arabic) script, discussed Malay grammar by applying Arabic categories and gave some basic remarks about style and letter-writing. In the introduction to this treatise, entitled Bustanul Katibin (Garden of writers), the author gave a brief exposé on the importance of knowledge in the Islamic tradition in which theology, law and mysticism form the three most exalted sciences.[12] He continued with a discussion of speech (ilmu perkataan), on the grounds that innate refinement and courtesy originate in the first place from speech and only subsequently from conduct (adab dan sopan itu daripada tutur kata juga asalnya, kemudian baharulah pada kelakuan).[13] By doing this he indicated his ideas as to the important position of linguistics in Islamic tradition and at the same time revealed his views about the close connections between language and morals.

This notion of language as a reflection of good behaviour and high morals was also expressed by Raja Ali Haji in ‘Gurindam Dua Belas’ (The twelve gurindam [a poetical form]), a poem he wrote in 1847. In the fifth verse of that poem he endorses the idea that language was part of the concept of good behavior as well as a criterion to define Malays of good breeding: ‘If you want to know someone of good birth, look at his budi and bahasa’ (Jika hendak mengenal orang berbangsa – lihat kepada budi dan bahasa).[14] In this verse he apparently considers budi (qualities of mind and heart) and bahasa (good manners and proper language) as being complementary sides of the criterion to define the real Malay, meaning one of fine pedigree.

Malay society at the time faced the threat of encroachment by Western powers that brought other sets of moral standards in their wake. According to Raja Ali Haji, this encroachment had caused Malay culture and moral values to decline and the Malay language to fall into decay.[15] He tried to reverse that development by clinging to Malay as it was supposed to be spoken and written in the Johor triangle (Johor-Riau-Lingga), the heartland of Malay culture. Therefore, he tried to establish the rules of proper behaviour and language and wrote down the rules for spelling and some basic rules for style and letter writing. If one would not follow certain rules of Johor Malay, ‘surely all people would laugh, all people who know Malay in the Johor region, i.e. true Malay; the pronunciation of that person would be called incorrect or inappropriate and discordant or defective’.[16]

Raja Ali Haji did not stop at the effort of establishing rules on Malay writing in a grammar. Besides writing on history, law and kingship, he also worked on his monolingual dictionary until his death in the early 1870s. The dictionary came into being in close connection with his work as informant for Hermann von de Wall. This European scholar of Malay was assigned the task of compiling a standard Malay–Dutch dictionary by the Dutch colonial government in 1855. At his own request, von de Wall was sent to Riau, made his acquaintance with Raja Ali Haji and asked his assistance in the realisation of his task.[17] 

Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary was probably never finished, but the first six letters of it somehow made their way to the Al-Ahmadiah Press in Singapore, where they were published in 1927 under the title Kitab pengetahuan bahasa, yaitu kamus logat Melayu Johor Pahang Riau Lingga.[18] Although the title may have been added posthumously, the compiler himself emphasised in a letter to von de Wall that the entries in his dictionary were taken from Malay as it was used in Johor, Riau and Lingga. It would be different from the dictionary his correspondent was working on, as Raja Ali Haji would put in longer explanations and short poems in order to stimulate young Malays to study. It could also be of use to other people who were pondering on Malay words and their meanings. He wrote:

Concerning the dictionary which will be compiled, it will not be like the dictionary of my honourable friend. What I want to compile are only Malay words confined to the regions of Johor and Riau. However, I want to expand them in stories by elaborating on the concise phrases [of the explanations], in order to please the young so they will study them, and in short Malay poems. In that case it will be of use also to people who are thinking about Malay words and their meaning and who do not hail from Johor, Riau and Lingga. [19]

The result is an absolute marvel, unmatched by anything else in Malay linguistic tradition in the years to come, but much underestimated by scholars who seem to have taken only a brief look and dismissed it as ‘unsystematic’ or ‘poor in content’.[20] On cursory inspection of the dictionary, these assessments may seem understandable. Although the entries are arranged in a very systematic way, they are not in strict alphabetical order, and the reader has to get used to the arrangement before being able to use the dictionary with any success. Having mastered the system of arranging the entries and looked at the contents, however, one is torn between admiration for the wealth of information in the dictionary and irritation over its many omissions. This article is the first attempt to fully appreciate the collection of linguistic material incorporated by Raja Ali Haji in his ‘book of knowledge called kamus [dictionary]’.

From 1857 onwards Raja Ali Haji cooperated with von de Wall on the compilation of the Malay–Dutch dictionary. In the letters he sent to his European friend we find ample proof that he did not agree with the methods employed by Western scholars in their lexicographic projects. Some Malay words could not be explained in concise definitions but had to be elaborated upon to do justice to their meaning. However, von de Wall only wanted concise explanations and presumably discouraged his Malay informant from elaborating on the words with stories, although occasionally Raja Ali Haji did send detailed explanations to his European friend.[21] The European lexicographer probably also discouraged Raja Ali Haji from using Arabic grammars and dictionaries – which he apparently was inclined to do – in delineating the definitions of the words. In the course of his work Raja Ali Haji decided to compile both the concise definitions for the Malay–Dutch dictionary and elaborate explanations for a monolingual dictionary reserved for the Malays themselves. He called on von de Wall’s help to print his monolingual dictionary, but the plan somehow failed and eventually most of the manuscript was lost.[22] 

The published part of Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary is divided into three sections. The introduction or ‘Mukadimmah’ is a copy of paragraphs 11-29 of the Bustanul Katibin; it deals with word classes and syntax by applying Arabic categories to Malay phenomena. The second part, entitled ‘al-Bab al-Awal’ or ‘first section’, deals with only seven entries: ‘alif Allah’ (on God), ‘alif al-Nabi’ (on the Prophet), ‘alif Ashab’ (on his Companions), ‘alif Akhbar’ (on the most prominent Ulama), ‘alif insan’ (on the essence of mankind), ‘alif al-awali’ (on good and bad traits of man during his transient life) and ‘alif akhirat’ (on his fate after death). After these first seven entries, the third part, which is the dictionary proper, starts with the entry ombak.[23] As may be obvious from the headwords just mentioned, Raja Ali Haji gives an exposé on the foundations of Islam in the first seven words he explains; only then does he begin defining the other words. By doing so he sets forth the purpose of his teachings in the dictionary, in which religion and rules for social behaviour in harmony with Islam are his predominant concern.

If we focus on the final section of the dictionary, what immediately catches the eye are the order in which the entries are defined and the insertion of poems into the explanations of some of the words. The headwords are arranged according to the (1) initial (2) final and (3) medial letters of the word as it is spelled in Arabic script.[24] Being used to alphabetic order, we become confused when we begin to read a dictionary which starts with the entries ombak (wave), ebek (awning) and abuk (fine dust or cash).[25] This first impression notwithstanding, the entries follow a strict systematic order and, as the compiler stated in a letter to von de Wall, were systematized in bab (chapters) for headwords beginning with the same initial letter; pasal (paragraphs) for the combination of initial and final letter; furu’ (subdivisions) for the combination of initial, final and medial letter; and finally masalah (issues), in which Raja Ali Haji gives the explanation of the headword involved.[26] The three words mentioned, therefore, belong to bab alif, pasal alif-hamza and furu’ alif-ba-hamza.

One has to wonder whether this system was practical for Malays at the time, as it is based on the Arabic linguistic tradition in which roots are listed under the combination of (normally) three consonants, often leaving out the vowels. Harimurti Kridalaksana has noted that this method was a combination of the Arabic Kufa system, which lists the words under their roots according to the alphabetic order of the initial, medial and final radical (i.e., modern dictionary order), and a ‘rhyme’ arrangement, which lists roots according to their final radical. The invention of the rhyme arrangement has been ascribed to al-Jauhari, who arranged the words in his dictionary according to the final radical in chapters. Within these chapters he listed roots first according to their initial radical, and only after that according to their intermediate radicals. For example, the Arabic verb kataba (‘to write’) would be in the chapter ba, in the section of the combinations of ba and kaf. The arrangement Raja Ali Haji applied for his dictionary is exactly the opposite of Jauhari’s system, and it is not clear in either case why the compiler chose his respective method of arrangement, as neither would seem to have any clear-cut advantage over ‘modern’ alphabetic order. The latter system was in fact well established in Arabic lexicography, although the ‘rhyme’ order remained the most popular until the nineteenth century.[27] Raja Ali Haji may have invented his particular method or may have followed an unknown example.

The other eye-catching characteristic of the dictionary is the insertion of syair or narrative poems under some of the entries. The meanings of several of the approximately 1,640 headwords are illustrated in poems. Raja Ali Haji self-consciously inserted these poems to educate and provide pleasure to the younger generation of Malays so that they would be stimulated to study and appreciate their own language and knowledge would be preserved.[28] These poems primarily contain moral lessons on how man should behave and act during his life, such as in the explanation of bodoh (ignorant) and budi (intellect). Sometimes short verses are presented in which the headword or one of its meanings is mentioned, such as the entry arung (meaning both ‘to wade’ and ‘slender of waist’); the latter meaning is illustrated in the following quatrain:

Dadanya bidang pinggangnya [h]arung

Her breast is broad, her waist slender

Menentang wajahnya berahi terkurung

Looking into her face, constraining passion

Tunduk menjeling pandangan serong

Looking down ogling, a sidelong glance

Manisnya seperti sekar sekarung

Her loveliness is as a bunch of flowers[29]

The longest poem in the dictionary is the ‘syair tarak’, an elaboration on the meaning of tarak (abstinence, continence), which tells the story of a false lebai (devout person) who tries to trick women into bed with his magic. The hypocrite is deceived by a young man who dresses up like a woman and serves his apprenticeship to the lebai. Under the pretext of a powerful prayer, the youngster turns himself into a man and tricks the three daughters and the wife of the lebai into bed with him. The poem contains a funny story with many erotic or pornographic descriptions which would have evoked laughter among readers.[30] On the other hand, there is, of course, also the moral lesson not to trust people who pretend to have true wisdom. This lesson is an indication of the main objective of the dictionary: to teach people not to give in to their passions and to keep them on the straight and narrow by heeding the instructions of Islam, true teachers and parents.

In the most extensive elaboration on headwords without the insertion of a poem, Raja Ali Haji delineates the meaning of the word adab (well-mannered, well-bred, polite, refined, cultured). The explanation ranges from the position of adab in the Islamic tradition (with quotations from Arabic and references to Arabic works on the subject) to a summary of the rules on language and behavior to be observed towards God, parents, family, relatives, friends and other people. The entry is exemplary of Raja Ali Haji’s treatment of certain words important in social life in which religion played a dominant role. The majority of these words refer to negative personal characteristics that should be banned from one’s conduct if one wants to become a ‘good’ person. If one is not inclined to follow the rules in these entries, society will become increasingly disordered and hell will be one’s fate in afterlife. Therefore, one should not have love for material goods, for instance, as one would thus be inclined to forsake one’s sense of shame, which would cause a blemished reputation in this life on earth as well as danger in the hereafter. Interestingly, in his explanation of the word ogok (avaricious) Raja Ali Haji refers for a further elaboration on avarice to the entries kikir (stingy) and loba (greedy, covetous), which unfortunately are not included in the published part of the dictionary. However, it is clear that he has designated particular words to explain key issues in his delineation of Malay moral and social values.[31] 

In this delineation there is much attention to entries on arrogance, presumption, conceit and vanity, traits which should be avoided because they blind persons to true knowledge. They provoke misconduct in oneself as well as in other people (see, for instance, the explanation of takabur, arrogant) and lead to tengkaran (‘denial of teachings and advice of true people’ – tiada mengikut ajaran dan nasihat orang yang sebenarnya) and bantahan (denial). People will become ‘defiant, which is a very mean trait’ (bahasa bingal ini yaitu sifat yang kejahatan benar), for it will bring disaster to them as well as to many others:

And, above all, take heed, all of you – keep far away from this trait defiance; people have degenerated because they acted defiantly towards teachings and advice from good people to them. And rulers have seen their kingdoms destroyed, and ordinary people lost their properties and lives, and people of noble birth have become humble, humbled by people, as if a small lizard in the eyes of the people, because of their defiance and denial, the same as all the unbelievers who die in their unbelief.[32] 

Arrogance and conceit are connected with stupidity and ignorance (bebal and bodoh) – not so much a deficiency people are born with, but rather a trait evoked by arrogance and laziness. There are two sorts of ignorant people: those aware of their ignorance and willing to learn, and those who deny they are wrong because they are too arrogant and lazy to ask people who know (see explanations of bebal and bodoh). This complex of concepts constructed around arrogance and ignorance is reflected in social behaviour in the concrete shape of words, such as cabul (unseemly behaviour), janggal (inappropriate), ceroboh (boorish) and jangak (wanton).[33] 

In the explanation of these headwords the concept of adab is further delineated and cultural hybridization is explicitly presented as one of the causes of the decay in Malay traditions. Malays and Bugis were dressing inappropriately by putting on socks and shoes without any reason and by wearing Western trousers (pantalon) with their shirts tucked into their trousers, in contrast to the traditional Malay dress that consisted of a pair of trousers (seluar) with a knee-length sarong around them held up with a belt around the waist. The dress was completed by a shirt with an opening in front or closed up (baju belah dada or baju kurung), a keris and a headdress. In Raja Ali Haji’s eyes, Malays looked very handsome in the traditional dress, not fierce (bengis). However, at the time of writing he did not see Malays dressing in the traditional style any more. They were increasingly adopting European ways, sometimes even looking like children or madmen when they wore only trousers without any shirt (berseluar bulat). They also were speaking and writing words incorrectly by pronouncing pergi (to go) as ‘pigi’ or writing it as ‘perigi’. Some also imitated the defective pronunciation of Chinese who spoke of ‘udang’orolang’ instead of ‘orang’ (man). People also followed the Chinese habit of placing opium in a bamboo pipe, lighting it and inhaling the smoke (in the explanation of candu [opium]). The Malays should instead adhere to the rules laid down in the Arabic books written by great Islamic scholars such as Al-Ghazali and Syekh Ali Barkawi from Istanbul.[34] 

References to Arabic books are also found in another field of the vocabulary to which Raja Ali Haji gives full attention, namely that of sex and bodily functions. In the explanation of the word ayok (to screw) the users of the dictionary are referred to Arabic and Malay books on the subject of Adab al-jimak (art of coitus). The compiler starts the explanation of this entry by giving it the label ‘mencarut’ (obscene) and noting that it would be best to substitute another word which would imply the same thing, such as setubuh (to have sexual intercourse) or tidur (to sleep). However, he also acknowledges that ‘if one was to leave out the actual word, then one word would be missing and therefore the meaning has to be dealt with’.[35] 

Raja Ali Haji enthusiastically continues the discussion by describing the act itself and a few different positions and actions which could make it all the more enjoyable. He states that the action of ayok is finished when the man achieves orgasm and stops; however, it would be best if he continues and waits until the woman has reached a climax, too; for a more detailed discussion he refers to treatises on lovemaking in Arabic and Malay. Subsequently, he treats the derivatives berayok, mengayok, diayok, ayoklah, terayok and berayok-ayokan. By giving these forms and explaining them vividly, he reveals at the same moment that although not a very decent term, the word itself is very much in use.

The derivatives are elucidated in examples which are very lively and give one a strange sensation of peeping into a bedroom on the island of Penyengat in the middle of the nineteenth century. What to think of the illustration of berayok, for instance:

To screw, as someone said to someone else by way of whispering: ‘Why is it that the bed keeps moving?’ Answered the other softly as well: ‘Our master (father?) is banging the mistress (mother?) on the bed. Keep quiet, let’s pretend to be asleep.[36]

It is as if one has a glimpse of two children who are trying to keep quiet on one side of the bed, while on the other side ‘Mom and Dad are at it’. And it is through such illustrations, which are given in several definitions, that we are granted a rare look into the context of the words in everyday life in a Malay community. One has to look for it, as not every explanation contains such a lucid description, and must of course be cautious, for the dictionary contains the views of only one man. However, Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary is the only example we have of its kind and its contents make it a very rewarding object of study.

Under the second headword referring to the same action (amput), Raja Ali Haji clearly distinguishes it from ayok by labeling it ‘extremely coarse compared with ayok’ (terlebih kasar daripada bahasa ayok) and describing it as a word used when people are angry or trying to be offensive, as for instance in the following context:

As someone said: ‘Where are all the soldiers of the warship heading for, going ashore noisily drunk as they are and singing?’ Answered his friend: ‘Where else except to those whorehouses, in that knocking-shop they all go to fuck.’

 

Well, this is a very abusive word. But what can I do, because I want to distinguish the word from others of the same kind. If I were to illustrate it with other [less abusive] words, it would not be clear. However, he who reads this should not read it out loud, but should read it silently.[37]

The illustration shows Raja Ali Haji’s severe criticism of a phenomenon which must have been a thorn in his flesh. In the mid-1860s the harbor of Tanjung Pinang, just across the bay of Penyengat, was used as a Dutch base for warships sailing to the east coast of Sumatra to carry out punitive expeditions against insurgent rulers. Many sailors came to Tanjung Pinang to visit the brothels and other establishments on their way to and from these expeditions in Sumatra.[38] The explanation of amput is also illustrative for the context in which it is used – when one is angry or aggressive – and for the labels Raja Ali Haji provides: ‘extremely coarse’ and ‘not to be pronounced out loud’. Comparing this with the elaboration on the headword ayok (which mentions six derivatives, each with its own illustration), we may conclude that amput was much more abusive than ayok, which may have been used in ironic contexts and hilarious situations. The third headword which deals with copulation, ancuk, is treated in a sort of impersonal, clinical way. It lacks the juicy examples of ayok, being treated as a normal transitive verbal base with explanations of the six derivatives Raja Ali Haji normally mentions for these verbs.[39] 

In several instances Raja Ali Haji tries to apply Arabic word classes to Malay headwords, especially verbs, designating them as fi‘l muta‘addi (transitive verbs) or just fi‘l (verbs, for fi‘l lazim, intransitive verbs). He also designates the derivatives (mushtaqq) of those verbs as isim fa‘il (‘agent noun’) for agent-triggered ‘meN’-forms, isim maf‘ul (‘patient noun’) for patient-triggered ‘di-’ forms, fi‘l madi (past tense verb) for the passive ‘ter-’ forms of transitive verbs, fi‘l amr (imperative) for the forms combined with ‘-lah’, and fi‘l musyarakah (reciprocal verb) for a doubled root with the confix ‘ber—an’ attached to it. Interestingly enough, he designates the first two verbal forms as nouns, which he describes in Malay as the ‘person who [performs the action]’ (orang yang ...) and the ‘person who is affected [by the action]’ (orang yang kena ...).

Possibly this designation of the derivatives springs from Raja Ali Haji’s attempts to apply Arabic categories to Malay phenomena. Arabic regular verbs have three nominal derivatives: masdar (infinitive), ism al-fa‘il (noun indicating the agent) and ism al-maf‘ul (noun indicating the patient, i.e., subject of a verb in the passive voice or object of a verb in the active voice). Presumably he sees enough similarities to designate the verbal Malay forms as nominal categories and describe them as such in the explanations. So, after labeling the word as ‘obscene’ and describing the basics of the action, he continues his explanation of ancuk as follows: ‘To copulate, i.e., the man who performs the act of copulation, sitting down, lying down or standing up at the time of copulating’ (mengancuk, yaitu laki-laki yang mengerjakan akan pekerjaan ancuk itu, sambil duduk atau sambil baring atau sambil berdiri pada ketika mengancuk itu). After this follow other derived forms, each with a concise explanation in a matter-of-fact tone. Diancuk is explained as ‘the woman who allows herself to be the object of the action by the male’ (yaitu perempuan yang menahan dirinya dikerjakan oleh laki-laki), berancuk as a reciprocal action by both sides, and the other forms ancuklah and terancuk in much the same way.[40]

From these examples one might get the impression that Raja Ali Haji was obsessed with sex. However, we must keep in mind that only a small number of headwords refer to that topic; the majority of the entries deal with other words, in which the definition of good manners and morals plays a major part. One could even suggest that with the treatment of words related to sex, Raja Ali Haji implements a strategy of negatively demarcating the rules on how Malays should behave. In other words, he incorporates and elaborates on words referring to bad traits and misconduct in order to show the readers how they should not behave. This could also hold true for the words listed in the dictionary for ‘copulate’, which he labels as ‘obscene’ and warns against pronouncing out loud. However, by giving vivid explanations and elaborations on the Malay words for this action, he implicitly expresses the opinion that although these terms could be labeled ‘obscene’, they are part of the language which can be used in particular situations. Malays should know these words and when to use them. Raja Ali Haji provides his readers with contexts in which these words are used in an appropriate manner. By elaborating quite casually on them, he even suggests something to the effect that the words may be obscene but the act most certainly is not!

Raja Ali Haji’s way of dealing with the subject is in absolute contrast with the stance that Wilkinson with his Victorian morals took in his dictionary, and the Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa sometimes serves as a refreshing supplement to Wilkinson’s work. The latter is beyond doubt a sublime piece of scholarship, but sometimes the author’s Victorian-inspired lexicographic strategy colors his explanations too much, making them difficult to understand. Wilkinson’s explanation of jugi is a clear example of this: ‘a filthy love-philtre compounded of tahi wadal’. In order to understand this explanation we have to look up tahi wadal, which we eventually find under wadal (‘labia minora in the pudendum’ [sic!]), explained as ‘an ingredient in certain love-philtres’. But then, just what the love-philtre consists of becomes a mystery. And what is the epithet ‘filthy’ alluding to – the color, smell or taste (did he try it?), or to his general opinion on love potions? Whatever it may be, in tone and connotations Wilkinson’s explanation is completely opposite to the following definition of jugi by Raja Ali Haji: ‘Jugi, i.e., a medicinal application made out of different sorts of herbs and other things, which is then rubbed on the penis; it is a magic potion when it is used for sexual intercourse with a woman, it gives delight and pleasure to the woman.[41]

In this example we find something which Raja Ali Haji seems to have been very much concerned with, namely preparations that could stimulate the libido, and perhaps more explicitly, his own sexual urges. In one of his letters to von de Wall, he revealed his worries about his inability to satisfy his young concubine’s needs. His sadness about this problem made him overcome his scruples to ask the Dutchman if the physician in Tanjung Pinang had any medicines or knew of any way to stimulate his sexual urge.[42] 

In the dictionary Raja Ali Haji several times refers to stimulants or circumstances which help men to get excited. In this context we are informed that tembam (‘prominent and soft of the mons Veneris’) is very much appreciated by Malay men for it can stimulate the sexual appetite of men who have problems getting excited. The most remarkable example of references to special medicines is in his explanation of asa (hope). After confining the distribution of asa to its combination with putus (putus asa, hopeless or desperate) and after illustrating that 120-year-old men have little hope of ever fathering any children or of getting married again except in heaven, he gives the following explanation of the derived form asa-asa (having expectations):

It can be rendered with the meaning of ‘having expectations’, as one person said to the other: ‘I am surprised about Mr. So-and-so, his member has been out of order for years, and he gets angry when people say that he is unable to "perform". Now he pays the debts of a young woman, whom he says he wants to make his wife. Of course, when they are married his wife will have high expectation of him.’ Answered the other: ‘How do we know the ins and outs of the matter, for he seems cured, and is looking for two or three wives. Word has it that he went for treatment to Sheikh So-and-so, and the Sheikh ordered him to perform a good deed by reading the name of God[?] into some still water for four days after early morning prayers. Rumor has it that his sexual appetite has recovered, has returned to its old state and even has improved, apparently. When his lust rises, one can hang two young coconuts on it, with which he can walk to and fro, so they say. If this is the case, the woman will not be left with expectations.[43]

The Malay in this example is rather difficult to understand, but I do not think it leaves much doubt as to where Mr So-and-so was supposed to be able to hang the young coconuts when he became excited. One of the great merits of the dictionary is examples such as these, in which Raja Ali Haji gives a vivid, sometimes cheeky description of ordinary life in a Malay community in the mid-nineteenth century and reveals his views and concerns regarding society and his own life. It is difficult to find such descriptions in Malay bilingual dictionaries, because those works are predominantly based on literary sources and compiled by implementing other lexicographic strategies. Only in the explanations of a few headwords does Raja Ali Haji reveal external sources: ‘what old Malay people say’ (kata setengah orang-orang Melayu yang tua-tua, in the explanation of angkasa, the sky or the heavens), and ‘old words often found in hikayat’ (ini bahasa tua banyak tersebut di dalam surat hikayat-hikayat, in the explanation of berida, elderly).[44] Such words at the same time serve as labels for terms which are ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘no longer in use’. 

In a few instances he refers to these anonymous sources to distance himself from a context of which he wants no part. For instance, in the elaboration on bertapa (‘to live in seclusion and perform religious duties to get nearer to God’), he describes some magical practices which ‘he [has] heard from people’ (demikianlah yang aku dapat khabar-khabar daripada orang-orang adanya). Elsewhere he just does not know whether the information he has given is correct, as in his explanation of badak (rhinoceros), ‘whose tongue feels as sharp as an iron file when the animal licks’.[45] We can also find some references to words used by people in or from regions outside Riau-Johor, such as Minangkabau and Hulu Kuantan, or just the information that a word was not used in Johor Malay. Furthermore, there are several historical and geographical references, as well as miscellaneous bits and pieces of information on all kinds of subjects.[46]

There are many omissions, too, in Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary.[47] This fact not withstanding, the work is an invaluable encyclopedia of Malay language as it was used in Riau in the mid-nineteenth century. With its numerous descriptions, poems and elaborations it presents to us a mirror of everyday life, however fragmentary it may be.

The lexicographic strategy implemented by Raja Ali Haji in the compilation of the Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa seems clear: he felt that Malay language, culture and traditions were under threat from the influences brought by powers from abroad, as well as by the decadence of the younger generation. He therefore was compelled to delineate the rules on Malay social behavior. In contrast to contemporary Western ideas, sex apparently did not violate these rules, but was seen as an enjoyable part of everyday life, although one should be cautious in speaking about it. However, colonial rulers had more power to reshape the Malay language and culture than one Malay scholar whose monolingual dictionary was only printed more than fifty years after his death at an indigenous printing company in Singapore. Apparently, Raja Ali Haji was too conservative in his efforts to preserve Malay values and norms, while around him a new world-view was being forged by the colonial powers.[48] These powers introduced new words and concepts into Malay by way of dictionaries such as Qamus al-Mahmudiyya, which was commissioned by the British School Inspector.

Raja Ali Haji fought a losing battle by clinging to traditional values and trying to pass them on to the younger generations. In his opinion all aspects in life were governed by rules which had to be observed; otherwise absolute disorder would reign everywhere. The consequences of violating the rules of civil order were most dramatically formulated in the explanation of the entry bebas (free). After explaining the basic meaning of bebas and describing regulations and traditions which had to be observed at court, Raja Ali

Haji concludes the definition with the following exhortation, which exemplifies the objectives of the dictionary as a whole:

None of these [regulations] mentioned should be abandoned, because it would abrogate order in the world and the kingdom. Correspondingly, it would, furthermore, be unlawful to designate as ‘free’ actions which violate the law and traditions, such malicious actions as hitting and disgracing people unjustly and verbally abusing people and forcing members of someone’s group to have intercourse, especially others’ wives and daughters. All that must not be abandoned, for it would destroy religion, the world and the kingdom, as well as abrogate all punishments and regulations.[49]

------------ooOoo-------------- 

Source: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 33 (3), pp 415-430 October 2002. Printed in the United Kingdom. © 2002 The National University of Singapore



  • [1] Dr Jan van der Putten is a lecturer in Indonesian at Leiden University. His mailing address is Opleiding TCZOAO, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, Postbus 9515, 2300RA Leiden, Netherlands. His e-mail address is J.van.der.Putten@let.leidenuniv.nl
  •  [2] This article is dedicated to the late Jack Prentice. I would like to express my appreciation to Sander Adelaar, Jim Collins, Will Derks and Henk Maier for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions of the piece. The contents and any errors are, of course, my own responsibility.
  •  [3] Henry Kahane and Renée Kahane, ‘The Dictionary as Ideology. Sixteen Case Studies’, in History, Languages and Lexicographers, ed. Ladislav Zgusta (Lexicographica, Series Maior 41) (Tübingen: Niemayer, 1992), p. 20.
  •  [4] Thomas Bowrey, A Dictionary [of] English and Malayo, Malayo and English… (London: Samuel Bridge, 1701); D. J. Prentice, ‘Malay Homosexual and Other Slang’, in Bahwa inilah Tanda Kasih, ed. Jan van der Putten (Leiden: Vakgroep Talen en Culturen Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, 1994), p. 32.
  •  [5] James T. Collins, Malay, World Language. A Short History (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1998), p. 50.
  •  [6] Prentice, ‘Malay Homosexual and Other Slang’, p. 32.
  •  [7] Ibid., p. 33
  •  [8] In the English–Malay part of James Howison’s A Dictionary of the Malay Tongue… (London: J. Sewell, 1801) – which Prentice labels a ‘shameless plagiary’ of Bowrey’s work – this Latin euphemism was even inserted between the headwords beginning with the letter ‘c’. So after ‘cunning’ came ‘pudendum muliebre’, followed by ‘cup’ (Prentice, ‘Malay Homosexual and Other Slang’, pp. 33-4); Prentice’s ‘plagiary’ comment is on p. 32.
  •  [9] Kamus Inggeris Melayu Dewan; An English–Malay Dictionary (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1992), p. 1409. However, one can have serious doubts about the frequency and distribution of the word mengongkek in Malay compared to the use of words like ‘fuck’ and ‘screw’ in English. It also presents us with another problem, for while mengongkek [kongkek] is listed in this English–Malay dictionary, one fails to find it in any of the Malay–English or monolingual Malay dictionaries; the same holds true for most of the words listed by Jack Prentice in his article. In preparing a short story by Taufik Ikram Jamil for students, I came across the word lancau put in the mouth of a Chinese swearing at a street musician; Taufik Ikram Jamil, Sandiwara Hang Tuah (Jakarta: Grasindo, 1996), p. 98. Only in the words listed by Prentice did I find it explained as ‘(used by Chinese when speaking Malay): cock, dick, prick’. On the same page, by the way, we can find kongkek, glossed as ‘fuck’; Prentice, ‘Malay Homosexual and Other Slang’, p. 42.
  •  [10] Manjapahit, nama suatu tempat dalam Jawa dikata Semarang, asalnya daripada bahasa Arab “min-ja-pa-ta”, artinya “barang siapa yang datang niscaya luput yakni beroleh bencana”’; Said Mahmud ibn almarum Abd al-Qadir al-Hindi, Kamus al-Mahmudiyya (Singapura: Cetakan Kerajaan, 1893), p. 212.
  •  [11] For an English translation see The Precious Gift = Tuhfat al-Nafis, ed. and tr. Virginia Matheson and Barbara Watson Andaya (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1982).
  •  [12] Ph. S. van Ronkel, ‘De Maleische schriftleer en spraakkunst getiteld Boestanoe’l Katibina’, Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 44 (1901): 519-20.
  •  [13] Raja Ali Haji, Bustan al-katibin li-l-subyan al-muta‘allimin (Singapore: Muhammad Said, 1892), p. 7.
  •  [14] Abu Hassan Sham, Puisi-puisi Raja Ali Haji (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1993), p. 280.
  •  [15] Barbara Watson Andaya and Virginia Matheson, ‘Islamic Thought and Malay Tradition: The Writings of Raja Ali Haji of Riau (ca. 1809-ca. 1870)’, in Perceptions of the Past in Southeast Asia, ed. Anthony Reid and David Marr (Singapore: Heinemann Educational Books, 1980), p. 122.
  • [16] Niscaya tertawalah sekalian orang yang mengetahui bahasa Melayu di dalam tanah Johor ini, yaitu Melayu yang asli, dinamakanlah tutur orang itu kopi atau janggal dan canggung atau telor adanya’(Raja Ali Haji, Bustan al-katibin, p. 33).
  •  [17] For a more detailed account, see Jan van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan Persahabatan. In Everlasting Friendship. Letters from Raja Ali Haji (Leiden: University of Leiden Department of Languages and Cultures of South-East Asia and Oceania, 1995), pp. 5-8.
  •  [18] These six letters are ‘alif’,‘ba’,‘ta’,‘tha’ (representing an Arabic phoneme which was used for twelve Malay entries beginning with ‘ny’), ‘ja’ and ‘ca’. The ‘alif’, apart from being used for words beginning with /a/, can also introduce other vowels. This very rare book is not found in the major library collections so meticulously explored by Ian Proudfoot; see his Early Malay Printed Books: A Provisional Account of Materials Printed in the Singapore-Malaysia Area up to 1920, Noting Holdings in Major Public Collections (Kuala Lumpur: Academy of Malay Studies and the University of Malaya Library, 1993). Fortunately, two private collection owners have found the book important enough to republish it. Therefore, the 1927 version of the Kitab pengetahuan bahasa is now available in the romanised edition by Raja Hamzah Yunus: Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, yaitu kamus logat Melayu Johor Pahang Riau Lingga, transliterated by Raja Hamzah Yunus (Pekanbaru: Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, 1986-7). There is also a Jawi facsimile edition: Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, iaitu kamus lughat Melayu Johor-Pahang-Riau-Lingga. edisi Melayu/Jawi, ed. Haji Wan Mohd. Shaghir Abdullah (Kuala Lumpur: Khazanah Fathaniyah, 1996). Both editions have a very limited distribution. For this article I have mainly used Raja Hamzah Yunus’ transliteration, and the page numbers refer to that text; quoted passages were checked with Wan Shaghir’s edition.
  •  [19] Bermula adapun kamus yang hendak diperbuat itu, yaitu bukannya seperti kamus yang seperti paduka sahabat kita itu. Hanyalah yang kita hendak perbuat bahasa Melayu yang tertentu bahasa pada pihak Johor dan Riau jua. Akan tetapi dibanyakkan bertambah di dalam kisah2, cerita2 yang meumpamakan dengan kalimah yang mufrad, supaya menyukakan hati orang muda2 mutalaahnya, serta syair2 Melayu sedikit2. Di dalam hal itupun memberi manfaat jua kepada orang2 yang mempikirkan perkataan dan makna bahasa Melayu pada orang2 yang bukan ternak Johor dan Riau dan Lingga’ (letter dated 12 March 1872; van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, p. 107).
  •  [20] Harimurti Kridalaksana, ‘Bustanul-Katibin dan Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa – Sumbangan Raja Ali Haji dalam Ilmu Bahasa Melayu’, in Tradisi Johor-Riau; Kertas Kerja Hari Sastra 1983, ed. Zahrah Ibrahim (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1987), p. 79.
  •  [21] One of these elaborations has been preserved in the collections of letters from Malay dignitaries to von de Wall; see the stories on ungkap (to express oneself in abusive terms) and tiada bejadda (unremitting) in van der Putten and Al Azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, pp. 123-5.
  •  [22] For a more elaborate account of the genesis of the dictionary, see ibid., especially pp. 21-5.
  •  [23] Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa; the three sections comprise pp. 2-21, 22-35, and 35-357 respectively.
  •  [24] Most Malay roots consist of only three letters in Arabic script; Malay words are predominantly disyllabic with a relatively simple structure in which consonant and vowel regularly alternate, while Arabic script is orthography in which vowels are often left out.
  •  [25] The different initial vowels of these transliterated words are not differentiated in Arabic script: they all start with the ‘alif’, which can introduce other vowels besides the ‘a’. So the ‘alif’ represents an initial vowel, ‘ba’ stands for a ‘b’, and ‘hamza’ for a glottal stop. Homorganic nasals in front of voiced consonants (such as the ‘m’ in front of the ‘b’ in ombak) are not taken into account in this system.
  •  [26] Van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, p. 81; for a table of the order of the headwords, see Harimurti Kridalaksana, ‘Bustanul Katibin’, p. 80.
  •  [27] John A. Haywood, Arabic Lexicography. Its History, and its Place in the General History of Lexicography (Leiden: Brill, 1960), p. 68; the explanation of kataba is on p. 71.
  •  [28] See his March 1872 letter in van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, p. 107.
  •  [29] Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, pp. 114-15; see pp. 208-13 and 216-18 for bodoh and budi respectively.
  •  [30] Ibid., pp. 225-31. In Syair Awai, which was written to be included with the dictionary but was published separately in 1868, Raja Ali Haji implements the same strategy of conveying knowledge and (moral) lessons by way of a funny story which goes well beyond a mere illustration of the word awai (unexpected failure); see Jan van der Putten,‘Versified Awai Verified: Syair Awai by Raja Ali Haji,’ Indonesia and the Malay World, 72 (1997): 99-133. These poems exemplify what Tony Day and Will Derks have called the ‘encyclopedic impulse’ in the writings of Raja Ali Haji, who felt compelled to write down his knowledge for future generations in order to stop the decay in Malay values. His urge to preserve and convey knowledge about Malay tradition resulted in stories often characterised by erotic tension; Tony Day and Will Derks, ‘Narrating Knowledge. Reflections on the Encyclopedic Impulse in Literary Texts from Indonesian and Malay Worlds’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 155 (1999): 320-6. The same holds for the insertion of the Syair Lebai Guntur into the Syair Hukum Nikah (see Abu Hassan Sham, Puisi-puisi, pp. 335-45). Raja Ali Haji embellished his teachings with entertaining stories which must have caused great amusement for the audience as well as for the author.
  •  [31] Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, pp. 56-67 (adab) and 49 (ogok).
  •  [32]Syahdan hubaya-hubaya, hai segala manusia, jauhi benar sifat bingal ini; dan telah beberapa manusia yang rusak dengan sebab bingal daripada ajaran dan nasihat orang yang kebajikan kepadanya. Dan beberapa raja-raja yang sudah runtuh kerajaannya, dan beberapa orang kecil sudah hilang hartanya dan nyawanya, dan beberapa orang yang berbangsa sudah jadi hina, dihinakan oleh manusia, seperti seekor cecak pada pemandangan orang sebab karena bingalnya dan bantahannya seperti segala kafir-kafir yang mati di dalam kafirnya’ (ibid., p. 185). The word bantahan is even explained in two entries, first in the entry bantahan, under initial ‘b’ and final ‘n’; and secondly as bantah, under initial ‘b’ and final ‘h’ (pp. 192-3 and 202-3 respectively). See pp. 243-5 for takabur and tengkaran.
  •  [33] Ibid., pp. 181-3 (bebal), 208-13 (bodoh), 344-5 (cabul), 312-14 (janggal), 351-2 (ceroboh), and 293-6 (jangak).
  •  [34] Raja Ali Haji very much admired these two Persian Islamic scholars whose writings fundamentally influenced his thoughts and teaching; see Andaya and Matheson, ‘Islamic Thought and Malay Tradition’, p. 115, and van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, pp. 146-7. His critique on the adoption of European, Chinese and Arab ways in attire and language is found in the explanations of janggal (inappropriate) and baju (garment) (Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, pp. 312-14 and 196-7 respectively); for candu, see p. 349.
  •  [35]Syahdan jika ditinggalkan syarihnya, tinggallah pula satu bahasa, maka tiada dapat jika tiada dikhabarkan maknanya’ (ibid., p. 54). Wilkinson also refers to a work entitled Bab al-jimak; R. J. Wilkinson, A Malay–English Dictionary (Romanized) (London: MacMillan, 1959 reprint), p. 471.
  •  [36] Berayok, seperti kata seseorang kepada seseorang padahal berbisik-bisik: “Apa kenanya ranjang ini bergerak-gerak?” Maka dijawab seorang dengan perlahan-lahan pula katanya: “Encik Jantan kita tengah berayok dengan Encik Betina di atas ranjang itu. Diam-diam sahajalah kita pura-pura membuat tidur adanya”’ (Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, p. 54).
  •  [37] Seperti kata seseorang, “Ke mana pergi serdadu kapal perang naik ke darat ramai-ramai dengan mabuknya serta dengan nyanyinya?” Maka jawab tolannya: “Ke mana lainnya pergi ke rumah jalang-jalang itulah, di rumah panjang itulah ia semua pergi beramput.” Syahdan inilah bahasa yang amat kasar. Apa boleh buat, karena hendak membedakan dengan bahasa yang lainnya, yang sejenisnya. Dimisalkan dengan yang lain kurang terangnya. Melainkan siapa yang membaca tentang ini, hendaklah jangan dibaca dengan lidah, akan tetapi hendaklah dibaca dengan hati’ (ibid., p. 76).
  •  [38] These sailors also upset the Dutch Bible translator H. C. Klinkert, who together with his family lived in the Chinese district near the harbor, where the brothels, gambling houses and opium and arak dens were concentrated. Time and again Klinkert was troubled by drunken sailors, who even broke into his house and harassed his family; J. L. Swellengrebel, In Leijdeckers Voetspoor. Anderhalve eeuw bijbelvertaling en taalkunde in de Indonesische talen. I, 1820-1900 (’s-Gravenhage: Nijhoff, 1974), p. 187; Jan van der Putten, ‘Als een hond bij de Turken? H. C. Klinkert en zuiver Maleis’, in Woord en Schrift in de Oost. De betekenis van zending en missie voor de studie van taal en literatuur in Zuidoost-Azië, ed. Willem van der Molen and Bernard Arps (Leiden: Universiteit Leiden, Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, 2000), pp. 109-11.
  •  [39] Raja Ali Haji may well have been the source of the distinction among the three words – with ancuk described as less abusive than amput but cruder than ayok – which we find in Malay–Dutch dictionaries such as Jan Pijnappel, Maleisch-Hollandsch Woordenboek, 3rd edn (Haarlem: Enschede and Amsterdam: Muller, 1884). Pijnappel (p. 26) says he received the information from Klinkert, who in turn cites von de Wall as his source; Hillebrandus Cornelius Klinkert, Nieuw Maleisch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek met Arabisch karakter (Leiden: Brill, 1893), p. 48. Von de Wall mentions this difference in the explanation of ancuk; Hermann H. von de Wall, Maleisch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek. Deel I, ed. H. N. van der Tuuk (Batavia: Landsdrukkerij, 1877), p. 119.
  • [40] Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, pp. 41-2.
  •  [41] ‘Jugi yaitu sesuatu obatan yang diperbuat daripada jenis beberapa macam rempah-rempah dan lainnya, kemudian disapukan kepada zakar, jadi hikmat apabila dibawa jimak dengan perempuan memberi lezat dan sedap kepada perempuan adanya’ (ibid., p. 323). Wilkinson, Malay–English Dictionary, pp. 481 (jugi) and 1275 (wadal). When we compare Wilkinson’s explanation with the one von de Wall gives in his dictionary, it is clear that Malay lexicography by the Dutch was much less encumbered with Victorian preoccupations. The Dutchman follows Raja Ali Haji’s explanation faithfully: ‘a kind of ointment rubbed on the penis to arouse a tickling in the vagina in order to please the female during sexual intercourse’; von de Wall, Maleisch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek, p. 497.
  •  [42] Van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam Berkekalan, p. 115. Judging from this request for a Dutch doctor and the repeated use of words such as khabarnya, konon and katanya (reportedly, from hearsay, rumor has it) in the explanation of asa-asa (having expectations), thereby distancing himself from the context, Raja Ali Haji seems to have had little faith in the abilities of Malay doctors in this field.
  •  [43] Yaitu bermakna dengan makna harap-harapan, seperti kata seseorang kepada seseorang: “Saya heran akan si Anu, anggotanya sudah rusak beberapa tahun, maka dia marah jika dikata orang tidak melawan. Ini sekarang membayar pula hutang-hutang orang perempuan yang muda katanya hendak diperbuatnya bini nanti. Apabila sudah nikah kelak, tentulah membuat asa-asa perempuan sahaja adanya.” Maka dijawab oleh yang seorang pula katanya: “Di manalah kita tahu halnya, sebab sudah baiklah agaknya, maka ia hendak berbini dua tiga. Khabarnya saya dengar dia berobat kepada Tuk Syeh Anu, maka disuruh oleh tuan syeh itu beramal membaca isim pada air yang tenang, empat hari lepas sembahyang subuh. Khabar2nya sudah bangkit semula syahwatnya, pulang sediakala serta lebih daripada lama konon. Waktu bangkit syahwatnya itu boleh digantungkan nyiur muda dua biji konon, dibawanya berjalan pulang balik konon. Dan jika sudah demikian itu tiadalah perempuan itu asa-asa adanya”’ (Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, p. 99). The entry for tembam is on pp. 270-1
  • [44] Ibid., pp. 105 (angkasa) and 160 (berida). In the explanation of uri (afterbirth) he refers to information that he has obtained from midwives. This evokes a passage in one of Haji Ibrahim’s letters to von de Wall, in which he reports that for the compilation of conversations, he asked midwives for words concerning the traditional customs when a member of the royal family is in her seventh month of pregnancy (Haji Ibrahim to von de Wall, 28 March 1867; in van der Putten and Al azhar, Di dalam berkekalan, p. 168). In a letter dated one day previously, Raja Ali Haji stated that he too was asking women for words, in this case concerning various snacks. Thus both men were ‘in the field’ in search of words for their patron, and Raja Ali Haji probably also jotted those words down for his own project.
  •  [45] Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, pp. 179 (bertapa) and 151 (badak).
  •  [46] For instance, information on swearing an oath of allegiance by Bugis (aruk), ibid., p. 45; sociolinguistic descriptions of ayah (father, pp. 144-5), awak (second-person personal pronoun, pp. 52-3) and Tengku (Malay title, pp. 278-81); and all kinds of entries on fishing techniques, cookery and dishes, nautical terms and children’s games. Of interest is the information on games which involve gambling. Although gambling and cockfighting were prohibited under Islamic rule in the 1850s (Andaya and Matheson, ‘Islamic Thought and Malay Tradition’, p. 116), Raja Ali Haji in several entries refers to words used in these games, without formulating any moral judgment about them or mentioning any prohibition. This could serve as an indication that although such games were officially banned, Raja Ali Haji had no qualms about the fact that they were still going on all around him. References to terms used in other regions are on pp. 195 (Minangkabau), 107 (Hulu Kuantan), and 140 (not Johor Malay).
  •  [47] A cursory comparison of the letter ‘b’ between Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa and Pijnappel’s Maleisch-Hollandsch Woordenboek renders a ± 50% negative result: 393 headwords in Raja Ali Haji’s dictionary, whereas Pijnappel incorporated more than 734.
  •  [48] See P. Sudhir, ‘Colonialism and the Vocabularies of Dominance’, in Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India, ed. Tejaswini Niranjana et al. (Calcutta: Seagull, 1993), p. 338.
  •  [49] Maka segala yang tersebut itu tiadalah boleh dibebaskan, karena jadi batal aturan dunia dan kerajaan. Dan demikian lagipula tiada sah bernama bebas memperbuat barang yang menyalahi syaria dan adat, seperti memperbuat perbuatan jahat, seperti memukul dan memalu orang tiada dengan sebenarnya, dan memaki, dan mengata orang dengan keji2 dan merogol anak buah orang dengan dipaksa, apalagi dengan anak istri orang. Maka sekaliannya tiada harus dibebaskan, karena membinasakan agama dan dunia kerajaan dan membatalkan sekalian hukuman dan undang-undang adanya’ (Raja Ali Haji, Kitab Pengetahuan Bahasa, p. 165).
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