Wednesday, May 17, 2017

FOWL PLAY IN THE FARMYARD

 33.  (Ibarat) Ayam bertelur sebiji 
riuh sekampung
     
The hen lays one egg and clucks to the whole village

Much ado about nothing. Braggadocio. To blow one's own trumpet. 
The greatest talkers do the least. Rendered in its full, formal glory: 
Penyu bertelur beribu-ribu seorang pun tak tahu, ayam bertelur sebiji 
pecah khabar sebuah negeri (the turtle lays eggs by the thousands
and no one knows of it; the hen lays one egg and breaks the news
to the whole nation).


34.  Apa lagi sawa? 
Dia berkehendak ayam lah
     
What do you expect from a python? 
Of course he's after the chickens 

Asking mice to guard the cheese. Burp.


35.  Ayam hitam terbang malam
       
A black fowl flies by night

A fishy story, difficult to verify. An obscure and mysterious case
 in which no judgment is possible. Things that go bump in the night.
 Quoted in the annals of the Malay Court of Justice:

           Ayam hitam terbang malam,
           Hinggap di pokok pandan;
           Berkesah ada, rupanya tidak.

           A black fowl flies by night,
           Alighting in the screw-pine;
           A rustling is heard but nothing is seen.


36.  Ayam putih terbang siang
     
A white fowl flies by day

A clear-cut case, obvious circumstances.
 Beyond any shadow of doubt. Clear as day.

       Ayam putih terbang siang,
       Hinggap di halaman,
       Malah kepada mata orang banyak.

       A white fowl flies by day,
       Alighting in the courtyard,
       In full view of the public.

37.  Masuk kawan ayam berkokok
    
 If you find yourself among cocks, crow

Be versatile, blend with the crowd, conform! When in Rome, do as the Romans.
 Similarly, masuk ke dalam kandang kambing mengembek
(if you enter a goat-pen, bleat); masuk kawan kerbau menguak
(in the company of buffaloes, bellow); masuk kawan gajah menderin
(when with elephants, trumpet)



38.  Ayam terlepas, tangan bawa tahi
     
The fowl has escaped, leaving shit in the hand

Traditionally said of someone who has been jilted.
 The image, however, is graphic enough to describe any situation
 where carefully laid plans are blown asunder, leaving a messy aftermath. 
A down-to-earth version of "What man proposes, God disposes."



39. Bertelingkuh antan di lesung,
 ayam juga yang kenyang
    
When pestles clash in the mortar,
 it's the chickens that eat well

A familiar scene in every kampung: chickens pecking merrily away
 whenever grains are being pounded. Nowadays the chickens 
are armed with law degrees.


40.   Mati ayam, mati tungaunya
     
If the fowl dies, its ticks perish too

When misfortune befalls the mighty, the impact is also felt 
at the bottom of the scale. Compare this with langit runtuh bumi cair 
(the sky collapses and the earth dissolves). 

A prince's underlings are crushed by his fall.


41.  Gagak ganggang telur
     
A crow with an egg in its beak

The whiteness of the egg makes the crow appear even blacker. 
Said of ill-favored individuals in beautiful clothes, where their lack of beauty 
is only accentuated by their fine apparel.

A hunchback in high heels.





42.  Telur di hujung tanduk
      
An egg teetering on the tip of a horn

A risky business or fragile situation. Shaky undertaking. Cutting a fine line.

Walking a tightrope. Skating on thin ice.


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