Tuesday, May 16, 2017


88.  (Seperti) antan dicungkilkan duri
Using a pestle to pick out a thorn

A very clumsy solution. The wrong choice of tool. Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 
Poor strategy. Inappropriate approach – unless one has stepped on a spiny 
sea-urchin (rambutan laut), in which case the traditional treatment is 
to beat one’s foot with a nibong club till the embedded thorns are pulverized… ouch!

89.  Antan patah, lesung hilang
The pestle broke, the mortar vanished

He who freezes does not burn. Impotent husbands hardly ever find their wives at home. 
The more innocuous interpretation reads: “Not only did the pestle break, 
the mortar also vanished.” Double trouble. In other words, it never rains but it pours. 
A Russian version goes: “The hammer broke, the sickle vanished.”

90.  Kapak masuk meminang
An ax enters into the nuptial arrangements

Using a crude instrument to work out a delicate matter. Bull-in-a-china-shop situation.

91. Mencencang berlandasan
When you chop, use a chopping block

Using the right tool makes easy work. A more homely variant would be 
tanak dalam periuk (cook rice in a cooking pot).

92.  Seperti golok kayu, tetak tak makan, jual tak laku
Like a wooden parang (machete), it won’t cut 
and you can’t sell it

An absolutely useless idea or object. Not worth a brass farthing. 
Ill-conceived project or product.

93. (Seperti) tulis di atas air
(Like) writing on water

Ineffective gesture. Useless effort. Cutting no ice. Whistling in the wind.

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