Translations from the Malay, 1930
Lesson 28: kena, to get or incur
The prau met with a stiff breeze yesterday. These steps were broken, but I knew not why. For some reason I had lost my job, but the writing room gets the afternoon sun, and the brushes get wet with rain. My white shirt is ink stained, the arm of my coat is dirty with whitewash, my trousers are splashed with mud. I live in a house of wood that has been painted, and it will last for a long time. I got Abdul to fetch two tins of kerosene and Baba had to pay the broker two dollars commission. The cook complained that her knife was rust eaten. Get rid of it with powder I said. Nonya had yet to return for her mother was ill.
Lesson 29: Adverbs
I had heard enough. What else was there for the gardener had swept almost everything. Eat some more, speak less, give the child more pudding. I urged Baba to speak a little more quietly around the guests. The driver wanted more wages, but how much more, he could not say. Really! He is not one to describe things precisely, as he lives in a world simply. The Sundanese maid is exceedingly pretty, exceedingly. The cook's sauces are very delicious. So if you wait awhile I will read all the letters. Please don't think I am an idiot, James, well not completely. I sold the Humber for 100 pounds too little. By the end of the month I shall be much better. The Padre drinks far too much, but what's the harm in asking for a little more?
Lesson 30: Verb: boleh, to be able
Are you able to eat curry, Major? Or chilli sambal? I can manage it but Cook's never been able to understand that we Europeans can't take too many chillies. I can't believe you will be able to digest those kinds of vegetables! I usually eat cabbage in the morning and cauliflower in the evening. Cook's wife has learned to make ice kajang. Delicious, if the teeth can take all that syrup. A cigar? Yes, Driver might be able to take you to the godown. Can you come tomorrow night, Boy? We need an extra hand. (Really, Major, what can you do: if a boy's no good, it can't be helped.) Not much I can do to stop the milk going sour.
Lesson 41: Verb: jadi, to become
You must become a witness in this case, how the Sultan went to fat. At least Bun Keng's been promoted to master of the Hokkien School. It was fortunate for us that we didn't happen to go on leave to Kota Baru. What would have become of Baba? Worse Luck! the rain did not come and the wind rose. We wait in hope for the day when tapioca will be cheap. We almost went mad when the bangsal caught fire. Sometimes, I despair, that Boy will never come to anything!
By Adam AitkenQLRS Vol. 6 No. 1 Oct 2006