(This post was written for buckie’s benefit)
If you are a Malaysian, you would do good to read Sri Delima’s collection of articles from her columnist stint with NST many years ago. You’d probably heard of it — ‘As I Was Passing’ as MPH recently republished the book into two series.
ANYWAY, one common Malay phrase that was in the book stuck with me for years. “Merajuk pada yang sayang”. Malaysians would know and understand ‘merajuk’ in every sense of the word. In English, the closest definitions would be ‘sulk’ or ‘pout’, which in my opinion are insufficient to convey the essence of ‘merajuk’.
Children sulk and pout when they do not get what they want. Adults merajuk when they do not get their way, maybe in a community service meeting and someone they do not like gets elected as head or something. Lovers, especially those in the female position merajuk for no reason, because they can. Forgive my conventional thinking, but it is their prerogative and the world just got to live with it.
But as Sri Delima puts it, merajuk pada yang sayang; meaning that the third category of merajuk-ing is only reserved to those who love you. Simply put, you do not go up to a stranger or someone you just know and merajuk with him or her. It sounds like an unfair move — why put your loved ones through this misery and make them go through the (sometimes impossible) trouble of cajoling you? Again, hey you chose to be with this person, grit your teeth and live with it.
When the female merajuk, the male is tasked with the responsibility of cajoling her. In Chinese we call it ‘hong’ (Ã¥â€œâ€ž), direct translation is to ‘deceive’, to ‘coax’ or ‘cajole’. In Malay, when someone merajuk, you would ‘pujuk’ them. The recent KFC advertisement announcing the availability of ‘kuah sate’ is a perfect depiction of a wife merajuking, with the husband responding in all the appropriate dulcet tones.
A person can sometimes merajuk for no apparent reason. This does not mean that there is anything wrong in the relationship, or that she is thinking of breaking up with you, or that she has fallen out of love with you, or that she has met and decided to be with another person. As a friend of mine puts it, in this case, merajuk is a very manipulative action — you do it to manipulate the other person to come coax, cajole and placate you. I suppose it is a type of ’emo’ (emotional), though in this context the person who merajuk seldom come out of it by him or herself.
And apparently this a very Asian in Asia thing to do. Because I have tried very hard to explain the concept of ‘merajuk’ to non-Asians, and they seem to have a difficult time understanding it. Cultural differences, I guess.