Me and My Kedayan Roots

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kedayan is one of the ethnic groups/people of Brunei. I would say that most of the Bruneians are “orang kedayan” or Kedayan person in a way or another.

My dad comes from both Kedayan parents while my mum is half Iban (another ethnic group) and half Chinese so that would make me – what? – one third kedayan? LOL!

For every ethnic in Brunei, they have their own dialects and so does Kedayan. Born and bought up in – I would say – a modern family, my parents rarely speak Kedayan with us – the kids. My mum, eventhough she is born and bought up as a chinese, she does know to speak 5 different dialects – malay, kedayan, chinese, iban and tutong.. surprise, surprise.

Whenever my parents mingle with my grandma, Dad’s mum or other of paternal uncles and aunts, they would converse in mixed malay and kedayan. Me and my brothers (except for Faiz, the second youngest), we sometimes are clueless on what they talk about and we opted to keep quiet. It's not that we don't understand the whole conversation altogether but there are some words - okay, most of the words, we don't know the meanings. And so far, I had been saved from conversing in Kedayan dialects.

But my luck ran out yesterday when I had to accompany my grandma for her weekly medical injection. To let you have a clear picture, I'm not that close with both my grandmas. I mean,  I do see them often but let's just say that I'm a lot more closer to my parents than my grandparents. Anyway, with just me and my grandma, I got no choice but to converse with her in Kedayan dialects and man, doesn't I sound funny?

I rarely talk in kedayan dialects and when I do, no words seem so right by me. Gosh! Now I'm ashamed to tell people I'm "anak kedayan" or kedayan kid when I can't speak Kedayan properly. I think my dad is right; I do need a Malay-Kedayan dictionary!! LOL! Never too late to learn, right? One day, I want my own kids to know their kedayan roots too.

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