Signs and omens

“When on the war path, it is good to start on a Friday before the flies are astir (sebelum terbang lalat).

“On a Saturday, it is good to start after the sun is up.

“When about to start on a journey, or to leave home on business, it is unlucky to hear the chirp of the squirrel (tupai) which portends robbery as the traveller’s probable misfortune; likewise the cry of the ungka (gibbon) portends loss.

“The sound of the lelaban (a kind of whip-poor-will) signifies death by accident or wound.

“So, he who setting out on a journey, hears the sound of the elang or lang (kite), expects that the, or those he leaves behind, will suffer loss by fire, should it be disregarded.

“Hearing the enggang (hornbill) by night means injury to the country, such as burning of houses.”

Maxwell, W. Notes and Queries 1. In W. E. Maxwell, Notes and Queries of the Malaysian Branch Royal Asiatic Society (reprint 15). Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch Royal of the Royal Asiatic Society; 1997. p31.

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