Boredom is an English word, and even then, a recent one. The noun bore came aboard in the second half of the 18th century, and it was only in 1823 that Lord Byron divided the world between the bores and the bored.Definitely there's a cultural difference here. Westerners always see time as something to be filled, productively if possible, entertainingly if not. As for me - I can't sit for any length of time without a book or newspaper in my hand, or a pen to scribble away with in a notebook!
In Trengganuspeak — and I daresay in standardspeak too — we've been bored for as many years as the arm is long, but only in the sense of bosang (standardspeak, bosan) to mean "I've had enough" of something, a noise maybe, or someone's constant nagging. But the idea of being bored by having nothing to do is a new one, imported from the Western fixation with instant gratification, and the need to do something when nothing is being done, or to be moved by some manufactured outward stimuli because the moon, the sun, the shade, the trees and the chirping of birds aren't enough. Suddenly bosan becomes an intransitive verb, a reason in itself.
This obsession with external stimuli has given rise to many weird and unwonderful things, like the blaring video player in an express bus trundling down the motorway from Kuala Lumpur to Kemaman in the quiet of night, television sets blasting out in shopping malls and even in hospitals, and recently — in London — one public library I went to had games blasting out from PCs when everything should've been still and quiet. It was to attract the kids, and irony of ironies, in the world of books that was the only way they could think of to keep them stimulated.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
I'd never thought of boredom being a western disease until I read this in Awang Goneng's Growing Up in Trengganu but this makes sense: