The use of the popular idiom ‘Barking up the wrong tree’ touched a raw nerve with an Umno assemblyman who thought that the idiom referred to a person as an animal that barked.
Shabudin Yahaya (BN – Permatang Berangan) exchanged barbs with state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh, who had earlier used the term when explaining statistics on hardcore poor families to Jasmin Mohamad (BN – Sungai Dua).
“Barking denotes an animal. I disagree to you using this idiom when speaking to the Sungai Dua assemblyman,” said Shabudin while interjecting during Jasmin’s debate on the motion of thanks on the Yang di-Pertua Negri’s opening speech yesterday.
Phee retorted that Shabudin, who is also state Islamic Religious Council chairman, did not understand the idiom.
“You (Shabudin) are barking up the wrong tree with your accusations now.
“If you do not know the meaning of this idiom, how can you serve as a YB (elected representative)?” asked Phee.
Shabudin argued that Phee was the one who was barking in the hall.
Later, outside the hall, Phee told reporters that he did not think it was derogatory to use this idiom when speaking to someone, including a Muslim.
He stressed that the literal meaning of idioms should not be taken.
1. Eh, please lah. Human barks too. Shabudin just did that.
2. Which part of the meaning ‘idiom’, ‘peribahasa’ or ‘simpulan bahasa‘ he doesn’t understand? Masuk kandang kambing mengembek, Masuk kandang lembu menguak, does that means he’s a kambing or lembu? Seperti anjing menyalak bukit, does that means he’s a dog? How about bagai babi merasa gulai? Bagai badak berendam? Bagai anjing dengan kucing? Bagai katak bawah tempurung? Which one is insulting and which one is not?
3. Nincompoop. Rot and die, idiots.