Saturday, 1 September 2012


When I first heard the word "nyanyok" or "nyanyuk", I had thought someone didn't know how to say "nyamuk" (mosquito) properly. Nowadays, I frequently hear the word nyanyuk and I thought maybe it is nyanyuk after all and not nyamuk.

Nyanyuk is forgetting and all its associated forms and behaviour. Becoming nyanyuk is becoming forgetful and therefore we describe it as setting in of senility. Becoming senile is equated to becoming forgetful and sometimes becoming silly in our society. As such nyanyuk is often a hushed word rather than a clearly spoken word. Nobody wants to be called a nyanyuk.

Why is nyanyuk here to stay? Nyanyuk is on the rise in developing nations and not a disease of the western nations only. That means even Malays are subject to being nyanyuk. It is part and parcel of ageing and breakdown of the communication fibres in the brain. It is a good and clear sign that life is slipping away slowly and will definitely reach an end point. Do we need to cure nyanyuk? It is curable? I don't know. I guess not. But I would prefer to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and stay high on antioxidants and age slowly. That way I can hopefully, insyaAllah, keep nyanyuk at bay. The other means to keep nyanyuk away is to read Qur'an daily and continuously.

Forgetting where the glasses are, forgetting where the car keys are, forgetting where the socks are, forgetting to pick up the kids, forgetting to purchase an item on the grocery list, forgetting there's a dinner date, etc all fall under nyanyuk. These forgetting episodes appear about age 40 onward. They can appear earlier or later. At age 50 it is worse. At age 55, it should be worse. I don't know about older ages as I am not there yet. But I suppose, senility worsens with age, till a point nobody could care less or gives up. This is a point of danger. I have heard ugly stories of the elderly being left uncared for and they play with their excreta as if it was mud. So things can be bad with senility in old age.

What can we do about nyanyuk? I guess for the wandering type and if we are scared about them wandering far and losing them, we can try and do handband tagging as for Jemaah Haji, or do digital tagging as in GPS. I have read proposals of tagging children so child kidnapping can be halted altogether but I have not seen anything about tagging old people. I think it will be great to try and to the best interest of the elderly population and for their own safety. People may say it is an invasion of privacy. I would rebut and say it is better that the elderly are GPS-tagged rather than let them loose where they can't find their way home. So research into GPS-tagging of the elderly may become commonplace and also possibly a law later. Saves a lot of worries too.