Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Kutu

There’s a lot of kutu talk in the family these days. The latest I heard was an unscheduled meeting by my siblings and spouses that was held under a tree at Dena’s; the main agenda was a trip to India. There had been several trips before – but mostly in the mind. But a meeting under a tree must be serious and the main question being discussed was how to fund such a trip. Thus kutu.

I remember kutu when the word was a mere kut in our family and the main kut master was Mak. From the 20 sens pocket money that we were allowed daily, we had to save and fork out 20 sens a week to give to Mak. That was considered a lot of money those days and it was quite painful to hand over the coins come Friday.

I suppose that was Mak’s way of making us save. The tabung ayam that she bought for each of us never got us anywhere. Suffice to say the effort was hangat-hangat tahi ayam. The tabung ayam ended up being raided in moments of desperation and when temptation got the better of us.

So, Mak came up with a plan; one that worked quite well with her friends; Mak Limah, Kak Nab, Mak Siah and the rest around Jalan Tunku Mahmud. But theirs was more on a monthly basis. She kept some housekeeping money, which meant we had less meat or no chicken on some days. They’d have a kind of afternoon tea for the first meeting to decide who gets the first payment. Then, subsequent payments were collected by the kutu master on her rounds, either on the way to the market or after their subuh prayers at the mosque.

I don’t think the final amount added up to a lot and Mak never spent the money on herself. It would either be new curtains for Hari Raya or a trip to visit Kak in Johore. Or sometime to get back her precious jewelleries that she had pawned at the pawnshop next to Ah Leng’s, when money was tight.

Anyway, with us, it was 20 sens. I remember gathering around the kitchen table one night. I was very excited. There were several match sticks of various lengths. Mak held them tight in her hand and each of us pulled out one. The one with the shortest received the first payment. How exciting!! But the excitement was shortlived as one soon realised that being the first to receive meant you have to keep on paying until everyone got their share. And believe it or not, Mak was always the last to receive hers and by the time her children had received theirs, no one wanted to play anymore! Sorry, Mak.

The last time I played kutu, the amount had increased to £100 a month. Wow, that was a big increase from 20 sens. And with ten Cik Kiahs contributing £100 a month, it was a handsome amount in the packet that went a long way; some as far as Harrods or Selfridges. But unlike playing with Mak, I had to discipline myself and prise out the monthly payment of £100 until it was over.

Over the next few months, there will be a few kenduris as two nephews will be tying the knot. Methinks its kutu time again. Anyone for a game of kutu?

63 comments:

Naz said...

Me! Me! :D
I remember main kut when I was at school too. 50sen kut. With 15 players, I was pleased to be among the last ones to get the payment ;)
For a school kid, that was a lot of money. I remember I went out with my sister to eat at Rose Restoran and then went on to Cathay.
Nowadays, I only play kut with myself-.

Pi Bani said...

Kak Teh pun rajin main kutu ka? Jangan jadi kutu dahlah naaa... :)

Ada juga sekali-sekala orang ajak I main kutu, tapi I kurang minat.

masterwordsmith said...

WOW! Thanks Kak Teh for this blast to the past...I remember my mom played kutu till the day she died and oh how the neighbourhood ladies would get so excited when it was their turn....

Thanks! Take care and have a nice day!

P.S. Happy kutu-ing :-).

Kak Elle said...

it has been a long time for me too...and at that time we're playing at $50 each and I played 2 shares...

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Main kutu to fund holiday in India, wow..ni big amount ni..last 2 years i main kutu, with the money, i belanja Air Asia tickets to balik Sabah, kampung my hubby, saja amik hati dia..the more we give the more we CAN take..hahahaha

Kak Teh said...

Pi Bani, rajin tu tidak laaa. The last time i played must be ten years ago. and now tak ada gang pun. I am just toying the idea of joining my sisters back home when they do play kutu.butthis will be in RM and not pound sterling.

paula, so your mum played kutu as well!! I bet that involved big money.

Kak Teh said...

kak elle, $50 dulu tu dah banyak tu.
Macam investment jugaklah.

Naz, 50 sen, fifteen players - memang banyak duit tu. Makan kat Rose restaurant and then to cathay. I bet ada change pulak lagi.

Kak Teh said...

Ida, kalau duit kutu boleh bei ticket air asia, memang berbaloi lah. and labour of love - in a way!

NanaDJ said...

Believe it or not my classmates and I (ex TKCians) are still playing kutu to this day (we have been doing so for the past 10 years). That is the only way to make sure we have our monthly gatherings - lunch or tea - where we laugh and joke and exchage news.
Do you know that 'kutu' is actually illegal, happen to mention it at a Bank Negara meeting and they told me that they did not hear what I had just said. But who cares, its always nice to get some money (alas Harrods and Selfridges are too far away, Parkson and Jaya Jusco is no fun!), so Bali here I come.

Kama said...

Kak teh, I gelak besar baca your 'mukadimah' (opening para).. discussion abou kutu under a tree? Ni dah jadi macam perak punya assembly jer? Maybe you can call that pokok Kutu Tree.. heheh.. macam Perak's whatever pokok they call it.

Kak Teh said...

NanaDJ, that is certainly a very good excuse to meet up and get in touch - atthe end of it all - semua dapat duit and you enjoy yourself. and ten years? That is a long time.
I didnt know that kutu is illegal - It is even interest free - why illegal? I suppose the very act of keeping the money away from the bank, deprives them from making money with our own money and that in their eyes , is illegal. I dnt think dalam agama, kutu is haram. is it?I hope not.

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, meetings under trees are now considered the in thing and must be taken seriously!! Then only you can have cawangan ahli jawatankuasa pokok, baru lah boleh berhasil buahnya!

Buddhaphish said...

Kak Teh,

Could you explain how kutu is meant in this context? Am quite interested because in Indonesia, kutu buku for example is a bookworm. Apparently in Indonesia, the word 'kutu' is used to refer to something that you like very much.

Kak Teh said...

Buddhapish, kutu is actually a way of saving money, You get a few people together and decide on the amount you want to pay each month. Say £10 a month per person. So, then you vote who gets the money first. If there are ten people, then you get £100 first, then you continue paying £10, until everyone gets their £100.00.

Ya, i understand kutu is used to mean a fanatic or enthusiast of somekind, like kaki - kaki buku, kaki judi. Kutu can also have a negative connotation..kutu embun?

Zendra said...

My mum and siblings have been kutuing for close to 30 years already. Our first ketua, an aunt, passed on in 1991 and her role was taken over by mum who later passed it to my cousin, the daughter of the initial ketua. It had started with RM50 and now we play RM200 a month with 12 participants. It's more for family bonding than anything else and every year, without fail, anyone who drew the number 3 slot will have to exchange it with my brother who "needs" the money to pay his road tax and insurance! He's such a bully, my brother but a lovable one.
I think this kutu thing is a malay budaya especially among womenfolk who I guess are more disciplined than the men at this. My brother is a case in point, surely!

zaitgha said...

Kak Teh,

Came here all the time but tak tinggal jejak but for "Kutu", i did he he....if you saw my posting on my new huge oven, thats how i save my sales by main kutu with my hubby's aunt...if not nak save sendry susah sikit ......my mum main kutu all the times dulu2 ....

Kak Teh said...

Zendra, wow, a budaya kutu well entrenched in your family! Yes, I think we do listen to pleas - sesiapa yang terdesak, kan? afterall this is amongst family members.

Ya, we dont hear too many men playing kutu. I think I will introduce this in my own family here...they'd be chuffed. What is kutu mama? they will ask, because they know of kutu that invaded their mop of hair a few summers ago when they were at school. argggh!

Kak Teh said...

zaitgha, wah, seorang lagi hantu kutu! But that big oven must be worth something and at least you can show something - and the oven is now churning out more income for you.
I wonder where the word kutu comes from.

Mama Rock said...

yup, my first kutu was also 20 sen.
so, now nak start another kutu round, you can start booking your airasia-x tickets now :)

Kak Teh said...

mama rock, 20 sens in those days was a lot of money. Imagine boleh belu colour pencils Lunar, new pencil box etc.

Now orang main kutu untuk beli ticket kapal terbang. How times has changed.

NanaDJ said...

It became illegal because it is a kind of deposit taking. Some years ago some smart alacks abused the simple kutu that you and I know into a fraudulent activity involving millions and a lot of people lost their hard earn money. No, I don't think it is haram since no riba' is involved.
Yes from 20 sens some Mak Datins are playing at RM5,000 to RM10,000a month, lepas tu bolehlah beli bling bling. Life!

Kak Teh said...

NanaDJ, thanks for the info. adoi, that's a lot of money to lose. But simole harmless kutu is only played amongst close friends and raltives that we know. No way people can run away with the money. Actually the kutu master who handles the money shd receive his/her share last - so that people know he/she can be trusted.

It will be sometime before I can save enough to buy bling blings!

D said...

It's quite an interesting concept, this kutu game, you know. maybe it's time I introduced this to the kids and Mommy too can go find friends to start playing it too!!

take care kak teh!!

Madam Tai Tai said...

Kak Teh,

I'm definitely game for kutu. It is a good form of savings for me who slacks at regularly depositing money into my ASB and other saving accounts. But GBP100 per month...oooo..steep sangat lah your kutu amount tu!

When I was working dulu, my colleagues and I used to play kutu. I timed my cabutan kutu month to coincide with my car insurance & road tax renewal month so I don't have to think much about the money for them. Tangan kanan menerima and tangan kiri membayar..bliss..

Kama said...

kak teh, my ex mom-in-law was (and I think still is) a kutu kaki. They played among the senior officers' wives, big sums pulak tu. I always got dragged into it to make up the numbers... hehehe..the wait was long, sometimes more than a year, tapi sekali dapat banyak.. they used the money to buy jewellery kak teh oi! LOL

madam gold said...

Kak Teh ,My kutuing activity goes back to my primary school days.We paid 10 cents then and when we went to high school it increased to rm 1,and now I am still kutuing at rm 500 a month, and I am going to reap abt rm5000 this Aug.And this one is specially for belanja Raya..

Andrea Wh@tever said...

Kak Teh,
This "kutu" idea sounds v interesting. Kinda like a micro-credit financing scheme sans the interest element.

When I told my husband about it on the way home from the airport today, guess what he said: "I think not. Normally when my money gets into your hands, it rarely returns!" *laughs*

Kak Teh said...

D, my children will find it hilarious because they associate kutus with lice - and they had a summer of lice some years back when they were in primary school. what a nightmare!

MTT, that is one way of doing it. When I did my MA, I did it another way. I did some work for a major company and didnt invoice them until it was time to pay my fees. For two years I did that and it would be fair to say that company paid off my MA. well, i had to work hard of course.

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, your ex MIL's circle must have played with big sums of money. They cld afford that. and imagine the lump sum at the end of it all.I bet suka gembira M oli mohamed and poh kong - they must be the receiving ends of the kutu players.

Kak Teh said...

Madam Gold RM 5000 is a lot! i dont now how much raya costs this days but to me that is like £1000 - and i will repeat that again, once more - that's a lot for raya. But then again, we in London raya secara kecil-kecilan saja. In malaysia more meriah, kan?

Andrea, hmmm, husbands!!! But i think there's some truth to it.

Manal said...

I pon mcm nak la start this kutu activity amongst my siblings. Maybe we can do a RM10 minimum collection from each of us yang working already and then invest it in ASN ke ASW ape2 la. Pastu whoever needs it , esp my 5th sis in Jordan, we can just withdraw the money and deposit it into her account.

Somehow i teringat those technicians and tea lady playing kutu at my old college few years back. Their target? To buy as many lotto tickets as possible and any win will be shared among them players.

Pak Zawi said...

ak Teh,
Sorry lama tak tinggal 'tapak' kat sini. Terpanggil untuk meninggalkan jejak sebab isteri saya juga suka join kutu tapi organizer selalunya orang lain. Choice dia ? The last to get.

Life for Beginners said...

Oh dear, I've never played this before... though I've actually seen it dramatised on TV. Hmm, I wonder if I can get folks to kutu again in KL?

Memory lane or Money Lane? :P

wanshana said...

Kak Teh,

I remember my Mom and her friends played Kutu years ago - sometimes to buy set pinggan mangkuk, tupperwares, Pyrex, sometimes jewelleries, etc. I've always thought and still think it's a cool way to save money and at the same time to socialize with friends, too - coz whenever the time came to serahkan duit, they would have a small makan-makan amongst them and I would always menempek :)

Nowadays, I think Kutu is more of a socializing thing - the ones whose turn to get the money will belanja the rest for special makan-makan somewhere, and they would have the gathering every month.

Cool :)

Kak Teh said...

manal, saving for someone in need is indeed a noble thing to do. but i am amazed at the group who saved to buy lotto tickets. I have heard of big wins but what if they keep on losing? but that is what gambling is all about, kan?

Pak Zawi, that is very wise of her to want to be the last to get the money. She must have enough to not feel the pressure of wanting to get the money first.

kay_leeda said...

Kak Teh...kutu eh?? Pernah lah main once or twice with girls from my old office. The unique thing about that kutu gang was that we had the dispatch boy also in the group. Banyak duit dia...siap mintak dua share!! Kalah we all the managers :D

ray said...

Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.

Saya ada banyak kutu, kata Pak Malim sambil mengunyah putu. Want some?

Kak Teh said...

kay, dua shares?wah dah melawan tawkey ni..hehe! Bila dia terima, dia belanja tak yang lain?

pak malim, oh no I dont want some, kata kak teh sambil makan dim sum.

Aida said...

Kak Teh,

I can attest that Gina is a kutu's kutu hehehehhe

I am one not for it. I think I prefer to be in control of my own money, not that I don;t trust the kepala.... just NOT me.

Tapi I suka kepoh and kecoh sekali when it comes to drwing and pay time hehehehhe

Kak Teh said...

Kenny, this is only for auntie, auntie only!!

wanshana,ya, I know most people do buy expensive dinner sets that they had been eyeing for some time. In a way...kutu makes it less painful.

Kak Teh said...

Aida, that's funny! Gina is a kutu's kutu! heheh! i will tease her when she comes to London.

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Ala Kak Teh, I pun pandai, beli time ticket murah..hahah.

Raden Galoh said...

KakTeh...
Hahaha... you write the funny part of kutu-ing..the game I've played all along..and still playing... now jadi bendahari tukang kutip duit kutu lagi from my siblings... adik beradik ada 9 org campoq mak sorang lengkap tu 10 players habih 10 bulan... my brother yg tak boleh meyimpan pun I paksa dia main...now paling tidak ada nampaklah duit dia tu...

To tell you the truth... it my duit kutu that helped me solved with the hospital bills...so I take it as something good...

menyalahi undang2 tak kak? hahaha

DrSam said...

I want to confess - I've never got involve with kutu or doing the kutuing before. So I am missing all the fun.

However, I remember when I was small, my late auntie was really passionate about this kutu. She even had many kutu groups at the same time. And I remember, whenever it was her turn to get the money, I got my 'share' as well (askar, pistol mainan and if I were lucky - expansive toys).

have a nice day Kak Teh and happy kutuing!

Kak Teh said...

Ida, ya laaaa, kalau ada peluang tiket murah, mestilah ambik peluang tu. Kak teh ni pun dok tunggu - dah murah nak murah lagi.


Raden, memang kak teh terkejut bila my husband kata ada Akta Kutu !!!! Siapalah punya angkara sehinggakan kutu boleh diharamkan. But i suppose like everything else, ada orang yang menyalahgunakannya. dalam keluarga sendiri pun mungkin ada kelam kabut.
Tapi kalau raden sampai boleh bayar hospital bills, Alhamdulillah!!

Kak Teh said...

Dr Sam, this is known as kuturisation of money. Kuturism was widespread, of course amongst womenfolks - mak cik -mak cik yang simpan duit nak beli gelang emas and rantai atau pinggan arcopal.

But eventhough you were not involved, you benefitted - pistol mainan pun jadi lah!

Lyana Mauseth said...

kak teh,

i think last i main kut was b4 i reach my puberty haha...lepas tu i xde dah main...tahlah i ingat dah pupus kot..but now my mom dgn my brother still main..my bro, tiap kali dapat duit, spend on his car, my mom on tupperware lah :D

Kak Teh said...

Lyana, now you dah balik ke tanah air mesti revive balik amalan berkutu dan terapkan nilai2 berkutu dengan anak-anak. Mesti depa suka.

Zabs said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Pernah juga terlibat dengan kutu ni. Semasa bersekolah dan semasa muda2 kerja dulu.
Biasanya volunteer untuk terima last, sebab selepas tu tak payah bayar lagi.
Sekarang ada kutu yang macam skim cepat kaya pulak dah..

Kak Teh said...

Zabs, sekim cepat kaya tu dah lain pula jadinya kan? beberapa orang saja yang kaya. yang lain rugi. Kutu juga yang best tapi dengar kata kutu pun diharamkan kerajaan.

Zendra said...

Kak Teh, when I read about your husband's remark about Akta Kutu, I sudddenly remembered the word "tontines". Apparently it is also played in the Cameroons. This is an extract from a paper entitled
"Tontines in Cameroon
Linking Traditional and Semi-formal Financing Systems"
............... The first tontine type is a rotating savings system. The members of these tontines meet at fixed intervals, usually weekly or monthly, and pay in a certain sum of money agreed at the beginning of the round. The total amount collected is loaned to a different member each month.

So kutu is tontine which originated in France,named after Neapolitan banker Lorenzo de Tonti.

There you are, but for all you know the French may have learnt it from the Malays somehow.

lizaimen's blog said...

Dear mak teh,

oh my grandma has a farm
ee aa ee aa ooh
and on her farm we played some kutu
ee aa ee aa ooh
and a kut kut here and a kut kut there
kut here kut there, everywhere a kut kut
with the kut money can buy some kambing or a kambing house...
ee ah ee aa oohhh...luv, oli

Chahya said...

Played kutu before alright.
But how this word kutu can be linked to something so valuable as money, I can't think of any (eh, rhyme pulak).

Dah lama tak main kutu sejak bercuti ni. Kalau kerja, sure every year main dgn colleagues. Now the only 'kutu' that I watch out for is the lice on the children's head. Maklum le budak2 sekolah...kalau sorang berkutu, sure satu kelas berjangkit. Oh tidak! Lepas taruk medicated shampoo, nak kena carik and buang pulak manually telur2 kutu...iskkkk

rossie's said...

hello kakz...finally I got trap in your blog.

About KUTU..sorry not on head kutu's..hehee..or another word some people call main Tontines atau SENOMAN.., Remind me for this game. You can save your money together with other friends depending how long you want to collect the money, sometime once a month you can get a big buck $$$ or twice a month. Yes.. I enjoy this games as long the chief and the rest are honest.

Kak Teh said...

Zendra, thanks for the research! And I have read further too, inspite of the fact that I have a thousand and one things to do.hahah! anyway, you will be quoted extensively in the academic paper: Influenca and Impact of Kuturism on our Society. A pity I missed the G20!

Kak Teh said...

Oli, and mmbek, mbek here and a mbek, mbek there!!!!

chahya,oh the head kutu is a nightmare. I remember when my children were infected one summer and there's no stopping it. Thinking abt it made my head itch!!

Kak Teh said...

Rossie, that's another new and interesting revelation. So it is senoman in singapore? and is it legal? I must find out more.

rossie's said...

yes..it's legal and no harm to anybody as I told you must be honest to each other.

Kak Teh said...

rossie, of course - everyone must be honest - kalau tidak serik lah tak mau main lagi.

Royalshoppingarcade said...

salam kak teh,
I for one believe in the kutu system. Even hubby has joined my group of friends paying the kutu. Its really a good way to save and then ENJOY....its also a good way for me to fund my small business..kekeke

Kak Teh said...

Puteri, you are certainly a businesswoman with a flair! All the best to you and keep playing kutu!

Homequran.com said...

AOA;

Excellent post

www.homequran.com

familyaqiqah said...

Thank you for this excellent approach around the topic.
Aqiqah Murah
Paket Aqiqah Aqiqah