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Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer

NAMING NAMES

Friday, September 03, 2004

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" -Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene II)

I am not in the habit of quoting Shakespeare but the pretty picture of Pak Adib's bloom in his blog made me think of the Bard.

A lot of people might not agree with Shakespeare. Misspell or mispronounce a person's name and the owner might be upset to a certain degree. The degree sometimes commensurate with the size of the owner's ego. Verify this fact with chastised MCs, announcers or Registration Dept. clerks.

Whatever name is written in your Identity Card (or now smart Mykad) there is a good chance that you will be called different. This is especially so if you are in Terengganu. In Terengganu, names would evolve according to your physical features, quality, vocation, origin or some stories related to you. This is never done out of malice but just to be practical. Since Mohamad or its various permutations are too numerous in the kampong (village), the name has to have an appendage. Using the bin (son of) will not help alleviate the confusion. In our class we have 2 Mohamad bin Ismail. So, in the class register and subsequent documents one was referred to as Mohamad Ismail A and the other Mohamad Ismail B.

This did not work in villages where the Roman alphabets were hitherto unknown. Appendages work better. We have to be specific which Mamat we are talking about. Specify Mamat Pala Kerah (Hard-headed Mamat) if we meant the village bouncer and not Mamat Lepok (Durian cake Mamat) or Mamat Tukang Gunting (Mamat The Barber). Since every mother North of Rhu Renggeh hoped to have sons who are eternally young, we have many people named Muda. Muda means young in Malay. So one Muda becomes Muda Hendap (Peering Muda). No, he is not a Peeping Tom. He is just short-sighted. Those are examples of appendages related to a person's quality or vocation.
Appendages are also affixed when you have noticeable features. Thus, the shorter Ali is called Ali Sekerat and on the other end, the very lanky Haji Leh is known as Haji Leh Sekateh. As for names like Che' Mat Riau, Wan Muda Barat, Man Paka or Lijoh Siak it is easy enough to surmise where the owners are originally from. Think Siput Serawak or Shariff Medan.

As mentioned earlier, people also get new names because of something that happened in the course of their life. We have a classmate who is called Wei (Ismail) Ler Guard since secondary school days. I am sure you are familiar with head guard, knee guard, wrist guard/wristband so on so forth used by athletes. Our friend, an avid athlete, wanted something to protect his family jewels but was at a loss as to its proper nomenclature. So in one sporting goods store he asked for Ler Guard much to the amusement of his schoolmates and the bewilderment of the store salesperson. Another schoolmate had his ways with Mok Long, the hostel cook. The deed was subsequently discovered and he henceforth had Pok Long affixed after his name until today. I shall refrain from telling you how Usop Ayang (Chicken Usop), Minoh Rakit (Minah The Raft) or Selamoh Merengue got their respective name. My lips are sealed.

Enough name dropping for one day.

(No reputations were harmed or malice intended in the making of this post.)


| 1:01 AM :: ::
27 CommentsOldStyle:
  • Pok Long "had his ways with the hostel cook"??!? *wide-eyed wonder* I hope he was at least of age then... *grin*

    By Blogger DaisyBoo Blacksheep, at 8:24 AM  
  • Daisbyboo, apparently he was. Mok Long didn't complain.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 10:32 AM  
  • I had the privelege of reading a draft of this post. I think I fell off the chair laughing. Mr Wei should have just spoken English -- it IS actually called a Ball Guard altho I think the "ball" referred to here was what the thing was supposed to guard AGAINST.

    By Blogger mokciknab, at 10:35 AM  
  • It's funny how someone is named because of the way they act. I have a friend with the nickname..Moonie (won't say why). Another, Rabbit (won't say why either). As for me, I have been branded with a few nicknames. The only nickname I answer to is Jack. I think some friends are too lazy to add the I and E. However Mann, you did not tell us your nickname or the origin of it. I'll be checking back to see if you make a new post with that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:59 AM  
  • Pretty easy to guess how Moonie and Rabbit got their names.
    I dont have a nickname Jackie. My family calls me Mann short for Bustaman. Some friends call me Lee ( short for Ali). Some call me Ku Ali which, if pronounced very fast, means "kuali" the wok.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 12:12 PM  
  • LOL....It took me awhile to get the names but then i remembered the Trengganu slang in it..

    I am very well acquainted with names since im a nuts with many nicks ;o).. from sports equipment to animals was even called 'Sotong' when i was a kid. Still couldnt figure out why ppl called me that till today. Anyway, love reading it uncle and had a good laugh and so much fun. Till the next blog....

    -lioness-

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM  
  • LOL....It took me awhile to get the names but then i remembered the Trengganu slang in it..

    I am very well acquainted with names since im a nuts with many nicks ;o).. from sports equipment to animals was even called 'Sotong' when i was a kid. Still couldnt figure out why ppl called me that till today. Anyway, love reading it uncle and had a good laugh and so much fun. Till the next blog....

    -lioness-

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:19 PM  
  • in my kampung there used to be a Mat Tikus because he sold racun tikus and Man Kelam because he was partially sighted.

    By Blogger Nectar, at 3:38 PM  
  • Thanks nectar. I rest my case.

    By Blogger Bustaman, at 3:46 PM  
  • There is a shop in front of the t-junction of Jalan Pusara, owned by Mat Parit. My dad's boastful friend is called Man Gagoh, and we used to call one of our canteen operators Mokcik Asang Kepal.

    This entry brought so many memories, thanks Pok Ku!(may I call you that?). Hmm..apparently, one of your other ardent readers has the same nick as me, too. Guess we lions tend to appreciate a good read!

    By Blogger lion3ss, at 9:24 AM  
  • you have purposely avoided names like Mah Babu Ku Anjang Mek Jik and Ngeyang Anok Patong so as not to be involved in stories related to those names.But those names were very famous those days.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:08 PM  
  • kalu haji leh sekateh nge wan muda barat tu sokmo dengor tok saya sebuk tapi dok kenal pung sape die. pok ku kenal cek ngoh meroh, duduk kat telage pacor, depang keda tokyo???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:16 PM  
  • In Kampung Cina (now Jalan Bandar) there is this family that named their sons according to their skin complexion. The eldest son is called Awang Pek (Pek in Hokkien means white). Yeah you guess right he is very fair whilst the second son is called Awang Oh (Oh means dark just liek kopi oh lah. Both these boys are probably granfather by now. Whether these are their registered names(as in birth cert) can't be sure. Chinese in Kampung Cina (especially the Hokkiens)adapted to calling or naming their sons Awang. Where do you think Tio Awang come from?

    By Blogger Tio Awang, at 3:03 PM  
  • I know cek ngoh megoh. Yes you're right he lived right opposite the Kedai Foto Tokyo. Why was he called such? His name is actually Ngah but since he lived in a house with red tiled roof they called him Cek (for Encik) Ngoh megoh. I believed he has passed on. I used to live on Jalan Syed Hussein, just behind the Kedai Foto Tokyo.

    By Blogger Tio Awang, at 3:07 PM  
  • Halo Pok Bustaman, Mu Doh Makang? Yup, I was also nicknamed Awang Pek and incidentally, I too came from KT. Skolah Kat Pasir Panjang. Can still remember that school, near to Skolah TB...
    It's great to have someone blogging from KT.

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