What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Ah, Indonesia, don’t you love this country where everything seems to be a matter of urgency? As if everything is so important that everything needs to be taken care of. So, recently in Indonesia there’s a funny story about a guy who being named Tuhan (God in Indonesian language). What started as running gag such as God already here, he’s in Indonesia (that Tuhan guy) became a national issue. So far that MUI or Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Indonesian board committee of mufti) tells him to change his name (yeah right, as if it’s cheap or easy to change every paper your name already on).

Not long after Tuhan, people discover a guy named Saiton (Syaitan or Satan), pretty bad @$$ name if you ask me, Hardcore to the max ha ha. This guy said his family once tried to replaced his name into something else but he become sick so they changed his name back to Saiton and everything went normal he he.

God & Satan exist peacefully in Indonesia ^_^
God & Satan exist peacefully in Indonesia ^_^

IMG_3457Kind of cool knowing God & Satan (Tuhan & Saiton) are here in Indonesia ha ha. Joking aside, seeing all the strange names around us (I attach some of the weirdest I found on the right) probably makes us wonder, what are their parent thinking when they give them their name? I mean, give someone a name is not like choosing a random thing that appear when the kid are born (believe it or not, Bataknese people in Indonesia used to name their child with the thing that happen or appear when their kid born, like Guntur or lightning, Nokia, Siemens, etc but that’s in the old day). In my experience, the name our parent gives is the hope, pray and wish of what they want us to become in the future (like Selamat which mean safe, untung which mean lucky, etc), while our friend name us for what we really are or for what they think of us (skinny, smelly, etc).

Sometimes, a name can predestined someone’s fate, which is why our name contains all the hope, dream, expectation & wishes our parent wish to be. That’s why sometimes people change their names. Some to avoid bad luck, some hoping the new name will bring them luck and fortune (like stage name for artist). In Indonesia, there’s a myth that sometimes some name will be to hard to handle that their name need to be changed in order to make the name bearer healthy (like in Saiton case where he fell sick when he changed his name so his family change his name back to Saiton). Indonesian first president Ir. Soekarno changed his name because when he was named Kusno he became fragile and easily sick. Another “celebrity” that can’t bear the weight of his name is the person I’m going to attach the bottom of this paragraph he he. His name is so awesome that he can’t handle it even commit a crime being jailed, the thing that his source name material won’t do, this Singaporean name is Batman bin Suparman (Batman son of Superman) ^_^.

Best. Name. Ever!
Best. Name. Ever!

IMG_2507My wife and I are thinking hard what to name our son. We sort out so many names, from Indonesia, folk-lore, religious, even video game. Our son name is Alundra Etzelquin Prathomo and probably most of you know that Alundra is a Playstation 1 video game title, an action RPG in the same vein as Zelda. A game so hard that it leave so much impression in me that somehow I remember it for years to come (or maybe I’m just a big fan of adventure RPG, if my kid is a girl I named her Zelda ^_^). Seriously, it’s a hidden gem that you should try once. So hard but fair you dig it till its over.

So, I guess when Shakespeare questioned “what’s in a name? You will “smell” as sweet no matter what you name is” , probably because his name is have a good meaning. Imagine if his name is something like Dickhead or Dweeb, or his nickname meant something sinister. Be proud of your name, it’s what your parent wish you to become, it’s could be the one that define you or shaped your future, it’s your identity. I hope my son can appreciate his name & live up to the expectation and hope we wish he would become.


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