While flipping through the newspaper recently, I came across a news article about Ning Baizura getting married. Another celebrity marriage, you say. Right... What caught my eye wasn't the news about her nuptial. It was a name. I'm referring to her new beau's name. What's interesting was how long it is! OMAR SHARIF CHRISTOPHER LAYTON DALTON. Don't try pronouncing it with your mouth full, you may just choke and die!
The guy is English (I think) and of course, has converted to Islam (a pre-req in this country!) As tradition goes, got to change name lah (though at present, I understand, the rules have changed somewhat regarding names) A few questions come to mind :
1. Why in the world would you want to name yourself after a movie star of yesteryear that is synonymous with some of the greatest classics ever made? It's not like he's from Timbuktu, never watched telly and can claim ignorance. But come on...OMAR SHARIF!??
2. I wonder there was enough little boxes in his application form for spouse visa with the Immigration Department...
3. When they procreate eventually, the resulting offspring will have an even tougher time with filling forms...imagine this 'Sharifah Maya Shereena bt. Omar Sharif Christopher Layton Dalton'!
4. Have you ever wondered how many spaces are there in your MyKad for a person's name? Will they issue you 2 MyKads in case the name does not fit into the name column...(IC 1 : Sharifah Maya Shereena binti (bersambung), IC 2 : (disambung) Omar Sharif Christopher Layton Dalton)
...and the list of questions goes on and on...
But seriously...what's in a name? Apart from the obvious, it is a very personal thing and yet we do not seem to have any choice over. We merely inherit the name given to us by our parent (pray that you have a clever set of parents). Some unfortunate ones have to live with such enormous pressure of answering to an embarrassing name that borders being obscene. You can understand why the guy at the corner of the waiting area in a bank refuses to answer when the clerk shouts out loud, 'Chow Chee Bai' (smelly cunt). He wish he could just shrivel up and die!
So for those who actually have a choice in naming yourself, choose wisely. I'm of course referring to Islamic converts. Yes...yes...choose a name with great meaning that reflects who you are/or want to be (whichever tickles your fancy). Yaadah, yaadah, yaadah... But it seems that there's more to consider if you happen to be a Chinese Muslim convert. Like :
1. Will you keep the name given to you by your parents? (Most parents find it unfilial of you if you abandon it) Ancestral curse, family shame and threats of being disowned aside, this can potentially be really messy.
2. But my dad's name is Cheong Fatt Choy, not Abdullah... (again, I'm told the regulation regarding this has changed but it's still a consideration.)
3. The eventual offspring...errr...what to name him/her? Can have Chinese name ah? Got bin/binti whatever at the back ah? Can him/her carry the dad's family surname ah? Ah? Ah?
Possible permutations :
1. Maya Karina Chong Fatt-Tze bt. Muammar Gadafi Chong Lan Si
2. Maya Karina Chong Fatt-Tze bt. Muammar Gadafi Chong
3. Maya Karina Chong bt Muammar Gadafi Chong
4. Maya Karina bt Muammar Gadafi
5. Maya Karina Chong Fatt-Tze
6. Maya Karina Chong
Hmmmm....personally, I prefer option 5 from the lot. Then they will be those who will say, 'Itu bukan nama Melayu' Errr...the resulting child will be mixed, so yeah...she is not Mah Lai to begin with, technically speaking. If it's a boy, well, then it'll be a little more testing.
So, does a name signals your race and decides how you will be treated in the future (regardless of how mixed up you are to begin with) or is it just a gift that a loving set of parents give to their child? Idealistically, I favour the latter but then you'll never know.
Important thing is, let the parents choose. Nobody else has any business in saying otherwise. You are not the one who will eventually have live with the name.