What’s in the name?


Another court’s anecdote. But this one is not mundane, I promise. At the risk of making a complete mockery out of myself, I narrate below what transpired in court recently. 

Judge: “Counsels?”

Me: “My lord, I am Elviza Michele for the Plaintiff and my learned friend –

Judge: “El whattt?”

Me: “Errr…Elviza Michele.” (at this point already sensing his faulty mood today!)

Judge: “Spell it for me.”

Me: “E.L.V.I.Z.A  M.I.C.H.E.L.E”

Judge: “Dad’s?”

Me: (in my head saying, what the hell he wants???) “I beg your pardon my lord?”

Judge: “Your dad’s name!” (his voice went few octaves higher, not a good start I must say).

Me: “Oh, Kamal My lord, my dad’s name is Kamal – K.A.M.A.L”

Judge: “So what’s your full name?”

Me: (silently heaving a long sigh) “Elviza Michele Kamal”

*proceeding continued, details are confidential*

At the end of the hearing, the Judge reprimanded me and me alone:-

Judge: “Counsel, next time you come to my court early so that the interpreter can put down your fancy name correctly.”

Sigh. I had enough of this crap. I have been explaining to people in my entire life about my name. Yes, I know its weird but it’s not my doing. Parents named their children remember? However, I once asked my late father this –

Me: “Ayah, why is my name so weird?”

Ayah: (smiling pleasantly) “Child, you read Romeo & Juliet, haven’t you?”

Me: “Yes I did, many times.”

Ayah: “Then, you should know the answer.”

I was perplexed by the reply. As I grew older, I know what he meant. Torn between two feuding families and her deep love for Romeo, Juliet lamented –

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

Apparently it matters not to Ayah that he named me differently, to his eyes I am always his rose. I seriously hope the decision of the hearing will be in my favour. Good day folks .


36 thoughts on “What’s in the name?

  1. I like your name…sound sweet and it projected a sweet personality about you in my mind (considering we haven’t met…hehehe)
    I have many nicknames…some dearest called me Darling (Dalilah is closed enough to Darling, right? It’s like Darrrlingglah), some closed friends from KPP and UIA called me ‘Datin’, some oversea’s buddies called me ‘Delilah’ or ‘D’ and I pen my name in the blog ‘Raden Galoh’… Sounds like I don’t quite like my own name right? No…it’s not that. It’s because I always feel that my name sounds soooo formal. So I will only use Dalilah for formal matters…hehehe
    Anyway, you are right what’s in the name?

    Dearest Dalilah,

    My friend I am so sorry to disappoint you, I am a lot of thing but SWEET. Jefree will laugh his head off if he reads this comment and make a fool out of me perhaps for a week!

    And no, your name is not formal, I think its rather classy. Remember Tom Joner “my my my delilah…..” What a great song. The last time I heard it in concorde hotel. Off to find the cd somewhere in the box

  2. Ahh… the name story.
    Did I tell you that I was almost named after a Russian? Yuri Gagarin bin Abdul Razak… how does that grab you?
    And I have a twin sister – explaining that in itself was a chore – and she I suppose would have been named Valentian Tereshkova binti Abdul Razak!
    Both were the first humans in space (’61 & ’63 respectively)… and us boy and girl twins were the first in our heritage, so… there’s obvious link there right?
    We came from outer… well inner space.
    But when I first met you pun we had this discussion about names didn’t we?
    Well, for what its worth, Elviza Michele Kamal is a sweet name, as sweet as the person 🙂

    Dear Amir,

    Seriously I cannot, for the live of me imagine you as Yuri Gagarin. I ll be laughing GAGAGAGAGA! I’ m sweet? Hahahahahahaha, you are joking my dear…. be back shortly on the agreement. A bit crazy in the office this week

  3. Awww.. I love your name. Some people just don’t appreciate a pretty name like yours.
    Picking up on what Freespace Nerd said… When my uncle’s youngest girl was born, he told my mum it was a pity she was not a boy. He so wanted to name his boy Zatopek Santa Maria. hahaha (Zatopek, I think, was a famous athlete – sprint runner in the 50s or 60s). As if that was not enough, the same uncle suggested years later (to my sister) that she name her son Tiger Woods Carlos.
    If that judge thinks your name is too fancy, I wonder how he deals with other counsels who have fancy names. hehe All must go to court early to register with interpreter. The longer one’s name is, the earlier one must reach court. sigh… 🙂

    Dearest Jac,

    Zatopek? Tiger Wood Carlos? dear dear…. I must say I need to laugh outloud. Here we go, LOL LOL LOL

  4. I use to pronounce your name as “AL VY ZA” until Nuraina corrected me with “AL VEE ZA”.
    Anywayz, on your next trip to the court with the same presiding judge, just console yourself that you’re meeting “EL LOCO” although I wouldn’t suggest you actually addressing him as such.
    Especially if you continue saying things like “but shar101 said it”.
    Cheers, sis.
    P.S. Am glad I’m not named “BAD AWIE”.

    My dear Shar,

    on a lighter note, why dont you come with in to court and defend me??? They can be nasty you know. My occupational hazard

  5. is that your real name? i mean, the real and real and real name? the one your Ayah named u the moment u were born? if it is, then what an Ayah he is. if that is not, then i assume you have very good reasons of changing the your real name.
    of course got something to do with the name.
    a name is the first to ‘resemble’ who you are to the others. and moslems are encourage to have good names. because it is believed that good name can help in the child upbringing.
    and yes, of course we have people with good name with bad behaviour. remember Said? or Radin? Bung? but, it is more to the personality that the name itself. i must say, that bad personalities are giving good name a big problem..aahhh..confius…
    yeah. u got a nice name.

    Dearest drMpower,

    Yes that my real name. Yes that s my real real real name. Yes, ayah named me that. And no, I am not changing it, Ayah likes it, he my parent, its his prerogative. 🙂

  6. Salam Elviza:
    What’s in the name?For some it doesn’t matter,but to others it does matters.
    Usually a name (esp in letters) will make people make their first impression on us. Like yours, people might not know whether you are a Malay,an Indian or Portugese (Melaka )? people might think you are a non-Muslim until they know you better. We cannot help if people judge a book by its cover.An album by its cover and inlays.
    And there are problems you have to face daily since your primary schooling,when you went to trengganu hostel, and in court.
    I’ve seen Concorde Chai.Boeing tan. Mohd.Hitler( a director).
    I’m sure they faced lots of ‘jeling-jeling pandang-pandang’ look.
    Good luck with your case sis.

    Salam TA,

    Yeah, people always find it difficult to figure me out. Normally, I just tell them “I melayu, melayu Kelantan, pure.” Then they get more confused. I got a lot of ridiculing in primary school. In MRSM KT not really. In court – depends on the judges’ mood. One of the judges (a real nice one) said this to me as I appeared in his chambers “you! you with a difficult name!” What can I do? Smile bodo bodo je lah….

    But Mohd Hitler? Beat me man….

  7. Aaah Elv, I will remember to file this post away when my daughter grows up (would I live that long?) to ask the same thing. Countless JPN officers had tried to dissuade me from putting the name; esp. since I refused to have the put the ‘binti’. ‘Eh, tak leh lah Encik, anak luar nikah aje takde binti. Nanti masuk sekolah, buat passport susah.’ I was livid, ‘Apa? Ko panggil anak aku anak haram?! Cakap baik-baik sket…’ but I got my way in the end.
    To me, being my one and only girl, she will forever be my rose. I’ll be 46 soon, and she’ll turns one tomorrow. And I will miss her first birthday, Elv!
    Oh, Papa misses you so, my Alesha Michelle . . .

    Dearest F,

    Oh Happy Birthday darling Alesha. What a beautiful name and what a doting father she has. What are you raving about? of course you live to see her graduate & get married. Not sure whether you ll be too happy when the latter happens! LOL

    Yeah people at registration department can be daft at times (no offence!). My cousin named her daughter Tatiana without the binti as well and I think what’s wrong with that? Suka hati mak bapak dia lah kan?

  8. Teringat lagu Michelle by the Beatles!
    Sometimes mak dan bapak dah bagi nama sedap-sedap, tapi kita panggil dengan nama singkat yang tak sedap, contohnya my husband’s friend who is called ‘Stopa’! His name is actually Mustafa.

    Dearest E,
    Hah orang kelantan & terengganu memang panggil Mustapa as Stopa, donno why 🙂

  9. heh heh… sorry. I was among the people who asked about your name. sorry 1000x!!!
    on my side, during schooldays, i found it hard and embarrassing to explain i have a brother who is in the same form/standard – but we are not twins. Further he was a super genius who went to MRSM Taiping – and I was always the average one.
    Anywuay, he was born in January, and I in December – in the same year!

    Hey Kron,

    No… its not like that, you are my friend and hence it is your automatic right to ask me anything! What I mean, its just that very uncomfortable in formal situation like court and stuff. Pak Imam yang nak kawen kan I pun terpaksa dibetulkan sebutan nama I berkali kali. Sigh.

    Thats why I named my boy easy – Luqman. If I have a girl I want to name her Kaseh (Jefree madly objects to this!) and if I have another boy I want to name him just like yours and Chal – Amar (of course at this point, Jefree is already calling me gile kuasa!)

    Ah… I remember those super genius who went to MRSM Taiping. Then your brother must be in the same batch with a dear friend of mine – Azrul Ryne? Please ask him.

    And I have a number of friends who have siblings born in the same year. Ok ape…. productive! LOL!

  10. Haha!
    Nice name (really!), but I’ve had my fair share of name-‘calling’…
    Its been Dolphin, Dair-pin, There-fee-nee, Stephanie, There-fin, Da-pene, and the best of all? Darfling…
    Yup, somebody joined my name:
    Sounds like a Maths equation…
    Takers anyone?
    PS: I posted this entry (about my name) in my other blog, under the same title as you (What’s in A Name?)!!! Wait lar, one day, I’d post it on my present blog too…

    Daphne dear,

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAAAA darfling? Hahahahahahah Dolphin? hahahahaha! funny lah you. Yeah people can be weird with names at times

  11. What’s wrong with your name? I think it is sweet and different. I know of many Hong Kees who adopted Christian names to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Names like Pedro, Jesus, Manchester, etc.
    In your case, you are differentiated in a nice, swee way. Thanks to your parents.

    Dear Daily Nibbler,

    Ah, sometimes I thank my father, sometimes just like that day in court -entahlah!

  12. Hi Sister…
    How are you? Hope that you are fine. This Saturday will meet Uncle Montie to celebrate his birthday at Secret Recipe, Summit Shopping Center at 4 pm. If you have a free time, come and join us.

    Amin dear,

    I heard that you are back. Very happy I am indeed. Will try to make it on saturday, but I doubt it though. I got 2 prior engagements I have to fulfill. But I will see you very very soon brother

  13. i have some malay friends named after , superman, ahmad james bond, embun pagi, suria ceria, syed nonama. sounds pelik but they are real. no worry about your name at least people do remember you by your name, someone with strange name, rather than your bad image.
    stay kickin’ lady

    Dear AHM,

    Are you serious? You have a friend named syed nonama? Alamak kelakar nya!! LOL

  14. Hi Chele,
    Hubby was thinking of naming our first son ‘Bentayan’ so that others can call him ‘Ben’ (in English pronounciation)… 🙂 Luckily, we decided to change to Amin, short and sweet.

    Adooohhh Aswi aswi… trust him lah to name his son Bentayan! What was he thinking? Lucky you got your way and named him Amin, sweet and short indeed

  15. Hi Mitch…..sounds ok? We are lucky our parents gave us GOOD names. Some chinese are not so lucky. This is a fact. I was teaching in Klang in the mid 60s and was incharge of producing the school annual year-book. I came across a name T.T. Hai belong to a lady clerk. My policy then was to spell out the full name of everyone featured. Unabashedly she said: Hai Tai Tai. Go figure out what it means in cantonese. But this lady stood by the name she was named and didnt blush one bit. I salute her, but got it printed as T.T.Hai. Yeah, lets be proud of our given name instead of giving ourselves names like Fury Foo, or Tornado Tan!

    Zorro Dear,

    Mitch sounds okay. And trust me I know the meaning of Hai Tai Tai. Got a lot of chinese friends who taught me a loooootttt of bad words!

  16. I wonder if I am off balance, whence most thought your name reminded them of sweetness, it evokes thoughts of the Addams Family for me, you know the elegant but spooky lady in dark costume… sorry aaa, its just me being myself.

    Dearest Apandi,
    Oh fear not my friend, I got worse from a lot of other people and no, I am not sensitive, esp about name! I dont think I reflect the addams family character. One of my best friends call me “Tempest”. Wonder if that can help you imagine my disposition better. He he he…. Actually, you can ask my husband, he will give a complete description without qualms. Good day my friend, am leaving the office shortly.

  17. ‘Oh Happy Birthday darling Alesha. What a beautiful name and what a doting father she has. What are you raving about? of course you live to see her graduate & get married. Not sure whether you ll be too happy when the latter happens!’
    Elv, thanks for the wishes for my Alesha. My wife, often likes to remind me, ‘Hmmph, ada ke tak org tua ni lagi nanti… si kenit tu bila masok Tingkatan 3, abang dah 60 tahu!’ [Better half is almost a decade younger]. Ouch! I guess there’s people like Dato’ K around to give hope. 😉
    Errr, perhaps best I’m not around when the jantans starts hovering. I don’t think I’m ever gonna be cool on that score! 😉

    My dear friend,

    You, just like all daddys in the world, would have to go through that day – ohhhhh I will actually pay money to have a look at your face at that time! He hehehehe hohohohoho!

  18. Elviza darling… talking about names, don’t know how true this is la … but my neighbour told me that a business man was in town to meet her boss. He walked into her office and greeted her and said, “Hello, my name is Richard Longcock. I have a two o’clock appointment.” She tried in vain to suppress her chuckle. He said, “I know I throw people off a lot with that name.” Embarassed to call him Mr Longcock, she asked him if she could address him as Mr Richard. He said, “Oh, that’s not necessary. Everyone calls me Dick.” 😉

  19. Excuse me, got one more. hehehe You know soldiers in the western countries have their last names patched on their uniforms. Once, I saw this soldier whose last name is Parts. I quickly looked for his rank. I was relieved for him. He was a Sgt. I cannot imagine the teasings he went through during training. He had to start off as a Private. 🙂
    OKlah.. enough of my nonsense. To Mat Salo, Happy Birthday to your girl, Alesha Michelle. Just like my brother in law, he dreads the day the ‘jantans’ start hanging around his girl.

    Dearest Jac,

    LOL LOL, duh Private Parts as a name….

  20. Hi,
    I went ahead and curi-ed your idea and publish my original piece (abit of changes lar) about my name on my blog. If you have time, go check it out! Tapi, er, jangan tarik gua pergi mahkamah yea?

    Dearest Daphne,

    No lah… where got you curied my idea… your post is original what..

  21. Strange names I’ve come across:
    Romeza Ipap – classmate in primary school. Sadly we had A LOT of fun with this
    Karutan Cina – a UiTM lecturer
    Kok Thoo Fatt – ask me later what we called his wife
    I also remember reading the Malay Mail back in the 1900s with these reports:
    A boy called James Bond + his three Chinese names. He always has problems he said when registering or inroducing himself. You think?
    A girl called Love. Surname? Lee. Love Lee…
    My dad says – and I believe him – he has a friend who named his son Satria Mambo Gege. Go figure.
    But Elviza Michele Kamal? Quite ordinary kan? Until people see you are a Malay la…
    Did anyone ever call you Mi-chay-lay? Teachers? I have a friend named Eleanor Simone Danker. Teachers call her I-lia-nor Si-mo-ney Danker…
    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
    Y Gagarin

    Dearest Yuri Gagarin (HAHAHAHAHHA GAGAGAGAGAGA!)

    Yes dear, I got the Mi-chay-lay. But I am beyond caring anymore. But Satria Mambo Gege? Oh dear, my stomach cant take this anymore! You really are funny my friend

  22. Just browse through few bloggers and remember long time did not visit your blog.
    I like your name…rare and special.
    Take care!
    Dearest Uncle Monty,
    I am delighted to see you around my blog again. Thank you so much for the compliment. And one more thing Uncle Monty, I am so sorry as I have to give your birthday celebration a miss this saturday. We have prior engagements that can’t be canceled. I wish you all the best anyway. Take care

  23. Masa mula-mula grad dulu (zaman mid 86/87 recession) I used to work as casual staff with MIDFCCS – issuing house. Dok process share applications. Macam-macam jenis nama I jumpa. The one I especially cannot forget: SAMPUL bin SURATman.

    Dearest Pi,

    he he he he ho ho ho kik kik kik…. are you for real? Sampul Bin Suratman?

  24. Salam
    Dearest Elviza
    Sebelum ni tak sempat nak baca ni. Kawe gi sana sini.
    Seingat kutu ini, Islam menyuruh kita menamakan anak-anak kita dengan nama yang baik-baik. Tetapi, (siapa-siapa tolong betulkan kalau saya salah) tidak disebut pula dalam bahasa apa. Tidak diwajibkan pula dalam bahasa Arab sahaja.
    Kerana melahirkan anaknya dalam bulan Ramadhan, penyanyi Indonesia, Rossa dan suaminya menamakan anak mereka dengan nama Rizqi Langit Ramadhan.
    Adakah nama itu tidak baik?
    Masa kecil-kecil dulu, kutu ini tak suka sungguh-sungguh nama Abu Bakar (maksudnya bapa dara. Ceritanya, Khalifah Abu Bakar tidak dipanggil Abu Aisyah atau Bapa ‘Aisyah tetapi hanya dipanggil Abu Bakar, sebab ‘Aisyah dinikahi Nabi Muhammad s.’a.w.w. ketika ia masih dara).
    kutu ini lebih suka dengan nama ‘Abdul Halim yang mak saya berikan ketika saya masih bayi. Mak saya berikan nama itu sebab saya asyik menangis tak tentu fasal. Setelah digantikan dengan nama ‘Abdul Halim, barulah tak keriau..
    Sekarang saya tak ambil pot langsung. Lantak hampalah nak panggil bakaq ka, halim ka..
    Dengan ikhlas pak ngah nak habaq bagi, dan tak tau pasai apa, saya selesa sungguh dengan nama Elviza Michele…
    Banyak benda yang saya tak tau. Ada orang tanya, awat hang sayang kat bini hang sampai hang tak minat langsung cerita kahwin dua? (tak berani cakap besaq.. Tapi setakat ini, memang tak minat langsung)
    Saya kata saya tak tau. Yang saya tau, saya sayang isteri saya. Dalam setahun lepas, saya tengok cerita Hindustan. Heronya kata, cinta tak memerlukan sebab. Agaknya itulah yang terjadi pada saya.
    At least your ayah has his reason to give you that beautiful name.

    Dearest Pak Ngah,

    Ha…. ader pun Pak Ngah! Ingat kan Pak Ngah adah tak ingat saya…. terima kaseh lah sebab suka nama saya *malu malu*

  25. Elviza Michele is a beautiful name and I believe yr dad got good taste.
    I have known guys with names like Sulaiman, Umar, Salahudin et al nama2 nabi dan pahlawan Islam, tapi perangai macam setan.
    Whats in a name indeed.

    Dearest Ancient Mariner,

    I know a lot of people with beautiful & meaningful names but with errr, hmmm, questionable kind of perangai! He he he he 🙂

  26. I think without doubt, I have the most extra ordinary name in the entire Bloggospsthere. Its mouthful, meaningless and most of all, continued endless to get people guessing.
    People call me BigDog for short. NO one can effectively insult or demean me any further after I self proclaimed that I am a dog. Or so the say 🙂
    Nevertheless, its never in the name. People are often reminded of their deeds and achievements, not because of their name. Would anyone remotely remember the insignificant name of Biggum Dogmannsteinberg in years to come, if he did nothing, achieved nothing and never risen to any occasion, just weaving through the complicated fabrics of mediocrity and average meaningless bland actions of life?
    If we chose to be singled out by name, then we deserve to be within the practitioners of form over substance.

    Dear BigDog, true true true. Right until today I still cannot pronounce your penname correctly. My tounge will do the acrobats!

  27. Miss Elviza,
    Everybody here seemed to have missed a very salient point.
    None of your commentors stated the obvious, so I will, namely, to say that it is an extremely well-written piece Ma’am! One of the best!
    The dialogue at the beginning is real but funny at the same time. Elviza.. you got what it takes to be a real writer, if you ever decide to chuck your day job…

    Dear Purveyour,

    Somehow, you write like lawyers – “salient point, namely…”

    I think you are a lawyer, correct me if I am wrong. You know, comments like this would make me smile the whole day. Have always thought of chucking my day job and write full time, but I doubt that’s gonna happen anytime soon. Too many bills to pay and to little talents to show in writing department.

    I am so happy you get the message hidden behind this post. See you around again Purveyour. Take care now

  28. You got 39 positive comments based on your name alone! And its not even a pseudo.

    Dear Daily Nibbler,

    Thanks for the statistic!

  29. Eliza….Black said you were coming. Did missed you. Maybe one nice day..no need birthday…any day to have a get together with Black and his lovely GF Yin. Just got Black to meet Sheih this evening…now most have seen each other face to face….how nice.
    Take care and be happy!

    Uncle Monty Dear,

    I wanted to come but I didnt realise I have prior engagement that can’t be canceled. I was really looking forward for your birthday bash. I know I know… I must go see my little brother Black and what? he has a girlfriend? He he he…. absolutely must go see the gf too. Good day Uncle Monty

  30. Thts a funny story. 😉 but u have such a unique and sweet name. im not sure where ur located at since im new to ur blog (im sure il find out sooner or later) but 3 yrs in the states and i have so much trouble explaining to ppl abt our long names and the fact tht we dont have first and last name per se. And since im not planning of changing my name anytime soon i guess iv to keep on explaining. hehe..

    Dearest Farina,
    Thanks for dropping by, I am honoured. I am in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Which part of the states are you in? And yes, go on explaining friend, you know people can be a bit funny about names?>

  31. Evliza….Black and bamboo river and few NGOs have met me 2 times this week over lunch and coffee. Few spoked about you…and like to meet you face to face.
    They are here for the mongo girl murder case and postponed…so wild away time and I am so lucky to meet them. I will not reveal their names…but we are supposed to meet again next week. So you are ALWAYS invited.
    Just watch out any message I may post at Black or Susan’s blog…on time and date. If you read one that we are meeting…..please do join us. It is an open invitation to you and all lovely bloggers/commentators to sit around and have a serious..yet full of fun clean chit chat.
    Sorry I call you Eliza….I was thinking sweet thoughts of you through a song….a calypso song ..by Harry Balifonte.

    Dearest Uncle Monty,

    I hope you are well. And I am really honoured to be invited. I will try my best to go but work as always doesnt really understand that part of me 🙂 Take care Uncle Monty and you can call me Eliza, it doesnt matter 🙂

  32. Elviza, im in orange, ca. baru semalam my dentist asked me,”how do u pronounce ur middle name?” so there goes another explanation of i/we dont have middle name just our name and our father’s name. 🙂

    Dear Farina,

    Sigh… I figured you just have to keep on explaining then…

  33. Salam ,

    *i like your name very much VERY MUCH & it sounds beautiful
    *you’ve always ALWAYS been my idol ! so , keep writing . hehe (:
    *and Im from Kelantan

    Take Care .
    Suf .

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