of the legacies of our stay in SMSS are the nicknames that
many of us carry to this day. Some are apt, some are funny,
some are plain silly while others are simply cruel. Scrolling
through some that I can recall, I can't help but smile.
Kebas, Mentega, Jin, Panjang, Bacin, Joko, Ngojack, Toyong,
Toyei, Ngoceng, Botak, Mangkuk, Wak Ijan, Pot, Samek, Ayam,
Kambing, Unta, Baby, Begok, Harmon, Ganjare, Andre, Tengar,
Sate, Chisel, BJ, Apek, Joko and Cicon, just to name a few.
Get my drift? Ever wondered where those names came from?
Were there stories or more appropriately, legends behind
those colourful names? OK, I think most of those names might
not be in the same league as Maverick or Iceman in the movie
Top Gun but I'd like to think Goose would be hovering around
the same altitude as most of the nicknames that I have dug
got it from the way they do things. Walk, run, talk or laugh
in a particular way and that could make or break your future.
I think we know one who was unfortunate enough to have our
modern maths teacher mispronounce her name, lo and behold,
her nickname is to this very day is a carpentry tool. Thank
you, sir, Mr. Morais sir!! Take heart, you are not alone.
Mr. Morais was also responsible for the "greatest"
joke, the one about the "mentega terbang" or rather
the butterfly. I could still see the smug and happy look
on his face at our reactions to his joke. Everyone was laughing
their heads off, not at his joke really, but at the word
mentega which is someone's nickname (Oh, look at that mentega
terbang!). Well, Mr. Morais was happy, we were happy and
even Saifi was smiling. You can win them all sometimes.
favourite path is our fathers' and grandfathers' names.
Saru and Masrin could attest to this. Some are plain corruption
of our names. We had three camels among us, Unta Kassim,
Unta Kadir and Unta Mongel. How some of us measure physically
could be the cause of our dearth. You're tall, short or
a little on the chubby side and you're it. Then there are
things that we did not do. The legend goes that one guy
woke up late in Form 2 and didn't take a shower in order
not to be late. I think to this day he's known as you know
what. Some have nicknames that are corruptions of our names,
others because of their race or ethnicity - nothing racist
here, mostly are guys of Javanese descent that goes by Wak,
to mention a few, Wak Ijan, Wak Cingkir and our venerable
Wak Tam. Some get it because they came from a particular
place (the cruelest of them all because I am a victim of
such a route!!!) and others simply because they remind us
of someone else. By which we could jump to the conclusion
that none of us looked like Richard Gere or John Travolta.
That would have been a huge asset to anyone fortunate enough
to go around with such a nickname. But there is one George.
Now, which George he was named after, let it be George Clooney
or George of the Jungle, I can't say. But there is a George
as sure as there's a sun, a moon and the stars.
by far the origins of most of the nicknames are unknown
or simply forgotten. They really brought out the creativity
in all of us. Explain the origins of the names I mentioned
above. We'd be hard-pressed to do so. But I've heard how
Salim Pot got his.
did I ever felt insulted with my nicknames? Not really,
after a while it even became useful. I mean, when you say
Halim to someone, it would need a while to register, even
the remark "Halim mana?" would crop up but say
it along with my nickname, it would register almost immediately.
Oh, Halim tu. Or Kamal Poyeng. Or Mustafa Moreyh. Or Hassan
Turing. But then I am not the entire population of the world,
some are a little less liberal than I am, which is understandable.
But whatever it is, for many of us, our nicknames have stayed
with us all these years and will probably be with us for
the rest of our lives. That could pose problems with our
children and grandchildren.