Of the names for men, I’m partial to Robert simply because it’s the name of Twilight’s Robert Pattinson. Translated to Spanish, the way Roberto rolls up and down my tongue is an absolute kick. Next is Miguel because I had a high school classmate named Miguel who was quite a looker.  But he became the butt of jokes because of his perky derriere that could rival Granny Goose – this logo of the tortilla chips sold in the Philippines. You can spot him a mile way because his rear end would be bouncing in mid air. For women’s names, I find Scarlett unique although I can’t help associate it with the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but the striking actress Scarlet Johansson does come to mind, too. Christina is nice – I simply love the way the R jumps off my tongue. Rosario, my mother’s name, is another R-rolling name I like.

Those names are good names in the sense that they reflect good-looking people so no making fun of them. But imagine being named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe and you can’t string a proper sentence together, or Marry or Merry. Being named after a fruit like Apple is a tad difficult to swallow. What’s next? Naming children after vegetables like asparagus or broccoli? I’m still having difficulties accepting this Korean singer-actor’s name, Rain. I ask: “Why not blizzard, typhoon or sleet?”

The play Romeo & Juliet first had me thinking of what’s in a name after Juliet rationalized her love for Romeo, her family’s mortal enemy. A name says a lot although in certain cases, like in the case of Romeo, names are mere symbols that do not entirely represent a person. On the other hand, names can embody everything, which can become a burden especially if certain names are of a sensitive nature. Kiki is cute in the Japanese context – think of the cuddly Sanrio characters Little Twin Stars. Kiki is the boy twin who flies with the aid of the star on his back and loves to go star-fishing.  Lala is his sister who loves to cook, draw and write poems. Apparently, she’s a little touchy compared to her brother. It’s still fine in the Indonesian context. It’s the nickname for Kriesky, but it took me a while to get used to it because the Kiki I met was far from like a Little Twin Star. He’s tall, buffed like Taylor Lautner, moonlights as a gym instructor, and carries a shirt and tie well.

The uneasiness sets in when Kiki is used in the Philippines. It’s the word for the female genitals so a man with that name can never live it down. Another name, Titi, is fine in Indonesia – it’s a woman’s name. However, in the Philippines, it’s a source of immense awkwardness because it refers to the male’s crown jewels.

The naming game isn’t as easy as it sounds. You can represent beauty, intelligence or both, on one hand or become the laughing stock on the other. How do we get around this conundrum? Let’s learn the name and get to know the person.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Names! I have a boatload of thoughts on the matter. All of which boils down to this: We should be able to change at will the name by which the world knows us. A name to fit a season in our lives…I can get behind that!


    • Posted by rgarcellano on January 28, 2010 at 9:25 am

      Am suddenly reminded of people like the singer formerly named Prince, J Lo who, I read, has a new name and some of my old classmates. A name for a season…


  2. Posted by rgarcellano on January 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

    call me winter :p


  3. You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.


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