Sunday, 18 July 2010

Identity Crisis

Kids at boarding schools love to call one another by nicknames. Some of these describe the kid to a T, like Jimok (gemok), or Bear (big-sized) or Kepeng (flat) or Gori (like a gorilla) while others are a corruption or a shortened version of the kid's real name like Ep, Harry, Tilot, Syiro, some are even called by their father's or grandfather's names!

What the heck, even adults love nicknames, especially those living in the blogosphera. In the non-sopo precinct where I frequent it's interesting to note that men tend to use an address before their names, either Pak this or Uncle that or Captain this or Dr that, as well as they are not adversed to being thought of as old, as in Old Stock, or Ol Rascal...

Whereas the ladies are more creative in giving themselves pretty names like... ahem... zendra, kay-leeda, desert rose, or mamasita, even just kama. Some refer to themselves as someone's mom, or elder sister or even declare themselves as being of the feline family, either tame or wild. But very few have taken to call themselves Makcik this or Aunty that... (is Mek young or old by the way?)

It's just so typical, isn't it? Men generally have an inherent need to be addressed as persons of seniority hence authority, and women mostly are just not that bothered. Nevertheless I cannot now fathom why I chose such a frivolous-sounding name for myself, maybe I did not know then that I would last this long blogging or that I would meet up with any of you blogotizens out in the real world, let alone hear myself being addressed as Zendra or Zen. It's even more awkward when I get introduced to other people by that name - in those instances I was able to establish eye contact and smile, but not able at all to say "Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Zendra", because in the real world I AM NOT Zendra.

Mat Bangkai transitioned to Sofian Boe very smoothly - at the same time revealing a picture of himself (a far cry from a bangkai is he and hardly a mamat). Like him, many others have their real world names on Facebook but not me - mine is "Zendy Zee"! My myriad nieces and nephews as well as siblings are already used to that, when they asked why Zendra, or Zendy Zee, I answered why not?

So my question is when next I meet you guys out on terra firma, will you be comfortable calling me Mariah or would you still insist on Zendra, or Zen or Kak Zen? Willmie Jalius aka Pak Tuo refers to me as Kak Mariah outside and Kak Z in here, but he's a cousin once removed, it's quite easy for him. Red Alfa and I, we sometimes forget where we are.

You know, someone said (was it Harun Yahya?) that life on this earth is a dream WE control - the Hereafter being the true world, real and everlasting; but for bloggers and facebookers and the like,  have we (or at least me) have we set ourselves up in yet another unreality, simply by virtue of a nickname, a persona (like a pirate)? Yew You figure.

(Don't mind her, Zendra's just rambling... and wondering what her name in that everlasting world might be)


Pak Zawi said...

I am retaining my Pak just to remind myself and my readers that I am not young anymore and I should behave like the person my of my age should. When I was Zawi, I did act like a person of that age hehehe.

Wan Sharif said...

Lucky me.. I use my name.. not my full name.. but then I am called Ayoh Wang in my work place and some of the younger (including the not so young..he..he) bloggers start using Ayoh Wang ..I obliged ajer lah..
In my yahoo group e-mail, I addressed myself as OB short for orang bulan a nickname from secondary school and went right through to varsity.. and my email address goes as Back then, in my hostel day ..many friends carried nicknames such as itek, burong, Kongga.. so when juniors asked me whether I am angry when addressed as orang bulan.. I told them, I am thankful that my nickname say I am Orang not binatang.. ha,ha

Anonymous said...

nothing beats the pirate yoohohoo

Red Alfa said...

I would keep this signature name and see the new and old friends who would refer me with this name, for as long as it's the defining phase in my life.

I have been and very taken with the names during that period/phases of my life. People from those phases would still call me the names I had called myself or was known as at those times.

How they found that I have moved on from what they had known who I was then!

As for me, it's the satisfaction that Change is the only constant!

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Zawi, yes "Pak" does serve that purpose, also communicates to others that you're "harmless" LOL!!!
When you were plain Zawi, i bet you were a ZOWEEE kind of person ;)

Zendra-Maria said...

Wan, you have that title "Wan" which in a way says you are not ordinary - but the Ayoh Wang depicts something that goes "kaching, kaching" hahaha

But why Bulan? aaah could it be the white full moon?

Zendra-Maria said...

Capt, and what beats the spirited pirate? - only encroaching AGE

Zendra-Maria said...

Red, you're the only one I know who id himself by a possession - you must be very very very proud of it. But whatever you refer yourself as.. to whoever, you're still the _____ that I first called you that long-ago time.... sshhhh

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Ok Mariah ZZ & better half RA ‘kaching’ too…hahaha..

Call my Leng Chai, Unker, or Apek but this is me Tommy & this is how one would describe me to the bone…kakaka;(What u c is what u get)

TOMMY is Spontaneous and Whimsical.
You are a seeker. You often find yourself restless - and you have a lot of questions about life.
You tend to travel often, to fairly random locations. You're most comfortable when you're far away from home.
You are quite passionate and easily tempted. Your impulses sometimes get you into trouble.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.
You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.
At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.
You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.
You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Tommy ‘shiok sendiri’ again, soli lah cannot help meself…kakaka

Zendra-Maria said...


You can talk
Till cows come home
I still no see
A face to zoom
So I no get
What I no see
To me you are
Just abc's

pakmat said...

..well, I was Mat Hitam when I was a kid..which I did not really mind then..or now..some of my cousins still call me that..once I was Mat Comel..which was not too bad either, seeing how ugly I was..and I think Zen suits you..hmm..maybe I should rename my blog to Black Mat..

Zendra-Maria said...

Pakmat, I like Mat Comey - perhaps you should rename your blog that :)

Anonymous said...

eerrmm...aging pirate ? with the CAN DO spirit, no worries mate !. hihihi. Capt's Longhouse is just a branding strategy and pirating an attraction to draw in the crowd-lah. As long as it works, if not why not ?. hehehe.

"wealth is the product of man's capacity to think and act". yoo !

Zendra-Maria said...

Arrrr... that be pirattitude fer yer...

mekyam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mekyam said...

"when they asked why Zendra, or Zendy Zee, I answered why not?"

that's no answer, sweetie!

in fact, it runs contra to the thrust of this entry of yours, that everyone's internet nick of choice, like it or not, reflects the identity s/he wants to portray.

with me, "yam" being immutable, the choice was simply between "absolutelygorgeousfemale" and "mek". so it was a case of simplicity trumping a mouthful! ;D

Zendra-Maria said...

hey there, yam the "absolutelygorgeousfemale"!

i should have thought longer about that nick i chose for myself, perhaps i just liked how it sounded but till now don't know what it portrays hehe maybe you can tell me? Now I've got to get used to being Zendra... Zen... seeing that I've started to meet virtual friends live hahaha...

(luckily "zebra" didn't stick around for long hehe)

hope to meet you too one day

Jamil said...

I see nothing wrong with the nickname we use in the family. Calling you "M" comes so naturally. Also "J" for our elder sister. Calling our younger brother "Mat Dit" is a slight change but then he does look like a Mat Dit.

The special thing about these nicknames is that not only does it identify the addressee but it also identifies the addressor. Someone calling "M" can only be "J". Someone calling out Mat Dit can only be Tokmi.

Keep your Zendra and you'll know who your blogmates are. Aunty Zee are those internet savy nieces and nephews. Aunty M are those real world nieces and nephews.

Maria? Reserve that for Khazakstan immigration officials.

Red Alfa said...


Now that you mentioned it on who could call who and himself along lines of accepted protocol?

It struck me oh long, long ago when we first met, that you announced yourself as Abang in company of Arwah Dad, z and me! I had thought you were supposed to be Adek to her until Arwah himself called you Abang!

Later in the bigger clan gatherings, the longs, the tehs and the daks made no sense to the new insider who still remains wondering of the inter-family linkages that starts in Bugisland!

Al-Manar said...

So what's in a name? I have legal documents to prove that I own three names and two for my father. And, yet, once I tried very hard to tell the Mat Salleh that I never had a Christian Name and neither was I a "Mr Bin". So now, being older than most, I enjoy being a simple 'Pakcik'

mekyam said...

zee, when we first "met" it was your saucy writing style and sense of humour that struck me the most [that is always the case with me when bumping into people online]. i thought it zany yet zen and the zendra nick and the avatar [ESP the avatar!] somehow fitted rather nicely.

that first impression of you still holds today. to borrow a parlance of the young, i thought you rawked then. even after being revealed your non-virtual data, i haven't changed my mind. if anything, i know now that you're not just saucy, but sweet too. :D

p.s. i also look forward to meeting you in person sometime soon, here or there or anywhere.

Zendra-Maria said...

Jamil err Mel err Abang (only to Mum n Dad hehe) err Jam err A.J err Uncle Mel err Ayah err .... Bang Jamil etc

Come to think of it now I'm Maria to no one except the authorities and in-laws as well as the older aunties who confuse me with J. So Zendra it still is for the virtual world hehe.

PS - kalau my blogger and fb friends doakan untuk Zendra - sampai tak?

Zendra-Maria said...

Pakcik, you have 3 official names and here I am grappling with my nickname. But how did you end up having 3 names?

Mr Bin - that's hilarious!

A chinese friend of ours at an airport in the US didn't realise he was being paged over the PA system because they were calling for his last name :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Aaah Mekyam, it's quite embarrassing to be known for sauciness and zaniness at my age... when will I realise that I'm actually already getting on :)

Can adding a "Mak" before Zen help - definitely not "Mek" of course

And I am sweet too? Awwww thank you Mekyam - I will definitely go to sleep now with a smile on my face - mmmwwwaaahhhh! :))))

edelweiss said...

Kak Zendra...

your nickname suits u... :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Thanks myn edelweiss, your nick suits you so well too... cos "every morning you greet me / Small and white clean and bright / You look happy to meet me"


Anonymous said...


...another interesting picture of Awi YellowHouse, am sure waiting for its write-up too. Perhaps zeim can add on with his tales there. Met him there today, he is doing fine yaa !. Becoming a real seafarer in quick time yaa...he is great.

Zendra-Maria said...

Capt, can't say I can write much about Awi Yellowhouse without trying the toilet first hehehe.... but thanks for taking us there. Muni didn't take many pictures because I think we were like taken aback by the concept and then meeting that formidable lady Azizah pulak :DDD

Anonymous said...


,,,next trip across do stay there for a night or two to get to know Pulau Duyung with Azeim to show you guys the works !...most interesting characters plus sea pirates hohohoo, the real mc'coy so to speak-lah. You might want to retire there for good, if you are not careful !. There his British guy staying at Awi's for the past 18 years hohohoo.
,,,we have to keep a close eye on Azeim too, he might not want to leave after his tour of duty there. I know the feel since i keep going back for the past 28 years....traditional wooden sailing boats !!!! my dream but time is not on my side unfortunately. Guess pwr boats will keep me happy too. eeerrmm a GrandBank would be fine yaa.
,,,just thinking out loud again hihihi

Zendra-Maria said...

Capt, that brit must be as eccentric as they come - 18 years? he must be very adept at "aiming" already hehe

As for crashing at Awi's.... errrmm....

Grandbank? Is that another old lady like the Landy?

Anonymous said...


,,,GrandBank Liveonboard Boats now manufctured in JB. But i rather go for a 2nd hand rather than new built. Indeed, similar class/spec. to the Landy hihihi old faithful and will bring you to home sweet home.
,,,hopefully am getting across an ex-Sultan Pahang semi-condarmed leasure boat from Bagan Datok to Marang but still don't have the time for it. Much work to be carried out on her b4 she is sea worthy again. But my buddies in Pulau Duyung can fix her up easily.