miund

What’s In A Name? A Lot, Apparently.

In Silly Posts on March 25, 2007 at 4:11 pm

“I’ll put your number in my cell”
“Okay. It’s 081…XXXXXXXX”
“Got it. And the name?”
“It’s ‘Miund’. M-I-U-N-D”

The guy typed my name into his cell, while my friend looked at me with unreadable but familiar expression in her face.

“If your name is Miund, why did you introduced yourself as ‘Tiz’ to me?”
“Oh that’s because I’m with him” – pointing to my boyfriend
“Why?”

Here we go again, the lengthy explanation of the transformation from my real name: Asmara Letizia Wreksono, to a simple but (some say) catchy ‘Miund’. Now I rarely put this explanation in writing, but I guess it’s long overdued.


First: Asmarathe name I use for professional reasons– is a three-sylable word that bluntly means ‘Love’ in the Indonesian language. Indonesians have difficulties (or just plain lazy, I guess) to pronounce the full word as they tend to shorten every ‘long word’ into something that fits their two-sylable habit. It is kind of hard to separate ‘Asmara’ into a two-sylable word such as ‘Asma’ (which coincidentally means: asthma) or ‘Mara’ (add an H at the end and it means ‘angry’). So I prefered the full word: Asmara. It always work with my foreign friends and bosses, as they never once question what it means or complain that it’s too long. They just call me ‘Asmara’ and everything is settled.

Second: Letizia -my middle name- is a four-sylable word. Technically it’s easier to separate the word into two groups of two-sylable words. It’s either I become a ‘Leti’ or ‘Tizia’. My parents had always called me the latter (pronounced as: Teeshea). My classmates used to tease me by calling me ‘Leti’ because they just know that I get upset about that. Not that the name was bad or anything, but because I felt my identity was taken away from me. So I forced everyone to call me Tizia. And it used to bug me too whenever the Indonesian tongue try to pronounce it ‘Tisa’ or worse, ‘Tijia’. I’ve made my peace with this a long time ago, though.

Third: When I was in grade school, there’s suddenly a rule that the students were to address each other on first-but correct-name basis. The teachers thought this will help us introduce ourselves in propper manner. No more ‘Bobby’ for Robert or ‘Charlie’ for Charles. Nobody protested, because the parents somewhat were on board with the idea. And there I was, the confused little Tizia, feeling very strange to intruduce myself as ‘Asmara’. Everytime I say: “Call me Asmara” my classmates giggled and made fun of me like I’m sort of a freak. And they started calling me names.

“You go sit with Asma, there, and maybe you’ll have trouble breathing”
“I wouldn’t want to play with her because she’s Mara(h). She’s looney”

How mean could they be, I thought. I complained once to my parents about this and here’s what my mother said:

“You know, Asmara is a beautiful name. Your grandfather used to call you that before he passed away.”

Since then, I was proud of being ‘Asmara’ until one day a friend of mine named David turned to me and said:

“You know I’m calling you Asmi’un starting now. It’s funny. You’re funny”

The other kids followed suit. Asmara became Asmi’un. I forgot when it really started… but soon they began calling me ‘Mi’un‘ – a Betawi commoners’ name, widely used by males who (usually) work as construction labourers. My tomboy behavior didn’t help much in this area, as the kids started to add ‘Bang’ -which means ‘brother’ in Indonesian- before my newfound nickname. So it was ‘Bang Mi’un’ all the way from fourth grade to sixth grade. And looking back: I went to a strict private Christian school for Jakarta’s ‘creme de la creme’ kids (oh what a hellish period going to school with these). No wonder it felt so degrading (as it intended to be) yet funny at the same time.

I was beginning to get comfortable with my new nickname when I had to face junior high and its monstrosities. The kids were cooler, the cliques were better and I figured that I was the one who should belong in the coolest cliques because I came from the school’s elementary. So being one of the old fishes, I didn’t feel it’s necessary to change my name. The newbies should be the ones adapting to me. And they did.

High school was another story. Mi’un went out from the bourgeois circle into the ‘nightmare’ hole: Public School. I expected to get teased a lot upon entering the hellish environment, but surprisingly, the nickname disguised my branded shoes and shiny jeep. It actually helped me blend into the crowd. One day, a friend told me that I should ‘jazz up’ the spelling of my nickname. Hence the ‘d’ at the end and the mysterious disappearance of the aphostrophe. I became Miund from that day onwards.

University was like a breeze as I went into this so-called high profile campus that’s filled with quite a lot of eccentric people. Thinking that my nickname was one-of-a-kind, I was proven wrong as I encountered many weird nicks such as: Motulz, Otus, KupLe et cetera. I finally found where ‘Miund’ belong.

When I started working, confusions started to rise again. The company recognized me as Asmara Letizia Wreksono, while my colleagues called me Miund. This is especially hard at meetings with clients. Here’s how:

Client: “Hi, I’m Anwar from XYZ” – politely presenting a name card
My Boss: “Hello, I’m Vivi and this is Miund. She will be responsible for your product exposure”
Me: “Hello” – presenting my name card.
Client: “Hi Mi…” reading my card and looks at me with a puzzled expression, “Sorry, what’s…”
Me: “Oh my name is Asmara, but you can call me Miund”
Client: “I see. Why Miund? Asmara is such a beautiful name!”

At this point I usually smile politely and distract the client by showing him/her what I had done regarding the project.

That’s work. In relationships, it’s also confusing.

I’m not the kind of girl who could just easily hook up with newcomers. My list of ex-partners came from my circle of friends. They used to call me ‘Miund’ but when the friendship turns to romance, ‘Miund’ disappears and ‘Tizia’ came out most predictably on ‘meet-the-parents’ days. With my current beau, this applies too. But since he’s not from my circle of friends, I get to meet new people (read: his friends) whom I got introduced to as ‘Tizia’. This explains the opening conversation on this post. His friend (who had become my friend) was asking why I introduced myself as ‘Miund’ to some guy, while she knows me as ‘Tizia’. The reason is: the guy knows most of my working colleagues and it would be very weird if he mentions ‘Tizia’ in a circle that is unaware of ‘Tizia”s existence.

Now, does Shakespeare still wonder “What’s in a name?” I know that rose if named anything else would smell as sweet and stuff, but I can tell him that a LOT can be explained on how Asmara became Miund.

See, if I have to explain why ‘Miund’ instead of ‘Asmara Letizia Wreksono’ to people I meet, it would take about an hour. Now that I posted this, I can simply say:

“You know what, just go to my WordPress blog.”

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  1. i was actually going to ask u about your name, cos sounded funny.

    i’ve been thinking, maybe i should find myself an indonesian nickname to go by 🙂

  2. hahahahaha ’tisa’ is like how my parents call you 🙂

    bebe, people ask about your name is as annoying as when people ask me about my work.a lengthy explanation needed. and i don’t feel like explaining it most of the time. maybe i should give it a try on writing about my work on my blog. but then again none of my friends would read it… hmmm.

  3. Ah, that’s your real name. Asmara… Love… Amour… 😀

  4. Does Asmara means Love or Romance ?

  5. i love ur name “miund”…
    but Asmara is nicde also.
    yup, i guess ‘miund’ is one in a million…

  6. mellyana. a three-sylable word. my program director suggested me to say my name plain melly. most people even called it shorter (mei, mel, meng, whatever). but I really love the fact that my foreign friends call me mellyana. because that’s my full name

  7. John: well there you go. the whole hoopla. hahahaha! as for your indonesian nick… hm. let me think of some ideas…

    Bebe: maybe you should post it in your blog 😀 a bit tough havin’ a hard-to-describe job eh?

    Jennie: Uh huh. Love. Amour. C’est moi. *bowing*

    Silverlines: i think it means both 😀 maybe that’s why i’m such a hopeless hopeless romantic… cursed by my own name…

    Lila: thank you, Lila 🙂 now you know where ‘miund’ came from.

    Melly: it is kinda weird how foreigners don’t have problems pronouncing full names be it 3 or 4-sylables long. i guess they really know how mellyana and asmara can be such poetic and exotic names! cheers to us 😉

  8. well, it’s “miund” who attract me to diggin’ more about you instead of your famous boss hahahahaha. cheers gal’ 😉

  9. grace: he might be famous, but as far as names are concerned, mine isn’t as boring as his! HAHAKHAKHAKAHKAHKK!!!!

  10. IHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..sama banget. gue juga paling sebel kalo dipanggil: mba natasa mba natasa. hah. it’s not a silent ‘h’ people. btw..bang miund..bagi whozontop-nya ya. hihii.

    mulai ada cw2 ngga jelas mengcopy2 blog gue nih. kentut.

  11. cool. Well I have a quiet simple name. No much history behind that like yours. Born as Paul. Nickname Paul. Name in working place Paul. Same goes with time in school, university, etc. Yeah do have problem with Indonesian, since they call me Pa ‘ ul or Pul or Pol. Kind of hating it. 😀 But not that complicated compares to yours. Since I live already quiet long time in some foreign countries I kind of ignoring it, since somehow they spell it differently in man countries.

  12. I would love to call you “Nyet” instead of ordinary call you Miund. Except in front of your mom&dad, for the sake of politeness, I will call you “Neng-neng”. Sounds normal, huh? .hahaha. Cup Cup Wow Wow.

  13. Cha: Hahahakahakhakhk… so you know how it feels too! Err… Natasha is a great name, tho. Maybe in the future I’ll name my child Natasha. Hope you don’t mind 😉

    Paul: POL. Heeheeeeeeee!! That’s my favorite Srimulat cast member :D:D By the way, nice blog you got there. Too bad I couldn’t leave any comments!

    Neng: You’ve called me almost EVERYTHING anyway. Thank your luck and privilege of being THE best friend. Right, NYET? Hahahakahkahakhk…

  14. Hi Miund, I stumbled upon your blog, from Parvita’s, whose I stumbled upon from . . . well, you know the tangled blog web thing 🙂 Great stuff here and I can relate your post here very well. When I was born in a small village under the foot of the mountain somewhere in Sumatra, the Dutch nun nicknamed me “Mientje” because I was so petite comparing with my other siblings. We were all born in that small maternity hospital run by the Dutch nun. To be honest, I didn’t like that name at all since my actual name is totally does not rhyme with Mientje. But my parents and my siblings all preferred to call me with that name and in school my classmates often make fun of my name by changing it to Minah or Mimin. When I studied in Yogyakarta, I made sure nobody knew my nickname that would potentially causing me great embarrassment. Now that am older and wiser, I dont care so much if people will twist my name to Minah, Minul or whatever. 🙂

  15. Elyani: Hi there 😀 yeah I think the confusion that’s experienced by people with multiple names like us is probably hard to relate to for some people. glad to know i’m not alone! HAHAHAHAKHAKKK!

  16. Hello… this is seriously weird. We’ve a very similar name. The only difference is that my dad decided to put an ‘i’ between the ‘e’ and ‘t’. So, it’s Leitizia.
    Anyways, love your blog. And ive heard about you from some people. People you might also know perhaps, who went to SR ITB like you did as. I was just want to ask you something. I used to want to study art & design like you did, so i took the villa merah course back then. One day, my dad gave me an old villa merah ‘diktat’ with a name “Asmara Letizia” on it. Back then in 1999, he said, “it used to belong to my friend’s daughter. Her mom said her daughter has successfully got in SR ITB and been studying there now. You both has the a similar name. anyway, you can use this “diktat”. Strange, isnt it? Anyways…although at the end i decided to study at HI Unpar, thank you for the ‘diktat’, it was such a privilege to use it. Belated congrats on your published book. Btw, i’ve a blog me self, come and visit i whenever. Thanks! 🙂

  17. Hello… this is seriously weird. We’ve a very similar name. The only difference is that my dad decided to put an ‘i’ between the ‘e’ and ‘t’. So, it’s Leitizia.
    Anyways, love your blog. And ive heard about you from some people. People you might also know perhaps, who went to SR ITB like you did. I was just wondering and wanting to ask you something. I used to want to study art & design like you did, so i took the villa merah course back then. One day, my dad gave me an old villa merah ‘diktat’ with a name “Asmara Letizia” on it. Back then in 1999, he said, “it used to belong to my friend’s daughter. Her mom said her daughter has successfully got in SR ITB and been studying there now. You both has the a similar name. anyway, you can use this ‘diktat’, she doesnt use it anymore”. I do believe that it used to belong to you, i reckon. Strange, isnt it? Anyways…although at the end i decided to study at HI Unpar, thank you for the ‘diktat’, it was such a privilege to use it. Belated congrats on your published book. Btw, i’ve a blog me self, come and visit i whenever. Thanks! 🙂

  18. Sama donk, mungkin harus bikin penjelasan juga nih di blog ….
    kangen miund.com nya neh mbak, lama ndak berpenunggu itu rumah

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