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It’s Not Your Decision!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Last year, the United Nations, referring to a completely different moniker issue, stated “individual countries could not impose specific names on the international community.”

Um…why not? Thirty-seven some odd years ago, two people selected a name that I now carry. Though they chose the name, do they retain some sort of naming rights? Hardly. As the name owner, I have every right to change the name if I am unhappy with the original name. And to some extent, I have done just that. As a kid, I was known by the pet form “Frummie.” I detested it. Despised it. Railed against it. And finally, in the 6th grade when I moved to a new school, changed it to the full version “Frume.” It worked. Sort-of. I was known to the kids at the new school by my preferred name. But when I returned home at the end of the day? Old habits are hard to break.

The following year saw me at another new school (a story for another day) but this time, people already knew me AND my despised name. Tried again in high school, but it wasn’t until I left for college — on the OTHER COAST — that my name change (name evolution, more accurately) finally stuck. With the exception of the one person who I had known prior to college who insisted on using my prior name, NO ONE at school even considered using it. So that eventually the only ones who use “Frummie” are people who have known me for a long time and feel entitled to use it.

Like Myanmar. You know…the country formally known as Burma? Or currently known as Burma, depending on whom you ask. Or “Myanmar also referred to as Burma” or “Burma/Mynamar.”

Really.

I won’t go into the hows or whys — look here for the messy details. What troubles me, however, is when the international community feels that it can determine the name of a place.

Or, in our case, the capital of a country.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, 7 May 2008 9:40 pm

    It’s amazing what deaf colonists get away with!

  2. Thursday, 8 May 2008 7:49 am

    when i was in college, i put “phyl” on a nametag once. the 50 or so people who were at the event forever called me by a nickname that only my closest friends and family had ever used. it really shook me up, it was such a weird feeling to have these newish, casual acquaintances call me such…

    great post, excellent way to put it into perspective…

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