My name

I find it still hard to get use to people calling me by my father’s name here. I completely understand that it’s a formal way on addressing someone and first names are for friends and relatives.

Funny thing is I don’t even use my first name. Since nearly half of the male population in Malaysia starts with Muhammad and continued with another name and only then by their father’s name. So instead of calling me by my first name, people call me by my second name – Fadhli. But here, it’s hard for people to even pronounce that so it’s either Muhammad or my father’s name.

To shed some light, my name is an Arabic name. My last name is actually not a surname. I learned that it’s called patronymic and it means that it’s not a family name and the person should be referred to by his or her given name. I’ve found out that it’s also common in certain parts of Europe to have patronymic names. Really interesting indeed.

I remembered back home when I was growing up. Calling someone by their father’s name is an insult. I remembered at school people getting all worked up just because someones else is calling you by their father’s name. Here, it’s a formality thing. But what’s in a name eh?

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