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May 12, 2004

What's in a Name / Lots in a Name


This is my cousin Widyastuti Handayani of the Sanjoto family (though she never had "Sanjoto" as part of her name). We mostly call her Hani, which suits me fine. Our Indonesian grandfather was named Kirdjan, and he later made up the second name "Marsosudiro" to satisfy the needs of a Western-facing government around the time he began his professional career as a surveyor. My grandmother's name was Moesrini, and I don't know whether she had a second name before marrying my grandfather.

According to Hani's dad, Djoko Sanjoto (now deceased, but who was friend and peer with my grandfather and grandmother before marrying their daughter, my aunt Herni, who was 12 years old when she heard about the idea, and promptly climbed up a tree to get away from it all), "Marsosudiro" comes from word roots that mean something like, "the heart is stalwart or courageous about doing the right thing."

My Dad is the only kid from his generation to have kept the name, and thus of Kirdjan and Moesrini's 18 grandchildren, I am the only one who is called "Marsosudiro." If I don't pass the name down (or endow a faculty chair or museum somewhere), it will die with me. For now, I kind of like the idea of names evaporating. In later years, I may feel differently.


BTW: my parents made up my first name, "Philindo" from the names of their home countries: the Philippines and Indonesia. At the moment, I'm the only person I know who owns the domain names for his first and last names. May I never screw that up with the registrars.

12:01 AM in Stories | Permalink