Friday, 29 July 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

A friend of mine joked that Rihanna is in serious trouble. She has disturbia, she plays Russian roulette, she likes rude boys, she thinks she is the only girl in the world and to top it all off, she forgot her name! Talking of names, I heard this series of jokes about the Chinese. A Chinese who is a loser is called Hu Wes Mek. Another Chinese fellow went by the name of Dinka Adek. When asked how he obtained a Nilotic name while his looks definitely show that he is a born and raised Asian, he had a story to tell. He was at the customs walking behind this tall Sudanese guy, one Dinka Adek. After Dinka was served by the customs official, the Chinese came up next. The official asked, ‘Name?’ and the Chinese replied, ‘Sem Ting’, and the official went on to input ‘Dinka Adek’.

What’s in a name? I remember back in high school during one of the Sunday services, we had a visiting speaker by the name Kifo Mauti. That is what her parents named her, after the grim reaper himself. She explained that she was the product of a last pregnancy attempt, after her mother severally miscarried hence the mortifying name. With all the absurdity associated with introducing herself, she however took it all in her stride. It is just a name that she has refused to identify herself with.

Names have an aspect of psychology in them. Every time I hear a name I tend to make a mental picture. Today morning on my way to Kenyatta I saw a ‘Glory funeral services’ hearse. I think this name just makes funerals sound like weddings. In the funeral business, anything to make the bereaved feel that their deceased are going to a better place is primary. This is in tandem with the great reverence we give to the dead, how they treated us when they were still around regardless. With ‘glory’ in my eerie imagination, I saw a the hearse parked by a levitating casket bearing an evil man over a trolley with a white staircase above it leading to the clouds and all the living around the scene lifting their arms in awe. Now that is one ‘decent send off’ don’t you think?

After the bambua, kwachua mamillioni promotion and the likes, there is this advertising firm that decided to brand some promotion in a name I'm yet to fathom. I'm talking about the Fichua Nyumba na Githeri promotion. Now the price of maize is way above expensive. Despite that, some promoter managed to procure maize to cook enough githeri. Instead of offering it to the starving masses gratis; he hid it in several new houses. Perhaps the rationale to the name was in competitors finding these houses in which there is a token of steaming githeri. The winner can thereafter feast on it as they settle in their new home.

Lastly, there is Alfred Mutua. It’s unfortunate that since the days of Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya, every time I hear this name my mind goes ‘not again?’ To add salt to injury, someone insane decided to make a sentence with this name; here goes, ‘ALFRED alisema hakuna MUTU Amekufa njaa.’ I am a patriotic Kenyan but this is one name I do not associate with. After his recent address, I think as Kenyans we all agree that the government speaker should take a vow of eternal silence till the day he is going to say, ‘My name is Alfred Mutua, and I just quit my job.’

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