Tipsy over Timah?
And yet, her friends still avoided her like the Spanish flu.
In fact, there are those who had the audacity to suggest that Fatimah (her full name) change the name with which she was born.
However, her own family became incensed as they felt it would be sacrilegious to replace a name associated with Islamic spirituality over a mere bottle of intoxicating spirit.
A few well-meaning friends even suggested that Timah resolve this problem by calling herself Fati instead, but the sound of the name would weigh her down as it does not do justice to her svelte self.
Her predicament heightened when she found out that Fatimah comes close to a name that Catholics sometimes associate with Mother Mary, ie Fatima, a town in Portugal, which turned into a major pilgrimage site a century ago after a few children said Mary had appeared to them there.
As a consequence, Timah is now convinced that there are elements in our society who are bent on making her confused in the controversy surrounding her otherwise non-contentious name.
The issue became too confounding for her after she discovered that bearded men and a skullcap to boot are not necessarily Muslim. That’s insane, she sighed.
As someone who is inherently coy, the limelight that has been thrust upon her makes her very uneasy and nervous, especially when she fears that her name can be a source of interreligious conflict in our diverse society.
She is deeply concerned that her name could drive a wedge between members of the ‘Malaysian Family’ touted by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
All along she thought that being a teetotaller was good enough protection from people who doubt her abstinence from anything intoxicating. Slander is the last thing she wants in her less spirited life.
To be sure, Timah is the sort who does not like to be an object of public scrutiny and, much less, scorn.
As someone who comes from Batang Berjuntai in Kuala Selangor, she knows very well what social stigma really means.
Luckily for her, the authorities in Selangor decided to change her town’s name to Bestari Jaya in 2007, after some people complained that a town associated with a protruding male genital is too heavy a burden to carry on your shoulder throughout your life.
It’s a fate almost worse than death.
You might say, what’s in a name? Try telling that to Timah.
Note: This is satire, which shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT