Bambang (pronounced Bum-bunk) is my name…
When I was born, I was given “Alfiandi” or something else by my parents. But my elder auntie told them for changing it into another name, and finally the choice was in “Bambang”. My complete name is Bambang Priantono and it is one of typical names among Javanese, and ethnically I am Javanese, one of the largest ethnic groups which composed into Indonesian nationally. I am proud of being part of Indonesia until I go to adios park. Return to my name, Bambang is typical name besides Eko, Agus, and many more among Javanese. In Javanese, Bambang means ‘young boy’ or ‘knight’ and its female version is ‘Endang’.
I don’t know exactly how many people in the world use ‘Bambang’ as their first or second name. As you now, the real Javanese doesn’t have surnames or family names. Many of them have only got one name or unrelated surnames except for some higher social status families or even Surinamese Javanese who bear their ancestor’s names as their family names. In my family, it’s not just myself whose got this name, but also my father, my uncles, my cousins and even….my in-law.! My father’s name is Bambang Setyabudhi, my uncles are Bambang Sudaryono, Bambang Risanto, Bambang Budiantono, and Bambang Yulianto. While my cousins’ names are Bambang RIshardana and Bambang Risharnanda. I don’t know why my sister then got husband whose name is Bambang too…Bambang Risdianto Effendi! That’s it.
Having name Bambang also brings problem, especially for calling. When I was in high school, there were three Bambang in my class. Anybody confused how to call us, so that’s why they had got funny nicknames for us especially related to our behaviour or physical appearances. Well, it’s my unlucky then when I was called ‘Betty’ because I ever mimicked a famous mosquito repeller which shown a transsexual called Betty. Yeach, and even when I met my old high school friends, they sometimes still call me ‘Bet’. And when people call us ‘Mbang!’ all of us looked at the caller. That’s ridiculous. And when my friend visited me at home…here’s the funny point :
Friend : “Excuse me, can I see Bambang?”
My cousin: “Hmmm…which Bambang, then?”
Friend : “Bambang…of course…Bambang.” *He looked confused*
My cousin : “Which Bambang are you looking for? Bambang Setyabudhi, Bambang Risanto, Bambang Sudaryono..or Bambang Priantono?”Friend : “I don’t know which one, but I’m seeing Bambang, my classmate.”
Yes, that’s the funny point for me. From elementary school until high school I was always called as ‘Bambang’, eventhough at home I am called ‘Nono’, a corrupted form from ‘Priantono’. Time went by and after enrolling university, I always introduce myself as Bambang Priantono, but just call me Nono and it’s better for me. But, my lecturer called me ‘Nano’, some called me ‘Tono’, ‘Monot’, ‘Nonot’, ‘Bams’, ‘Bembenk’, and many many more. Totally around 15 nicknames I got during my sophomore phase. Then gradually when I moved to Jakarta (not really Jakarta, but its neighbour, Tangerang) I reintroduced myself again as Bambang, and called as Bambang or Bambang laoshi among students.
This is another story related to my name :
When I had a chat with somebody from Pakistan. After prolongued and boring chat, he finally asked me more about myself.
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Indonesia.”
“It’s the biggest Muslim country in the world, right.”
“Hmmm…yes.” (but I realize that Indonesia is not Islamic country, but Muslim majority country)
“Are you Muslim?”
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Bambang Priantono.”
“It doesn’t sound like Muslim.”
“Why? this is my parents’ given name and this is our culture.”
And the chat was closed. I was so upset.
What the heck? What’s wrong with my name? Many Indonesian Muslim names do not sound Islamic, but then what? Here nobody cannot be told their religion just from name. Since then I committed to myself for looking for friends who do not care about religiosity by name. I gradually realize that maybe the Pakistani pal doesn’t really know about Indonesian culture. Being Muslim doesn’t always bear Islamic or Arabic sounded names, though many Indonesian Muslim parents give their offspings Islamic/Arabic names. It’s their rights and you know, I won’t change my name…I don’t want to add more name….just enough Bambang Priantono for me and I am very proud of my own name.
As you know, many Javanese people also cannot be recognize their religions just by names.
Bambang is also lucky name for me, eventhough maybe I am not lucky enough for being my president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who will end his throne several months ahead, also Bambang Pamungkas, former famous Indonesian soccer player and many Bambangs who cannot be mentioned one by one (it can be millions, includes…me! hahahah). And one more time, name is pray and give proper name based on your beliefs or your original cultures, or you can combine them as my niece : Azzahrah Ayu Nawangwulan….combination between Arabo-Islamic and Old Javanese names. Sounds beautiful, right? Let’s know and share our cultures together for enlighten the world.
Some considered ‘Bambang’ name is such a plebeian one, and prefer to give their chidren other more modern names.
Once more, my name is Bambang Priantono and it shows my identity as Javanese, Indonesian and Muslim at the same time.
Photosource : this site