Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008 00:24


When I was a child, I was called Wusay. My father probably preferred the "-ay" ending - he named my elder brother Foday. So we were, originally, Foday and Wusay.

Some twenty years later, one day, I came back to Tafalong to visit my Grandfather. We had a nice chat before he started to call me Nakao.

"Why do you call me Nakao?!" I was astonished.

"Your name is Nakao," said Grandpa peacefully.

Later on, I went to Sado and asked my aunt, "my name is Wusay, right?"

"Yes...." My aunt nodded, slightly confused.

"But Grandpa says, just now, that my name is Nakao."

"Oh really?" My aunt thought for a second and said, "in that case... you are Nakao."

My transformation took about ten minutes only.

One day, my neighbor, a Hoanya, asked me why I had my father’s name after my own, rather than my mother’s.

"Pangcah is a maternal society. Shouldn’t you take your mother’s name so that people can tell from which family you are?"

"Because my mother was Han," I replied. "Just that she married to a Pangcah who has a Japanese name."

"But her birth place is in Kalingko, not too far away from my father’s," I added. "She was born at the foot of Mei-lun, a nice hill. Her mother used to call her Mei-lun; sometimes my father called her Melon."

The Hoanya then suggested me to replace my father’s Japanese name with Mei-lun.

"I think Melon is better," I said. "Nakao Melon is a rare kind of melon, a Tafalong specialty."

"That’s it!" The Hoanya exclaimed. "I want to order a trunk of Nakao Melon!"

My second transformation took even less than five minutes.

There is no pinganganan (something after which one is named) for my name. My name has always been a nisanga’an (something that is created).


(Photo by B.V.)

Thursday, 20 November 2008 00:08

Tafalong a niyaro

In this excerpt of Renlai’s documentary, the grand-father of Nakao, Angah Foday, sings the ancestral Tafalong song which recounts the origins of the village. He is surrounded by relatives while they all sit in the traditional common house that has recently been reconstituted. (English translation of the song due to Nakao Eki.)

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