My name is Wangdrak Dorji but I tell most people to just call me Wangdrak. Then at this moment they go like sorry? what was that?. Then I say it again. They ask me to spell it for them, then comes the nickname. My first encounter here at UWCSEA was someone calling me “One Twerk”. I’m like thats okay if it helps with the pronunciation but next time it’s just Wang-Drak. At that moment, I realise that probably half the time of introduction is going to be used to teach people how to pronounce my name. In my culture most names are given by Buddhist Masters and they have a meaning behind them. My name means the subjugating thunderbolt. Well this bolt ain’t gonna subjugate any one.
In my own peer group, we do have nicknames (mine was Agay Chilip meaning old foreigner which goes to show that even in my peer group I’m kinda like the non-native guy) but we use our real names to address each other. If someone I don’t know started using phrases familiar to me from my squad, I’ll be quite distant from that person because he/she does not know me in that way particularly.