Taguchi: ‘O-Tot’ and other unintended names (Part 1)-A A +A
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
THERE are many organizations that got their names unintentionally. For example, a few years ago, a Cagayanon community-based theater company met mostly on Saturdays. Because of the constant reference to its meeting day, it eventually got called The Saturday Club.
Similarly, there was a time when the top investors of Mitsubishi in Japan got referred to as “The Friday Group” because they met for lunch every Friday. The lunches of these billionaires were informal and bento-style, the sort the average Japanese employee took on his noon break.
At present, there is a Bible study group that meets every Saturday in a kindergarten school. It might just evolve a name one of these days.
But before I go to that, let me talk a bit about the school and one of its teachers, Karen.
Lifetime Study Center where the Bible study group meets, is a highly-acclaimed kindergarten school that was founded in 1996 by Khessa Flores, a kindergarten teacher.
Khessa’s beautiful daughter, Karen Lluch (a former Miss Cagayan–this makes her grimace and roll up her eyes) teaches in the school and, I may be wrong, helps manage its administrative functions.
At least I know she’s the person fielded out to meet DepEd officials—this alone is a full-time job, if you ask me!
Is it a claim to reflected glory to mention that Karen was once my student in Corpus Christi School?
In those days of her childhood, I thought she was a great student—sweet, creative, bright and beautiful—but not once did I ever imagine she would be the diamond that she is today.
Karen still embodies the mentioned attributes, but has polished them to a greater brilliance by employing them in support of higher causes:
She is bringing up her only child, 14-year-old son Mitch, exemplarily.
You might be asking, what’s that? I don’t have enough space to write the details, but you can tell from interacting with Mitch that his upbringing is well-rounded and God-centered.
There is genuine love, respect and, most important of all, friendship between mother and son which make the inculcation of good values a pleasant exchange rather than a battle.
Karen is also the founder and president of Thrive, a breast cancer support group which has had several major outreach events in and out of our city. At present, she is helping two breast cancer patients avail of funding from the government and from generous private donors.
She is also raising the money required by the SEC to start a foundation so indigent women can have themselves tested or treated free of charge for breast cancer.
The top goal of Thrive is early detection, and the best tool for this is mammography. But due to lack of funding at the moment—and despite Thrive’s existing referral system for a free mammogram through the organization’s consultant, Dr. Jose Rhoel De Leon, one of our country’s foremost breast cancer specialists who has opted to practice in Cagayan de Oro even though he has had numerous invitations to practice in Manila—Thrive’s outreach is centered on the campaign for a regular breast self-examination.
Among her peers, Karen used to be a dependable organizer of barkada fun activities. She still is but has steered her close friends, in a fun-filled way, toward a spiritual direction: the faith renewal movement.
Karen’s restless heart found rest after she participated in a Life in the Spirit seminar given by Oasis of Love.
Before her participation, she was not particularly interested in religious matters and had even digressed from the Christian faith.
Today, God is first, last and in between everything Karen does. Her conversion has been a dramatic influence on her son who wants to be a Mass server. (Is a priestly vocation developing?)
There are times I look at Karen and see Dolores Hart, the ‘50s movie star who left the glitter of Hollywood to be a contemplative nun in a Benedictine monastery.
And so it is to my former student and now, ah, “nun” I go to every Saturday for Bible study. The group is growing. One of the members is even echoing our readings and notes to her flock in the internet.
We were talking about unintended names. In my computer, the file name for the notes we share in the Bible study is “Karen’s Bible Group.” Who knows, the name might stick unintentionally through constant reference.
Intended and carefully selected was Karen’s name. However, her parents were not aware that “Karen” could be traced to an Armenian prince whose name was Kar’en—which unwittingly augured the rarity of their daughter!
My name, too, came about unintentionally. Many years ago, I was shocked to discover that Ametta was not the name recorded in my birth certificate!
The discrepancy had to be corrected by court order, a very tedious and expensive legal process.
“Ametta,” a cute nickname, had stuck as my official name because an older brother could not pronounce hermanita in “tu hermanita” or “your little sister” in the Spanish tongue of my childhood days.
What’s my “birth certificate name”? Let’s just say it comes from the Sermon on the Mount and means blessed.
How I wish I knew early on what my documented name was: I would have surely asked my parents in what way they considered my birth, the fifth in a brood of seven, a blessing.
Still, in dark moments, my secret name connects me to the promises of the Sermon on the Mount which have a soothing effect. Was there a divine intention and intervention behind my naming?
Through a nanny’s unwitting invention, I know someone whose legal name is Federico but is fondly called O-Tot by his close friends: As a baby undergoing toilet training, his yaya would coax his rigor at the potty with, “Sige na. Otot. Toot, toooot, Pastilan, otot ra ang gagawas!”
A friend named Pepep got so named because as a baby she’d dance everytime someone sang, “Pipip the small jeep is running down the street.”
Have you heard of a spot in Tibasak called Manggaputol? Well, a huge mango tree used to stand there. According to one informant, the tree tilted dangerously after a storm and had to be cut down.
The same literal etymology goes for Dolores Street or Street of Dolor (because it ends in the old city cemetery), and Del Mar Street or Street from the Sea (because it starts from the pier).
However, the intersection of these two main streets, which forms a cross, turns literalness into a poetic message: Your arrival on earth, so full of big possibilities like the arrival of a ship, will intersect suffering but will end gloriously in eternal life. These “poetic streets” have been renamed—what a pity!
How did the Catholic Church get its name? I’m out of space. Its unintended name is a topic for next week’s column.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 11, 2013.