Indeed Malaysian names are very colourful, first – because of our multiracial and multireligious population. But also due to other factors – poor spelling by policemen in the past; modern influences; etc.
Take the common Muslim name Muhammad. If I’m not mistaken JPN has standardised the spelling, which is good. Previously there would be Muhammad, Mohammad, Mohammed, Mohd, Mohd., Muhd, Md – all Muhammad but spelt differently. Simply saying your name is Mohd Ariffin is not sufficient as it can be spelt in so many ways.
What about my name?
Nik is obviously a family name which is especially popular in Lower Kelantan, and as it is practiced presently, is generally passed on from the father to all his children. But this is not exclusively so: in the more class-ridden society of the past it was also passed through the mother even if the father is not a Nik. Sometimes when one of the parents is a Nik and the other is a Wan, some of the children get the Nik whereas others get the Wan. Further into the past, there were people who were named “Wan Nik” and “Nik Wan”.
Whats the origin of “Nik”?
I’m curious about the real history as well. One theory which my father is convinced with is that it originates from the Bugis “Andik” and therefore Niks, along with many Kelantanese Wans, Longs and Tuans originated from the Fakeh Ali family in Pattani. This thesis was published in one of the “Sejarah Kelantan” monographs which my father has back home.
“Nazmi” is also another mystery. Some of my sisters have Persian names, while some have Turkish and Arabic names. When I grew up I was told by my father that “Nazmi” means “My darling” or “Kesayanganku”. But Nazmi itself isn’t Arabic – Najmi or Nizam is, but not Nazmi. However it’s quite common to see Nazmis in Albania or Iran. Might it come from there? Or perhaps their corruption of Najmi?
Another name that they were considering was Nadim Matin (imagine Nik Nadim Matin – quite horrifying don’t you think?).
Any help on either “Nik” or “Nazmi”?