Feb 11, 2008


Sim would have to be the coolest surname ever invented by our forefathers. Far-sighted and wise, Sim ended up not just a surname but also a chip in every usable mobile telephone, the Singapore Institute of Management, and generic humanoid characters living in The Sims. This is unprecedented for other surnames.
The simplicity of the one-word one-verse name strips everything down to their fundamental simplicity. Dad has students from all over the world, and you'd be surprise he haven't given himself an array of ang mo names like so many others - Robert (Kwok), Stephen (Chow), Emil (Chan), Jacky (Cheung). Everybody just calls him Sim. When I was in Italy too many of my Malaysian friends were given cool Italian names like Claudio (for Claudius) or Patrizio (Patrick), and I just stayed as Sim. In fact, the Sim churned out TIM, for Telecom Italia Mobile, because they're giving away 3 SIM cards for the price of 1 during 2005. So, my unofficial Italian name, for a short 2-week period, would be Timo, which sounds like a village boy from the farthest part of Southern Italy. No, thank you, Sim is cool enough.
Sim saves you from giving yourself English names that sound just not like you, especially in Taiwan where everybody has to have an English name. Whenever I come across exchange students, Sim makes them remember me long enough to last their entire exchange period. I personally think Sim sounds sophisticated to them, at least from the sound itself.

Everybody Sim-related

The last phrasal advantage of Sim is in telephone conversations. Due to customer service etiquette nowadays the agent has to know your name first before speaking to you so that he / she can say 'we're so sorry, Mr. Sim, Streamyx is down for 3 months and we can do nothing about it' - speaking by addressing the listener would make the conversation sound more polite, or so to say. So, after waiting for 4 years in the telephone queue (peppered with 'our staff are still busy at the moment, please hold, your call is important to us,' every minute), the first thing you say after the agent greeted you good morning is to make your complain loud and clear.

"Good morning-"
"Morning. My Streamyx account is simworld and it's been down since yesterday evening. I'm so sick of TMNet and I swear if you still do nothing about it I will sue your company until it go bankrupt and you got fired!"
"Sir, sir, may I know who I am speaking to, sir?"
"Sim," (starting to cool down)
"Ok, Mr. Sim. Can I have your Streamyx account details please, your username?"
"And you said it's been down since yesterday evening, Mr. Sim?"
"Darn yes!"
"Mr. Sim, similar reports have been received about Streamyx not working in Penang as a result of the Koolagala typhoon in Timbuktu yesterday (fictional). Our agents are flying on the first flight there to repair the cables, Mr. Sim. And your connection should be resumed within 3 months."
"3 months? I'd be in Mars by then!"
"We're so sorry, Mr. Sim, Streamyx is down for 3 months and we can do nothing about it. Thank you for calling once again, Mr. Sim. Have a nice day."
"Wait-" (toot-toot)

The one thing Sim can't do for you is good customer service, be it Streamyx, TMNet, AirAsia, IJN, Citibank and Malaysia Airlines call center. Perhaps someday when I have the authority to attach YB or Dato' (Tan Sri would be nicer, but I doubt I'll manage) in front of my name they would serve me with extra enthusiasm.