Imagine being named after not one, but two countries!
19 year old Tun Malaysia Venecia Zaman Riera has parents so patriotic they named her after Malaysia, the land of her father’s birth and Venezuela, her mother’s motherland.
Her father, Tun Kamalul, an IT consultant, was stationed in Venezuela when Tun Malaysia was born.
“I was born in Venezuela. At the time, my father, who was a very patriotic man, misses his home dearly and suggested to my mother that I should be named ‘Malaysia’ and so my mother agreed.
“But then my mother got a little jealous because my name carried my father’s choice of name. So she wanted to name me ‘Venezuela’ as well. But since ‘Venezuela’ was too long, they decided to name me ‘Venecia’ which is an old name for Venezuela. So my name became Malaysia Venecia,” she explained in an interview with Astro Awani.
She was often teased as a child
“Ever since I was little, they would always tease me ‘Cuti-cuti Malaysia’ or ‘Malaysia Boleh’. But now that I am much older, I learned to embrace what the meaning of my name means to the people of this country. I started to love my name, it is a beautiful name.
“Nowadays whenever someone teases me ‘Malaysia Boleh’, my response would be ‘Of course, Malaysia (meaning myself) Boleh, but can you?” said the spunky teenager.
Born overseas with an international heritage, this international business major student still considers Malaysia home.
“Malaysia will always be home to me. This is where I grew up ever since the age of four!”
Tun Malaysia speaks fluent Malay, English and Spanish, and is close to her traditional values and roots, competing in Silat Gayung Fatani tournaments with her sister.
For this young lady, Malaysia is not just her name but represents a harmonious multicultural nation.
“Malaysia has united us with Sabah and Sarawak, to become a country with multicultural backgrounds. To me, Malaysia means unity, where we all come together and for a nation. Just like they always say, One Malaysia,” she said in the interview with Astro.
Source: Astro Awani