Now some people thought the name "Fly" was given as I was as pesky and obnoxious as the insect namesake. Perhaps they do have a point. When I look back, I do find myself annoying to some, even perhaps to all for my self-centered ways! Then again others thought it referred to the "Fly" as in the zippers of my trousers. And they were not so far off the mark as I was known for my exploits with the girls then, hence the thought...
Anyway, I got the name during my orientation week. Now I couldn't remember was it in the first week or second but I do remember the hours were packed with all sort of activities said to be important in getting used to college life plus confinement in dormitories and the resulting rules...
Yes, we actually stayed in dorms those days although plenty of us were past 18, unlike the juniors in later years who got to choose the places they wanted to stay at out of campus. We on the other hand practically stayed in pigeon holes under strict house rules. Then again I've been in a full-boarding school for four years in Kluang. So I've gotten used to the whole strict rules thing and the idea of being stuck within a very limited courtyard. But perhaps others do need the orientation more since that was the first time they stayed elsewhere without parents or their normal guardians around...
Back to the orientation days. Almost every hour we're up to something or rather, at the receiving end of something including getting ragged by seniors from ITM who were supposed to show the way of things. We had to wake up before 5am every morning and only got to sleep sometime after midnight.
Hmm. Come to think of it, I have trouble remembering the guys who stayed in the same dorm as mine. I think Taufiq who later joined me at dorm 51C and kept in touch until today was one of them. I do remember there was a Kelantanese guy whose name is Tengku something who turned out to be a national level sprinter. And I do remember showing a small album of pictures of my girlfriend then to the 'inmates'. Yep, that was one of the instances where I tried very hard to remain loyal to one girl. At least I did, a few times!
OK. One of our favourite escapades in-between all the activities were to go the Seven Eleven nearby for goodies such as slurpies and sweets. My favourite were the doughnuts, I think it was Dunkin Donuts... all colourful with plenty of finger-licking flavours and I think it cost only 70 cents a piece then!
Soon enough, within a space of 3 days I think, I got addicted to the goodies. Now at every 5am the whole lot us, 200 plus students guys and girls have to dress decently and go to the nearest mosque. Hmm. Was it a mosque or a surau? Whatever, it was the nearest place for congregational prayers. From our dorms, all of us were forced to assemble in the courtyard in rows and orderly walk to the mosque or surau. Whatever..
Now, since my boarding school days, I have sort of perfected the art of disappearing in front of prying eyes and sneak somewhere else to escape from the mundane reality of having to continuosly stay within confined walls. That ability proved to be useful in many instances later including the college days especially during the orientation week. .
I've gotten tired of the whole discipline thing. It felt stupid having to walk in a row like some animals being herded only to be forced to hear some boring lectures especially when one didn't have enough sleep. Besides my taste buds were aching for the goodies at Seven Eleven. So one day I sneaked out unnoticed during the walk.
Soon enough I would escape to Seven Eleven and the shops nearby whenever there's a slight chance of getting out. I became so familiar with the territory and the whole thing, so confident I wouldn't get caught that I would zip out right in front of the poor guys who had to stick in the mosque or the surau while flashing the goodies out! Or just walk slowly with a smile as long as the Seniors wouldn't notice. The point being some of the guys noticed. Luckily none blabbed out!
During one of the little gatherings with the guys (yes, some of us got on famously especially among the smokers including me and the guys who turned out to be popular with girls...), one known as Din G said this: "Waaa... you alway go out hah... I think from now on I want to call you Fly!"
You see, "Fly" is a famous boarding school term for escaping from the strict confines of dormitory and school for an illegal outing. Din G came from the famous full-boarding outfit Selangor Science School while I came from it's equivalent in Kluang, Johor.
Oh, by the way his name is something Din... Sharifuddin or something like that. It's normal for any Malay with the word "Din" in his name to be called Din simply for abbreviation. But since there's so many Din, then people often add other nicknames alongside. In this particular Din's case, his steady girlfriend was known as G (at the time lah, now he's married to someone else...). I think her real name was Suzanna something which got abbreviated to Suzie then to Jee or simply G. So this Din is known as Din G and G (because there's also a few girls called G or Jee, both sounded the same...) was known as G Din! Funny isn't it?
Except for those who knew me much later, that is after I've decided to mend my ways especially regarding the girls, they would simply knew me by the abbreviation of my long name Mohd. (official short-form for Muhammad) Fahrulradzi. And thus most people now know me simply as Radzi. Or Radzi Sapiee (with my father's name Mohamed Sapiee abbreviated) which happens to be my by-line name as a journalist with the English daily The New Straits Times... and now the pen name to introduce myself in my writings especially novels.
Or you can call me Merah Silu, my on-line nickname which started when I joined a particular discussion forum but never Fly. You see, there was a time I myself felt the nickname Fly was associated with a lot of sins and decadence. And later, I got so engrossed with rediscovering my Malay roots after being rather Westernised for more than half my life that having myself associated with an English nickname with plenty of bad innuendos was a big no no!
Then again many from the old days still know me as Fly and it is still a comfortable nickname without any malice. And the name resurfaced more often these days when I happened to bump across many old friend and acquaintances after so many years living like a hermit to mend my ways. Most of them don't even know why real name. And it is much easier to relate the story of renewed friendships and acquaintances to others using the more familiar name. So there...
Now call me what you want... Radzi, Merah Silu or Fly. English or freakish it doesn't matter. Because it refers to the same person never mind all the wrongs that's left behind. There, I'm done! Alhamdulillah! :]