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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Kenji? (bumped and updated)

Why Kenji?

(An answer to friends and pals queries as to why I change my call name)


--Bumped and edited----


July 15, ‏2005‏‏


Kingdom of  Saudi Arabia


Today, I will answer and explain something, a question that I've been asked many times then and now, of people that I know and associated with and those I've never seen or even knew personally. If someone I knew in the Philippines will come here in Saudi Arabia, and will take notice of my workmates, my associates or friends call me by name; he or she will absolutely be surprised. Except for my national ID (Iqama), Passport and Payroll slip, I rarely use my real name. And I guess it's I like it to be that way.


It was sometime in August 2004 that I decided to alter my nickname. I was normally called Jebz or JB back home. After the pain brought by the love suicide I committed, it made me rethink or reexamine myself. About the setbacks and disappointments of the past, about the challenges of today, and about the life I have to live ahead. Call that introspection or simply, a paradigm shift just as Mr. Covey, author of the 7 Habits termed it.


It made me realize life indeed has a lot of surprises, some for good and some for not-so-well. I decided I needed to have a change. I needed a new standard where I can walk on in spite of the many discouraging experiences I had. I thought I was strong enough then, but August 2004, I was in the brink of discouragement, wallowing in self-pity, pounding my chest, and lamenting for the fate that have befallen on me. It's all about love.


I got out of that shell eventually that leads to my reinventing of myself again. Foremost to my push to change, is a new nickname. I considered it to be essential for me to move on in my journey with a new name. It will not be easy, but I know I will persevere.


A girl from somewhere in Southern Luzon wrote me a message in my Friendster Account that while searching in the web she found out we have the same name - JEBEE. She catches my attention. She asks me to visit her profile to which I did.  I saw pictures of her, her family and friends. I read some of her friends' testimonial. Unfortunately, she was not a member of the LDS Church. Can you imagine then if we become married and have kids? I joked with her this; Her name is Mrs. Jebee Solis, and I am Mr. Jebee Solis! Our children will be asked what are their father's and their mother's name? It would be a total confusion then! Hehehe. I wrote in her testimonial this note. " I am proud to find someone whose name exactly spells my name in a girl version, a very lovely indeed, and smart, and yes, friendly and kind Jebee. I told her that Jebee was derived from my father's name Jessie and my mother's name, Betty. It is for me a beautiful, unique name…and sacred too.


That happening for me was an inspiration and I think an answer to prayer. I needed to change the way people call me. Something that will remind me of the goodness I needed to do. Thus, KENJI came.


We have a high school newspaper where I was the contributor and later proceeded to become the literary editor. I use three nom de plume, JelseBoise, a scrambled Jebee Solis; Kiana, and Kenji (Khalil a muslim name was introduced only once, I grow up in Mindanao where 40% are Muslims) Kiana, eventually become the name of my journal or diary. Kenji remained with me. He was there already for a long time. Thus Kenji is not new anymore, he was around several years ago but was abandoned when I was blinded, when I lose sight of what matters most and what do not.


I reinvented myself again, with a new call name, a name that stands for something essential, though invisible with the natural eye. Focusing more on the character, the inside, and the primary greatness as the Seven Habits call it, than the shallow personality.


I made a website out of my name with a Kenji add-on to it. I wrote emails and texted my friends informing them of my new call name. My lockers and notebooks was named Kenji even my cell phone logo! Some of my seminary students and young friends associated this name to Kenji Nakamura of Samurai X, the son of Kenshen. I admit I like the cartoon series and I watched it a lot but Jebee Kenji Solis was born before I saw Samurai X. And so a lot of people are asking me the same question over and over again. Why Kenji? I was elated that they ask, really. It made me smiles because it serves as a reminder of the dreams and focus I have - To live a life, to learn a lot, to develop Christ like love and to leave a lasting legacy.


The first to ask me are my workmates in Asia Pacific in Manila. Then my board mates when I took a bed space in Pasay. Then my best friends and pals… mga kafriendship ko, and those who visited my website. When I first arrived here in Saudi Arabia, my branch president interviewed me and he asked me first and foremost why my nickname is Kenji. And a lot more people were asking me, the latest among them that prompts me to write this entry is Anthony Gayo, a friend who works here in Saudi Arabia and Abe Burnett, a member residing in California. He was searching in Google about someone he knew in Iligan, he typed the name and the Google search Engine gives my website as the number one resource of that person. That girl happens to be my friend in college days. Thus started my friendship with Abe and thus leads to his question as to where I took my nickname – Kenji.


WHY KENJI?  I overheard very many people telling me my nickname sounds Japanese but awesome! As what I wrote in my Friendster Profile, and in my website  Kenji stands for:


Kind, (hoping I am) or I am trying to become. Di ba sarap pakinggan to hear from people wherever you are and wherever you go, be they are your siblings, your parents, family, friends, associates and neighbors saying "ah si Kenji Jb, napakabait nun!" (Wish ko lang)


Enthusiasm, to those who know me, they know that I always wanted to infuse excitement to anyone, anywhere, anytime! I can't eat or sleep if something I am too excited with is not settled or done. My enthusiasm is my fire that makes me excited about life.


Never afraid/No fear – I hope I am not arrogant, I hope I am not overbearing; I hope I am not proud or full of myself. To me it simply means being courageous and yet determined. My strength is the strength that comes from my faith in the Lord.


Joy- this is what I wanted to achieve in life, just like all of us. It is way above happiness. It can't be bought with money, it can only be found through obedience to time tested values and virtuous and standards. It can only be found, truly when someone understands the reason where we came from, why we are here, where we are going, what we will become and what is really the purpose of life.


Integrity/Inspiration from Above. I hope I am living a life with honesty and integrity, be it in my word, in my action, in my thoughts. I failed at times, I am not giving up. I hope I am making sure that whatever is said I will do, I hope I am going to do it. I wanted to be that man. Kenji hopes to be that man. That's why it is in the end because it is a process, and the end of that process of change means Kenji eventually becomes what he dreamed of.  I hope to pray always and seek the wisdom and direction of Someone Above who knows all. I can never do it alone. I can never be what I wanted to be without the aid of Someone greater among us all.


Why Kenji? And so to all my friends who asked and are asking me. Jebee is a beautiful name. Jebee will be forever. It will be the name I will eventually bring with me in Heaven. Kenji is just a call name, but it is an important name. It is a mark of a significant turning point in my life, between dreaming and working for those dreams, between love and life, and hatred and death. Kenji therefore stands for the right attributes I wish to become, and I hope to eventually become, by choosing the right, always, no matter how difficult the price may be.

----Kenji jb