The Story Behind ‘Paris Ashiqin’
William Shakespeare wrote this in Romeo and Juliet:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…
|Romeo & Juliet (1968) is my favourite version starring
Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting (Source: Internet)
Many people often wonder if Paris was my real name. In fact, usually when people ask me if the name was in my identification card, I simply say, ‘Yes’. I don’t take it as a lie, I just don’t think it’s very nice to ask too many personal questions to others.
Don’t you find it annoying when people ask you rude questions like “How long were you married?“, “When did you give birth to your daughter?” or “Are you divorced?”. Or to discriminate someone by asking, “Are you gay?” or “Why aren’t you dieting?” and the list is endless.
Anyway, as many people often wonder and I will open up a little bit here on The Miss Paris Diaries. I secretly used ‘Paris‘ as a pen name since I was in high school. Truth be told, I was actually inspired by this show I watched on TV with this character named ‘Asia‘, and no, it has nothing to do with Asia Argento. So, I thought, how cool it was to have a continent or country for a name. Remember the movie ‘Splash‘ with Daryl Hannah played a mermaid named ‘Madison‘ after Madison Square? Then I found more names inspired by places including Sydney, Savannah and many more. Later, I read that Kim Basinger named her daughter ‘Ireland‘ and I got more excited. In fact, Olivia Hussey’s daughter is called India Eisley, you might remember her from Underworld: Awakening.
*Note: For more ideas of baby names inspired by places, you can check some out at www.babycenter.com. There are some male, female and unisex names that you may like for your babies.
|Daryl Hannah was splashing-ly beautiful as a mermaid named Madison
Then, there was this TV series about The Three Muskateers being set in Paris and immediately, I fell in love with the name. So, I quietly began using Paris in the stories that I wrote as a teenager, sometimes as the character, sometimes as my pen name. And then I realized ‘Paris‘ had a nice ring when combined with my real name. Of course, I changed the spelling to ‘Ashiqin‘, just to make it sound a little more exotic, haha! So, say it with me, people. PARIS ASHIQIN.
Now, doesn’t that sound cool? Of course, I used Paris Ashiqin a lot more since Year 2000. When I was in Germany in between 2002 and 2003, I noticed how my name was commonly mispronounced by many people and because the first name alone is long enough, it was quite a mouthful too. So, I just told them to call me ‘Paris. And everyone I knew there called me Paris.
|This illustration by Kerrie Hess for Lancôme truly defines me
(Source: Kerrie Hess Illustration)
When I moved to my permanent host parents’ house in Schmelz, that’s a small town about 30 kilometres from Saarbruecken, Saarland. From Berlin to Schmelz, where more speak French compared to English, due to the proximity (70 kilometres from the French border), being called Paris was a lot easier. Bear in mind, in a small town like Schmelz, everybody knows everybody and it was quite a privilege to be hosted by a family who owned the local bakery, the Fesenbecks. So, I was unofficially known as Paris Fesenbeck, haha, the host daughter of Karin and Horst Fesenbeck.
People still asked though on the reason to use Paris. Suddenly, it hit me. My ustaz from primary school once told me the meaning of my full name ‘Nurashikin‘ is ‘Cahaya Kekasihku‘ or ‘The Light of Love‘, which I thought was a little funny at first, but then I learned to embrace it. So, I told my friends, my name is ‘The Light of Love’ and I was from Kuala Lumpur, the City of Lights and Paris sounded like a reflection of my name. Then, surprisingly a classmate actually told me, Paris the City of Love was just a couple of hours away by car from Schmelz and it suited me very well. I took that as a good sign to use Paris Ashiqin in my life.
|Another Paris-theme by Kerrie Hess (Source: Kerrie Hess Illustration)|
*Note: Kerrie Hess is an Australian artist who has illustrated for many established brands including Vogue, Chanel, Kate Spade New York, Louis Vuitton and many others. She has lived in Hong Kong, Paris and London. She is also the author and illustrator for ‘Shoestring Chic‘. Perhaps Malaysians are familiar with her exclusive illustrations for a local brand called Covo Cosmetics, one of my favourite make-up brands. I swear Covo Cosmetics has the perfect foundation and Matte Lipstick in Dusty Rose.
|The lovely Kerrie Hess, as lovely as her illustrations|
(Source: Kerrie Hess Illustration)
Coming home later and attending Universiti Teknologi MARA, Arau Campus, I continued to use Paris Ashiqin among friends and college mates. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. When some thought it was just a normal for a college girl to have fancy nicknames, some just couldn’t get pass that name. Don’t be surprised if I say, once, my class representative (somewhat like a class monitor) organized a meeting with our Head of Programme, Puan Hariyati Ariffin to discuss my refusal to use my real name in class. Being a little older than the rest of the class, I honestly thought it was extremely petty and totally unnecessary. It was not like I used Paris Ashiqin when writing papers or anything. I just used it as a nickname.
Even when I was working for a sports organization and the broadcasting station, I was condemned by many for using Paris Ashiqin as a nickname. People even said silly stuff like I was trying to find fame from Paris Hilton, which was funny because I never knew who Paris Hilton was when I started using Paris Ashiqin. Sometimes on a good day, I’d just laugh and say, “Yes, I’m the Paris without the sex video“. Honestly, I was tired of explaining it to everyone too, so I when people asked if it’s in my IC, I just said ‘yes’. When people said even sillier stuff like, “Do you see yourself as a celebrity that you need a nickname like that?”, I just ignored them. Haters will be haters, people. Just don’t let them get to you. Besides, it’s just another sign how some people must be so boring AND bored to death that they need to be bothered about how other people (us the more interesting and exciting ones) run their lives.
|Perez Hilton was inspired by Paris Hilton,
but Paris Ashiqin was inspired by something else (Source: Internet)
The longer I use Paris Ashiqin, the more I learn about the importance of having a personal branding. Yes, I’m not a celebrity nor am I someone successful in business or known for anything great, but I’m actually proud because throughout my boring years of existence, I’ve achieved some things that others may not have. I guess that is the reason why I don’t really understand the terms like ‘jealousy‘, ‘back-stabbing‘ or ‘bringing others down‘ nor do I condone them. Of course, when many people around you are like that, it’s better to stay away. I just stick to the good ones. No point in downgrading yourself as a human being just to blend in the popular group.
*Note: Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.
|You see the word ‘Trump’, you think ‘Donald Trump’.
Now that’s a very good example of a strong brand name (Source: Internet)
Of course, personal branding such as mine can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. You’ll be surprised to know how sometimes my name has been used to spread rumours and gossips. One of the best examples was when I was working at the broadcasting station and I was at the surau to pray. Just as I finished praying and was sitting there quietly, I heard some women gossiping about me. It was not that hard to miss out the name ‘Paris‘ in the conversation. So, what did I do? I just took off my telekung and turned to show my face to those women and walked away. Not too long after that, somebody put up a signage that said, ‘Surau adalah tempat untuk beribadat dan bukan medan mengumpat‘ which literally translates into ‘The praying room is a place for worship and not gossip‘.
|Bad Girl Riri doesn’t give a hoot to what people say about her,
she’s still the one with fabulous songs and BIG MONEY! (Source: Internet)
There were moments that I just couldn’t stand it any more and I just cried as much as I can for relief. There were moments that I wished I could just scream and tell them to SHUT UP, but I couldn’t. Crying is indeed a great therapy and I intend to be the bigger, better person. I keep telling myself, people fear what they don’t understand. Perhaps some people feel threatened by my presence. It is like a she-wolf walking into a new pack every time, some alpha just might get offended and defensive. Of course, when it hurts, it hurts really bad, but when you’ve done something good and have people crediting to ‘Paris Ashiqin‘ for everything that you do right, nothing can beat that feeling of triumph. That’s why I always tell people, the road to success is never easy but when you strive and be sincere with everything you do, God will open the doors for you. All you have to do is enter with open arms and open heart.
|Paris Ashiqin, the Mad Bitch From Hell!|
As for me, I’m sticking to what I believe in, my own personal brand, Paris Ashiqin. I don’t need to be a successful businesswoman or a fashion designer or even a celebrity to have my own personal brand. I just want to stand out among the other Nurashikins or Nurul Ashiqins or Siti Norashikins or Asyikins in the world, I just want to be me.
Then, who am I? I’m Paris Ashiqin, and if you can’t swallow that, then, there must be something wrong with your digestive system. Or you just took too much laxative today.
And this video was taken from US TV Series, Pepper Dennis starring Rebecca Romjin and Josh Hopkins. See what happens when you don’t respect somebody’s desire for an alias. Oh, Josh Hopkins, you’re so cheeky!
See you in the next confession!
All my love, XOXO,