Father,wife,teenager,baby and wife pregnant. About two weeks after they arrived the father spoke to me that the customs had recorded his name incorrectly at entry. It was both reversed and misspelled. I said, "No problem. We'll just go down to the custom and immigration office and clear it up." Given that this was a busy time he and I waited in the lineup for over an hour until we could be processed. I explained the situation to the official at the wicket. She looked at me and said," I'm afraid it's too late to change that name now. He's been through customs now and the name he been provided with is now his name." When I tried to explain the importance of his concern about his name she looked at me a if I was daft.
Well. She didn't know that you are your name. For those who do not know their name, they understand in spades. You may wonder at the cacophonous activity in our household then and why I was bothering with a name. Maybe I'm stupid but my dying father in law was happily teaching the Malay visitors English from Eaton's catalogue, Joan was doing 90 percent of the nurturing of everyone and I needed to do something positive. I knew that when Jacob wrestled with God all night and was given for his effort the name of Israel he became Israel so it isn't the same. Canada Customs is not God.
Our name is the label whereby we identify ourselves, the tribe we belong to. and where we slot ourselves in the human race. It may not seem important to some but after Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Victoria all he had was his name, a suit of issued clothing and me.
We left the office and I phoned my MP, Don Munro and got him within minutes. I told him what happened and he said, "That's bullshit ! Leave it to me! Go back there right now ! " I know it is a bit sinful of me to feel a small surge of triumph that day. It's not often you can win against the bureaucracy. The sin, however, was I forgot at that moment, it was all about him and his name, and not about me.