SOURCE: Albuquerque Journal, Mark Magnier, (Los Angeles Times), Mongolians Look to History for Surnames, October 24, 2004. Quoted by http://www.freshministry.org
KEYWORDS: identity, Galatians 2:20
A government initiative in the nation of Mongolia is causing many residents to reconsider their identity. For a long time, Mongolians identified themselves using only first names. In an isolated nomadic culture, that method of identification worked well. Officials are asking people to add a surname now to avoid confusion in an increasingly modern society. The plan is to help people delve into their clan histories and discover how they are related.
Surnames became a bigger issue recently when the government introduced a new identity card. More than 90 percent of the nation's 2.5 million people have adopted surnames. Some have chosen names reflecting their personalities or interests. One school principal chose the surname "Nomad" because of his wandering spirit. The nation's defense minister chose the last name "Cosmos" because he was the only Mongolian to venture into space. The most popular surname is Borjigin, the clan of legendary
Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan. For those having difficulty choosing a new identity Serjee, a Mongolian linguist and director of the State Central Library of Mongolia, suggests residents look for local histories that might reveal a family or clan name. Serjee says most original Mongolian surnames were bestowed by neighbors in the village and might not be very desirable. Instead Seejee suggests adopting a clan name specific to a person's area, profession or hometown. He says a nickname or something unique about a person's lifestyle also works. Serjee adds, "Be imaginative, be brave. Make up your own name. They may be new now, but in 50 years they'll be old."
Names are an important component of our identities. When we accept Christ, we are given a new name-we're called "Christians." Now we bear the name of our Lord and have a new identity. One that should guide our conduct.