Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ice-Breaker Speech (Dian Leithon Isidro): What’s in a Name?

“A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” That is according to Dale Carnegie. For me, this is especially true because, while others collect things, awards, or hats, I collect names. I would like to tell you about the names and titles I’ve got so far.


I am Dian Leithon Isidro. I was born on Dec. 26, 1974, 2nd in the brood of 4. According to my baby pictures, I was not the cutest baby in the neighborhood. My mother disagrees. My grandma agrees. My father cannot object.

I’m currently working as an IT professional. It’s a common practice in our industry to come up with a pseudonym to sign our work with, use as login names or name us in the virtual world. For instance, linux is attributed to Linus Torvalds. Mine is “dilis.” It’s the acronym of my full name. I have been using it from the time I took up computer science up to the present. This name is special to me because it embodies the inborn/raw/naked/unrefined me without the covering of success or failure, abilities or disabilities.

During my high school days, I was fascinated by things around me, and how they worked. I found a children’s DIY encyclopedia in our local library that further fueled this fascination. I would read them a lot, and sometimes, would build projects from it. These include electromagnets, telephones and Morse code machines, and motors (from paper clip motors, to my own design, that up to now is not working). I would secure the materials for these projects from defective appliances my father stashed in our house and sometimes buying them. The funds came from my measly allowance.

As I grew older, this insatiable curiosity also grew intense and I started tinkering and opening working appliances around the house. Sometimes I can put them back together, many times though, well, let’s just say I needed some help from my father, and sometimes from a trusted handyman. This lust for knowledge and my particular brand of “creativity” earned me the moniker “Siraniko” from my father. It may sound funny, or even derogatory, but for me, it’s one of the sweetest names I have ever been called. It represents my character during that moment in my life: inquisitive, resourceful, and bold.

Reaching new highs is one of our life goals. Many of the heights I reached so far didn’t come easy. A lot of times, I need to invest a lot of effort and time. This time around, I wanted it fast and easy. So, in 2005, I joined a mountaineering club. Joining this club requires undergoing 3-month training, in which required skills such as mountain survival, climb planning and etiquette are taught and physical fitness is developed. The trainees will need to complete training climbs wherein the theories are applied hands-on.

On our last training climb, we scaled Mt. Amuyao. It stands 2700 masl (meters above sea level) and one of the highest mountains in the country. One of its distinct features is the almost vertical ascent that requires about 4-5 hours to assault. This roughly translates to “it is a difficult climb.”

This climb coincided with our company’s software release. Unfortunately, Murphy’s Law hits me: everything that can go wrong indeed went wrong. To cut the story short, I was late on our departure time, and this is first and, they say, the cause of eventual delays during the climb. We all ended up trekking at night which is one of the worst cases in climbing. And for this my name during the climb became Late-ton, with emphasis on ‘late’.

I was able to redeem myself when during our descent I was one of the first to arrive at our wash area. While it is a common perception that going down is easier, because of gravity’s help, than going up, because of gravity’s pull, it’s not always the case, especially for me who had a knee condition that time. Anyway, because of this feat, I earned another name: Agaton.

This name is meaningful to me because it not only represent my adventures on Mt. Amuyao, but also all the hardships, the discipline, and the perseverance I learned on my foray in the sport of mountaineering.

These are the names of the most important aspects of my being, the names that defined me. I still have other names to tell you my other names like Jani for Johnny Litton,but I know you’re all tired and need a good night sleep, so I’ll stop here.

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