A verse in The Book told not to Defame Nor Call Each Other by Offensive Nicknames.
Qur'an 49:11 Surah Al-Hujurat (The Inner Apartments)
O you who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (Indeed) doing wrong.
I used to have many nicknames.. When I was in standard 1, somebody who wanted to spite my elder sister called me Awang Leper ( Flatfaced? Boy) . This nickname, a modified version - Wan Sharif Leper, stayed with me whenever I went back to Pulau Duyong. So if you happen to visit Pulau Duyong in Kuala Trengganu, famous for boat-making and recently as venue for Monsoon Cup.. There bound to be some folk around my age that know me as Wan Sharif Leper ;)
At the age of thirteen years old, I was blessed with the opportunity to study in Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak (SDAR) , Tanjong Malim. I was accompanied by my uncle and was left just after he sorted out my registration and got me a place in the hostel. I must have missed my family and friends very badly then as the leader of hostel room then (was En. Kamaruddin Ahmad who later became a lawyer and a one time Selangor wakil rakyat) noticed my loneliness or longing. He told everyone in the hostel room that I behaved like a "pungguk rindukan bulan". Translated to be "an owl that missed the moon".. Corrected by my anonymous reader to be " like a nightjar longing for the moon".. Many rhaks to that kind reader.....A phrase used by the Malays to describe someone that missed one's lover terribly.
So that was how "orang bulan" (moon man) name was brought about and that was the nickname that I was known by my schoolmates and later brought over to varsity and even to my workplace. Although there has been some modification such as OB, orebule, Marc Bolan, Awang Bulang or just bulang etceteras, The name " orang bulan" is well remembered by my peers and juniors in SDAR. For some of you who have requested my email.. you would might have noticed that my yahoo email is email@example.com ;) an email address given to me by our group email coordinator Wan Kamaruddin or TokWan Din.
On my first day in USM, I felt nice that new friends started to call me in full name.. this situation only last for one and half day.. a friend by the name of Salman Ahmad ( now a Datuk and is/was an ambassador to Australia) who were then approaching my hostel noticed me and called me by my nickname from a distance of some 20 meters for all my new friends to hear and so the nickname stayed with me for some of my close friends in USM;).
I do not know about other places but in Pulau Duyong (Trengganu) used of nicknames were rampant when I was there.. There were three Wan Ali on the island.. Wan Ali Semin (cement in English) earned his living by making objects using cement, Wan Ali Gemok (Fat Wan Ali) was the fattest of the three.. And my father who was a carpenter in boat-making was known as Wan Ali Tukang.
Having Muhammad as the most popular name on the island.. We used to have all kind of Mat or PakMat.. Some nicknames can sound unpleasant.. As name of animal can be the acronym like Itek(duck), Ayam(chicken) and some nicknames go after character.. ghogeh (flip- flop?) and jangok (always smartly dressed).. honestly most nicknames normally describe trades one was in and the nickname were used sparingly to identify the right person and were seldom used to humiliate anyone.
There were also three Muda who were selling sundries on the different location of the island. One was rather tall and went by the nickname of PokDe Tinggi(tall), one was very plump and went by the name of PokDe Gemok(fat) and the other was rather short and went by the name of Pok De Renek (short). PokDe Renek played an important role in my life for he was the one that extend his hand to allow my family to take our need from his sundry shop and pay whenever we have money.. We only managed to pay all our debt to him after my elder sister started working if not after I started to work.
Yes, the monetary debt we owed to PokDe Renek, we do managed to pay ...(borrowing from a phrase from a song "To Sir with Love" by Lulu) but how do you thank someone whose kindness has allowed a family of six to put foods on their dining table for more than twenty years..
May Allah blessed his soul (I came to know that PokDe Renek has passed away some years ago just before his nephew became my sister's son in law).
Have a nice productive day and stay safe.