Tue, 10 Oct 2000

Palu hammers the point home

PALU, Central Sulawesi: William Shakespeare's classic remark of "What's in a name?" makes the blood of people in this town boil after being the brunt of jokes for years because they come from Palu, the Indonesian word for hammer.

"We always hear officials from other towns make a joke of our beloved town, by asking 'Walikota mana yang selama ini di-Palu?' (a playful translation of 'Which mayor has been hammered?')," councillor Yunan Lampasio told Antara on Monday.

He said people outside the provincial capital were likely to associate the town with the carpenter's tool.

The people's ancestors chose to name the town after a unique plant which grew abundantly at the mouth of the river which splits the city. The Dutch colonial government endorsed the choice.

"Many of us feel offended by the joke. That's why the House of Representatives should suggest a change of name," Yunan said.

Local legislator Rudy Mastura said residents here had since 1970 suggested that the town be renamed Bandar Kaili (Kaili Harbor). Kaili is the popular name for raft. (amd)