Peter Pickering - Capturing Life, Creating Legacy

A woman in a white dress holding a single red rose
A woman in a white dress holding a single red rose

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a famous line from Act 2, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet." In this part of the play, Juliet argues that it does not matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague, as that is merely a name and does not affect who he truly is.

In the dance of destiny, our names are but one step — significant, certainly, but not the whole story. My own name, Peter Alan Pickering, has taken a circuitous route, reflective of an odyssey that's both personal and geographical.

For years, 'Alan' sat uncomfortably with me, an echo of my Uncle Alan, whose visage I never quite admired. Yet, woven into the family narrative was a light-hearted tale of destiny, where my father and this very uncle tossed a coin to court the daughters of a local farmer. Fortune smiled, my father won the heart of Joan, and Uncle Alan found love with her sister, Kath. And so, in the ebb and flow of life, I eventually found a newfound affection for the name 'Alan', though this reconciliation came many decades later.

Act II, Scene II

A rose by any other name…..

Names and Narratives: Identity Across Borders

The monogram 'PP' became my shield, a stark departure from the 'PAP' that conjured unsought associations. Initially, it served as a nickname, a distinct persona, until my business ventures in Malaysia, specifically setting up the foundational framework for the impending launch of MLM success story ‘Nuskin', prompted a significant change. Occupying a high position on the tiered scale, I was at the helm, expected to guide tens of thousands of downline distributors. As a recruiter and mentor to so many Malaysians, I faced a linguistic challenge; none could accurately pronounce 'Pickering', often rendering it as 'Pickling', much to my chagrin.

Seeking simplicity and better resonance in this new business landscape, I adopted 'Knight', a nod to my grandmother's maiden name, thinking it would streamline communication. However, this shift brought its own challenges as 'Knight' was misinterpreted as 'Nike'. Despite this, the name change coincided with a personal milestone, as my daughter Jade, carrying the 'Knight' namesake, was making her entrance into the world. Resigned to the twist of fate, I decided against further changes; 'Knight' or 'Nike', the name stuck as I navigated my new life and ventures in Malaysia.

Yet, the narrative of names wove a new thread as I relocated to Indonesia and adopted 'Sheikh Mohammed Aziz Shah al Kabir', a name infused with memories of my time in South Arabia and an homage to the rich cultural mosaic of my surroundings. Officially registered and legally recognised, this name remains a silent witness to a bygone era of my life — a fascinating chapter that, though it remains largely unutilised, bestows a mystique that captures the imagination of those I share it with.

A western man, Peter Pickering, in a red and white Arab head scarf and a black beggar
A western man, Peter Pickering, in a red and white Arab head scarf and a black beggar

Amidst a tempest of legal woes that once ensnared me, a defining moment unfolded in the halls of a Perth courtroom. Without a lawyer by my side, I stood resolute, presenting my own case — a battle I would ultimately win. And they said, “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Humbug! Yet, it was not just the victory that marked this episode, but how I chose to confront the legal system's infuriating maze: in an act of defiant rebellion, I arrived clad in full Arab garb. Why not? My name, after all, afforded me this right, a silent protest against the system that had vexed me. The judge, unfazed, took it all in stride, a testament to the unpredictable theatre of the courtroom. However, Lee Tate of The West Australian, my relentless adversary, seized this spectacle with sadistic glee, ensuring my appearance—and my cause—earned a spot in his gossip column, or should I say ‘Slander Spread’, a regular reminder of our ongoing battle.

The law, with its flexible wisdom, states that a person may use their birth name concurrently with a new one, and so 'Peter Alan Pickering' remains my chosen mantle, the one that resonates with the heritage I cherish and the identity I've come to embrace fully once again. The Arab name is now but a memento of my past, a conversational piece that piques curiosity, sometimes amusement, and often amazement. It's a reminder of the fluidity of identity and the journeys we undertake — not just across the globe but within the realms of our own evolution.

In returning permanently to Australia, it was not just a homecoming but a return to my origins. Embracing 'Peter Alan Pickering' once more, I honour the family lineage that my parents wove, carrying forward the legacy of a name that, despite its many transformations, reflects the unchanging essence of the person behind it. Each name I've held was a chapter, a facet of my life's unfolding story, yet through it all, I remain steadfast — a testament to the enduring spirit, no matter the label assigned. And isn't that the greatest tale of all?