How I Got My Name
Ben, the two of us need look no more… Our Editorial Director, Ben Liew, waxes nostalgia and explains how he got his name from Michael Jackson’s first successful single…
When I was born back in ’81, my mother wanted to name me Maximilian. That’s right, I was almost Maximilian Liew. Thank God my grandmother intervened and suggested the name Ben. My mother agreed as ‘Ben’ was her favourite MJ song at the time. Years later, after much torment at school, I learned that the song was actually about a rat!
Ben, the sequel to the 1971 horror film Willard, was about a lonely boy who befriends a rat that leads a swarm of telepathic killer rodents. This rat, whom the boy names Ben, becomes his best friend and keeps his spirits up in the face of bullies.
A young Michael Jackson recorded the song for the film and it became his first number 1 hit as a solo artist. ‘Ben’ was later included on Jackson’s album of the same title. It won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Looking back, I’m glad I got this name. Although I probably would have been a successful businessman if I were named Maximilian… Bleh!
This piece was originally written as a farewell to Michael Jackson, but it didn’t come out exactly the way we wanted it to. RIP Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009).