Friday, May 18, 2007

What's In A Name

This hot momma, eastcoastlife tagged me! Helppp……I have an aversion to tags and memes. Under normal circumstances, my brain works slow but it’s still good for putting up intermittent posts in this blog. Just tell me that I am tagged and for some strange reasons, the brain seems to freeze and hang up. I am just not a tag/meme person.

Anyway, she wants to know why and how the names of my boys came about. Ahh….This is easy…….Go ask my father-in-law. ^o^

I married into a traditional family and the paternal grandfather has the honour of naming all his grandsons. First is the family name/surname; then their middle names which have to follow a certain generation name and then followed by their given name. No English name to officially precede the family name/surname. Father-in-law, with the date and time of birth in hand, would flip through the Chinese almanac; count and ‘weigh’ the number of strokes in the Chinese characters, checked through the family tree to make sure there were no ‘clashes’ of names with any of the elders, whether dead or alive, would then bestow the most compatible name on the new addition to the family. I did not chose my sons’ names…I was not given the privilege. I only made sure it is spelled correctly in the birth certificate. Itu saja…kau tim.

Well, if I were to name my kids, I’ll keep it simple, short and easy to spell and write. Just like my name…all a mere nine alphabets and for the Chinese characters, it is just some quick and simple strokes…nothing that makes you wanna scratch your head and cry each time you have write it out. Say, with a name something like this, Bartholomew Sebastian McRitchie Kwong Nguok Leung*…all of 44 alphabets. How do you teach a 3-year old child to properly pronounce, spell and write his name? I don't know. How long do you think it will take to shade in the full name on the exam answer scripts? In all probability, the classmate on the next table would have already finished shading in the answer to the 8th question.

I love my name…I love its meaning…I love its simplicity…..I love it because it is unique… far, I have not come across anybody with a name same as mine….I love it because…because…because it’s soooo me. Thanks, poppa.

I shall not tag anybody but I welcome feedback. Please shoot. Terima kasih.

Note: * Just a fictitious name.
posted by nyonyapenang at 1:51 AM, |


  At 3:04 AM Anonymous Jemima said:
Jemima means dove.

A dove symbolizes peace. Hence, like a dove, I believe I can ‘fly’ and hence I am free to blog & write whatever that pleases me with tranquility. ;)
  At 3:16 AM Blogger angel said:
As simple as Baba (penang)? Haha... Joking nia larrr...

Happy Flyday!
Hey nyonyapenang!
And I thought you were not gonna do the meme! What a surprise!

Actually my situation is like yours, my son's Chinese name (1st 2 characters) has to follow the family tree or whatever lah, so I get to only pick the last Chinese character. :(

Luckily I get to pick his Christian name. :)

Great post! Love your reason.
Oh Hi jemima,
I love your name and its meaning.

Why didn't my father pick such a nice name. My Chinese name means to be free and fly also - it's 'cloud'. :(
  At 3:46 AM Anonymous kat said:
I like your name too. Pretty, it suits you! :)
  At 7:11 AM Blogger Will said:
haha very true, khai ma... sometimes it's better just to keep it simple ;)
  At 7:24 AM Blogger may said:
you have a nice name, Miss ***! :) so very the sweet!
  At 10:18 AM Blogger Chen said:
yeah, your name is simple,
and not only that..
it's sweet
very sweet...
like sugar :D
When I named my son, all my relatives ask me: Did you check the family tree?

I was like: I will do as I like. None of your business.

  At 11:03 AM Blogger William said:
Pity those kids with extra long names that can't fit into the normal forms. Kena letak lampiran. :P

And I guess if it's "uncommon", the kid will have no end of it in school.
  At 11:54 AM Blogger U.Lee said:
Hi Nyonya, interesting post. My family tree all torn down by storms, ha ha.
Ya, old man checked no scandals, not connected to South China Sea pirates. But don't know what my name means. Could be admirer of SYT's? Ha ha ha.
You have a great day, Nyonya. UL.
  At 12:39 PM Blogger erinalaw said:
You got tagged on this too. Hahaha.......
  At 12:52 PM Anonymous mott said:

my papa gave me the shortest name that i can quickly write it down (during exams) and have more time to answer questions.

little did he know..i'd rather spend time doddling on my name than getting on with the exams Qs...

kakakak..poor papa!!!
  At 3:02 PM Blogger J.T. said:
Hello Nyonya Penang
When I was born, Jacqueline Bouvier-Kennedy was very popular. Mum admired the then former First Lady for her style and grace. Apart from loving that name, I think I was named Jacqueline because mum thought I will be stylish and graceful. :O Stylish - maybe a little la because people tell me but graceful..hmm something to think about. hehe
  At 5:26 PM Blogger alison said:
mine 1 & 2 follow family tree too, last name given by dad's brother, kesian, my parents no chance to name me. my surname very rare (ahem! very proud la tu). i like my name too. 'alison' on the other hand is just a comercial name, work purpose. real name susah to pronounce for some people.
hi jemima,
ya, i do remember you have a post re: your beautiful name, jemima kameyo....and i do remember too what 'kameyo''s a turtle, right?

'we are free to the point of choice; thenceforth, the choice controls the chooser'
yes...'ah bah' & 'ah nya' are popular names...have a few relatives with these names.
i check the phone directory and oh my, the list is sooooo lonnnng....

happy melayang day!
thanks for your kind words.
am glad you terima what i wrote eventhough ada out sikit lar.

have a great weekend!

hehehe.....thank you.

prefer it simple all the time.
if too complicated, often times people will spell and pronounce it wrongly.
just like your name, it's simple and easy to remember. :)

thank you.
you have a beautiful name too. :)

dr chen,
thank youuuuuu.....
hahahaha......sweet like honey ar?

now modern liao.....not many people follow the family tree and generation name.
but during my time hor, i was the most 'junior' in that family lar. and the patriarch held court. :))

ya, i've a fren who carries the 'lampiran' and his name cannot even be written in full on his scroll. kesian jugak.
Hi Uncle Lee,
oooh...that must be quite a storm! hahahaha....
your poppa must be a very wise man.he did his homework and i can safely guess he did it thoroughly too. 'admirer of SYTs'? i know! :P
You have a great weekend too.
  At 9:17 PM Blogger daniel said:
my friend's name is so long that he has a kad pengesahan nama... and even that kad pengesagan nama is not filled properly cuz it's just too damn long... hahaha... good thing mine is not that long...
  At 9:25 PM Blogger ah nel said:
of coz no 1 same name wit u coz all nyonya from Melaka whre got in penang wan... :P
Hi erinalaw,
have you done this tag? if not, then you may wish to share a little too.
have a nice weekend.

i believe my poppa thought likewise too. :)
you spend a lot of time doddling on your must have very nice signature lor. :)

hi j.t.,
i think that time hor, there's a popular song too - 'Jacqueline'.
ya, this name sure spells 'elegance', 'grace' and 'class' and i like how you spell it in your blog - 'jacqui'. :)

those days, the elders get the privilege to name the new additons and they really go to great lengths to check and match. got a very rare surname! mine is very common, so if someone were to call out just the surname in a room full of people, probably 10 to 20 would just stand up. hahahah......
and i like the way your reference to 'commercial name'....hahaha.. gua faham. :D
Ee...I don't like my chinese name, very ahlian one!
  At 12:20 AM Blogger Kenny Ng said:
I don't know what meaning is my name in Chinese, but got a teacher said is a nice meaning. My father gave that... and I like it.
I like my name too!! Although some of my friends don't like theirs...

I named my youngest sister, in fact. Haha. :D
  At 9:04 AM Blogger Winn said:
is this the first time u do a ^o^ act cute smiley in your blog? heeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
  At 1:09 PM Blogger FireHorse said:
I keep my son's name pretty simple too, no fuss oso must choose name that won't get him beaten up in school. Have a Great Weekend!
quite lecheh jugak hor....often times when we need to fill up forms, the boxes for the name may not be enough for too long a name.
and just imagine when the person ada title panjang attached to the name. :)

ah nel,
got melaka nyonya, singapore nyonya and penang nyonya and if i heard it right, got southern thailand nyonya oso.
king's wife,
how wan, ahlian mia type of name? hahahaha....
but the name 'ah lian' is a beautiful name also....i think it means lotus.

good for you. :)

day-dreamer, tai-kar-cheh got to name your little sister ar? i am sure you must have given her a very beautiful name too. :)

oooh.....^o^...this wan name is Cute Smiley ar?

firehorse, names that can cause to be beaten up wan ar?
nasib baik, my 2 boys mia ok kuar.
  At 7:37 PM Blogger ah nel said:
btw my ex china engineer used to told me my cainis name not seem like me... ;)
ah nel,
chinese name not like you????
then like who??? please tell me. :)
  At 8:28 AM Blogger ah nel said:
he say my name seem like a humble person but when saw me wana puke...LOL

*on9 so late just bek from kalaokeh huh*

Like when both me and my older brother was born, my grandparents doesn't allow any english name to be registered at all being the fact my mom was indeed a catholic... so my mom just named us without registering the english names... hmmm... except for my lil sis as my mom dun care already after that...gero~
  At 12:45 PM Blogger savante said:
I like simple names as well. Thank God I didn't get Bartholomew MacRitchie and all that.
  At 5:18 PM Blogger Helen said:
Names are something you have to live with the rest of your life. Parents nowadays are more savvy when it comes to naming their children. THose days we have all the LIngs.

One of my relative is called BoBo. I guess it's fine when you're 8 but now..... What to do? Her parents really dig Fung Bo Bo then. lol
ah nel,
that fler wanna puke?? he kena food poisoning izzit? :D

the more 'traditionalist' Chinese believe that nothing must precede the surname. but now, many are very 'open' about it liao.

errr...if you got a name like Bartholomew, i'll just call you 'Barty'. sounds cute jugak hor? :)
hi helen,
apa khabar? nice to have you here. :)

talking about those 'cutie' names, in penang, i have a few old relatives named 'Baby'. ^o^
like you said, when they were 8 years old, it sounded kinda cute, but now lar, age 78 already, still people calling her Auntie Baby. macam tak betul lidat. LOL
  At 8:45 PM Blogger J.T. said:
Hello there again
Thanks for the compliment but I have to thank my cousin who suggested that change to suit my suspectedly-French surname. :) It has been that way since my 21st birthday.
Now, I have a Hawaiian name. haha
It was all in the name of fun when I played a tag game - from Ruby Ahmad.
  At 1:26 AM Blogger angel said:
Baby??? Recently I just found out that one of dad's cousin sis is also named Baby worrrr... eek!!
eh my real name so got 9 characters only... :>
j.t. aka Okelani Lanikai,
what does that name mean? errr...'lady in red'? :)
seriously, there are many senior aunties named 'baby' in penang.
hi fashionasia,
apa khabar?

your name also short and sweet and simple and time-saving and...

and you have a nice day. :)