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3/21/2010

Oh, what a beautiful name!

I have never heard of this expression for a long long time. The new reaction when a name is introduced is a kind of a blur. Uhh, what’s dat? Bikina. Oh, uhh, could you spell it out. Oh, cute. Never heard of that. Lee Wei Ling and Colin Goh both wrote about the trend in naming. And the raison de tre ranges from a colonial hangover, trendiness and being unique or cute, or for showbiz. It used to be trendy to be John or Michael, or Kevin or Edwin or Edwina. But they have become so common that everyone is a John Michael or Michael John that it is no longer fun anymore. The colonial hangover is fading away as the new generation grow up blind to that hideous and humiliating past. Yes, there was a time when being a little more angmoh meant one is of a different and better social class. It was much better to hear an angmoh shouting over his beer mug with a hi John than a hi, Ah Kow! Many illiterate parents were guilty of this demeaning act of naming their precious children as Ah Kow or Ah Ngeow or Ah Gu officially. Today we have another kind of apparition. I would not call it inanity. This affects the Chinese most with the presence of different dialects and words sounding quite different though written the same. Choo Keong, Chee Kong, Zhi Qiang, though similarly written to mean to be able to stand on one’s own or independently, could mean different things when spoken in different dialects. Chee is often made fun of in a negative sense in various combinations. Then you can have Sai Chwee or Sai Tang, or Kah Chui etc etc. The individuals are often caught in a not very amusing situation. The convenient way is to give one another name for a social setting. Some would change their names officially. Many names were given today for more innocuous intent. Some may have a chip on their shoulder to want names to mean certain things, from aspiration to aloofness. Whatever the case names will evolve just like our taste for things and trends. I briefly look at the names of a few cute babies in the Sunday Times this morning and they were called Afeef Shahid, Theeksha Shivani Suhanthan, Athrin Gan, Tan Yu Qi Jaslyn and the more mundane Gerrard Lim Wen Han. The latter is a combo of Hokien and Mandarin. I think Tan Yu Qi is also of the same mix but I am not too certain as Tan can be totally different in Mandarin. We will have varieties in names as we are Uniquely Singapore. What goes to a name has a good reason or many reasons, right reason or wrong reason, or simply just a name.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fret not, Mr Bean.

Wat's Bikinia compare to Virginia or Virgina ?

Btw, me tee kia(piglet) here, good as 'suckling pig' for a feast.

Matilah_Singapura said...

redbean, are you sure the colonial past was "humiliating"? I don't think so. OK there was some humiliation during WW2 -- like having the big guns facing the wrong way as the Nips came over the causeway and bombed the fuck out of Singapore. But for the most part the Brits weren't all bad. I certainly won't call t "humiliating".

I'm more embarrassed now that despite S'pore's first world status, the govt treats the population like children. OK OK the people get the govt they deserve, but there are aspects of S'pore culture which really belie the "first world" status.

Damn fine thing to have a passport from another country... so that if no one asks, you needn't admit your roots :)

undertaker said...

Redbean, a beautiful name makes sense if it matches the person or place. I think the famiLEE do have some beautiful names.

For example 'Wei Ling' could have been a name of some beautiful girl in Yunnan or 'Hsien Loong' could have been a name of some legendary Chinese warrior or 'Kuan Yew' could have been a name of some benelovent god. Sadly we know better. LOL

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Yes Wei Ling is a beautiful name. Sounds beautiful too.

During the British rule, the people were subjects but left to do what they want as the colonial masters were only interested in their own things. But don't cross their path or challenge their superior position.

As long as the subjects knew that they are less equal than the rulers, all was fine. They would be allowed to keep the pieces fallen off the table while the morsels will be in the ruler's mouth.

Legally, we are equal today. If we are not equal, we only have ourselves to blame to allow it to be so.

Anonymous said...

Shit, although i was a British Subject for a while, me sure enjoyed those days under it.
Today, we are second class or dirt class, can't help feeling betrayed.

Yes, a beautiful name has to be matched by a beautiful character, otherwise, it is like a beutiful mango with an ugly worm in it which is quite common.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Wei Ling is a good person. She is the conscience of the elites.
Many have had their conscience buried in gold and forgotten.