Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of names and languages ...

In the course of my travels and being a nomad of hoteling in one city after another, I have come to the realization that Names - hampered by the phonetics of it - can mean absolutely something else altogether. That, combined with the time and place, adds a different flavor to the consumption of it - may it be rude or funny.

Here are some of my experiences. Beware that it may or may NOT translate into the place and time you are in; nor language and sensitivity of your nature or how well read you are.

I came across a waitress in McDonald's Hong Kong who wore a badge bearing the word EXECUTE. With my curiousity in tow, I asked her how she is so profoundly named. Her answer : When I was young, my mom thought I was EXtra CUTE so she called me EXECUTE!

There was also a boy who is called MARINE BOY. Apparently, his dad (of my generation I am afraid), likes the cartoon series!

Of course this was all discussed and brought amusement in front of a Temple - Shir Lee Temple (serious, go look it up when you are in Hong Kong!) and right next to Hop On (合安) Bicycle Shop!

We also received a namecard that bore the name PUBIC HA. I just hope like mad that his initials were not I.R.

Speaking of initials, my good friend's brother is named Cheung Kin (长建)and his family name is Fu (府). Unfortunately, he moved to the Canada and had trouble reserving a table. Here goes :
Restaurant : Hello, Benahana.
Fu : Hello. I would like to make a reservation
Restaurant : Your family name please.
Fu : Fu
Restaurant : How do you spell that?
Fu : 'F', 'U'
Restaurant (with some hesitation) : 'F'? 'U'?
Fu : Yes
Restaurant : Your initials?
Fu : 'C', 'K'.
Restaurant : (click) - line went dead
Fu : (called back) Why did you put down the phone?
Restaurant : We don't think you are serious and you are also rude!

Then comes the lady who is named WINDY FONG. (Fong - 风,in Chinese means WIND)

And here is a French Connection - a friend of mind called back a number attached to the name ANAIS. She was told that ANUS was on another line and upon getting her, she said 'ANUS here'!

Try finding the Kok Kee Photo shop in Ipoh, Malaysia. Or Shirley (read Surely) Low Hai Sui (opps! meant for R rated comments if you read in Cantonese!)

I have also came across ALIEN, NORMAL, MALBOROUGH (a door attendant at China World Hotel, Beijing)... how they derive at that is anyone's guess.

Signs that says : WOMEN CAN HAVE A FIT UPSTAIRS - in a clothing store.

JALAN SEHALA received many complaints that it is misleading and led to the question HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS WHICH because to a non-Malay speaker, JALAN is STREET so how do you know which SEHALA STREET is which ... not knowing that SEHALA means ONE WAY so it is a ONE WAY STREET!

My niece - an English language critic at 8 - found a menu in a famous restaurant in KL, included the dish FRIED GARBAGE - no wonder it smells. When delivered, it was FRIED CABBAGE.

Most people tells you they are BORING when they really are BORED. Now that is BORING!

And most Singaporeans will say MORNING-TER when they actually mean MONITOR. Maybe it can only be used in the MORNING!

I am sure you have more ... so let's see them!