Published Monday, 21 July, 2014
amusings , linguistics , sociopolitics
Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. The former British colony is obsessed with weird English names.
Unusual appellations have been found on people of all kinds. The secretary for justice is Rimsky Yuen and the previous secretary for food and health was York Chow. Among celebrities, there is a Fanny Sit, Moses Chan, and Dodo Cheng. Models? We have a Vibeke, Bambi, Dada, and Vonnie. But lawyers take the prize. There is a Magnum, John Baptist, Ludwig, Ignatius, Bunny and four — yes, four — Benedicts.
Odd names make for odder situations. Last July, police arrested a woman named Ice Wong with 460 grams of ice — the drug, not frozen water. Months earlier, the law caught up with Devil Law when he was brought before a judge for drug possession and crashing his car into a bus. In 2010, a woman called Cash Leung was jailed for paying cabbies with fake cash.
I agree that most of the monikers that the writer mentioned are pretty peculiar, but why ‘Moses’ or ‘Benedict’? Anyhow, check out other unusual English names that Hong Kongers gives themselves here!
Then there is Petroswickonicovick Wandeckerkof da Silva Santos, a 12-year-old soccer prodigy who has begun training with Corinthians, one of Brazil’s leading teams. Even in a country flooded with amazing names, his 19-letter first name and 12-letter middle name have raised eyebrows.
The boy said it took him awhile to learn how to pronounce his own name. His father, José Ivanildo dos Santos, a soccer coach, has been repeatedly questioned about the choice.
“The woman at the notary public’s office thought it was terrible and called me crazy,” Mr. dos Santos said in a televised interview. “But I told her I’d name my son my way.”
Read about the weird and wondrous variety of Brazilian names here!
Published Saturday, 31 May, 2014
linguistics , quoteworthy , sociopolitics
The Straits Times recently published an interview with local dance pioneer Goh Lay Kuan. This part made me do a double take……
As a pillar in the arts community, do you think we have evolved a Singaporean culture as we approach 50 years?
Someone said to me: “I’m not Chinese. I’m Singaporean.” I asked for his name and said: “Sorry, that’s a Chinese name. Give me a Singaporean name.” Do you think by singing Geylang Sipaku Geylang, you’re a Singaporean?
When we first came back, we were proactive in working with Malays and Indians, to have a basic understanding of each other’s culture. This will create mutual understanding. Today, our “basic” is: “We all like laksa and char kway teow.”
Goh Chin Lian, The ballerina who overturned tables, The Straits Times, 3 May 2014 (available online in two parts, here and here)
But, what exactly is a Singaporean name?
Published Sunday, 4 May, 2014
linguistics , nine-to-five , unorthodoxies
Eastern Health Alliance – now that’s a name straight out of a martial arts novel (translated into English, of course)!
Incidentally, they are called 东部医疗联盟 in Chinese, which (in my opinion) sounds a little way too modern to be a term that could be possibly used in a wuxia story…… :P
Published Tuesday, 22 April, 2014
gastronomy , linguistics
I came upon an old blog post (published in 2011) of someone I don’t know earlier today. She wrote about visiting Open Door Policy and named the dishes they tried, including a dessert called ‘white chocolate mousse with a raspberry headache’.
Raspberry headache? I had never heard of the term before, so it naturally piqued my curiosity. Googled and unearthed this 2012 blog entry. This blogger had also visited the same restaurant, tried the same dessert, and also wondered about its name. She had googled and then found a century-old article on ‘about raspberry (and other summer fruit) headaches‘. But the best part was her conclusion: ‘Well, well, we learn something new everyday!’
What can I say? Truly, great minds think alike! :D
Published Monday, 21 April, 2014
linguistics , literature , nine-to-five
I was editing a travel piece on Iceland this morning. Googled the title and found out that the country is also known as the Land of Fire and Ice.
Further googling revealed that incidentally, Robert Frost wrote a famous poem titled ‘Fire and Ice‘ (more info here).
Published Friday, 6 December, 2013
leisure , linguistics
Had my last yoga class on Monday. I find this instructor pretty good, so I signed up for her new class, which will be starting next Monday. It’s once again a beginner’s course, but I think it’d be good for me to reinforce my fundamentals before thinking about moving to intermediate level.
Incidentally, why is that particular yoga pose called downward-facing dog? Why not cats? Cows? Or even monkeys?
Published Sunday, 17 November, 2013
amusings , linguistics , quoteworthy , sociopolitics
Gotta love Rachel Lu’s ‘Meet China’s Beverly Hillbillies’, not just for its amusing sociocultural content, but even more for its brilliant linguistics. For example, this paragraph is sheer genius:
They are the tuhao — tu means dirt or uncouth; hao means splendor — and they are the Beverly Hillbillies of China. Or something like that: A crowdsourced translation call on China’s social media yielded “new money,” “slumdog millionaire,” the “riChinese” and “billionbilly.” When English falls short, French is on hand to help: Tuhao have the artistic sensibilities of the arriviste, the social grace of the parvenu, and the spending habits of the nouveau riche.
And you can read the rest of the article here!
Is this the most imba (first time using this word! :D) press release published by a local governmental agency ever? (Hat tip to friend Mel for the link!)
Prologue: True love…seriously?
It was May 2012 when a married Singaporean man was attracted to a female Chinese national and the couple decided to develop their illicit relationship further. Unfortunately, as with many heart-rending love stories, they did not live happily forever as both were married, but not to each other.
Click HERE to read the rest of the press release! There’s even a photo montage at the bottom of the page!!!
Shared the link with a couple of other friends, and SY commented that ‘the corp comms must have psycho-ed the perm sec [permanent secretary]‘, haha!
Last but not least, check out other press releases by the same organization here! Most of them start with corny titles and introductions!!! :P
Published Wednesday, 25 September, 2013
linguistics , literature , quoteworthy
A pretty meaningful bit from Last Chance to See……
I watched the gorilla’s eyes again, wise and knowing eyes, and wondered about this business of trying to teach apes language. Our language. Why? There are many members of our own species who live in and with the forest and know it and understand it. We don’t listen to them. What is there to suggest we would listen to anything an ape could tell us? Or that it would be able to tell us of its life in a language that hasn’t been born of that life? I thought, maybe it is not that they have yet to gain a language, it is that we have lost one.
Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, Last Chance to See
Published Monday, 2 September, 2013
Wow Oxford Dictionaries has just added squee to their online dictionary late last month!!! How cool is that?
Click to read an enlarged version!
And click here to check out the other words which were added at the same time! :)
Published Tuesday, 23 July, 2013
linguistics , quoteworthy
A quote I often get after publishing my blog posts on WordPress……
A metaphor is like a simile.
Published Thursday, 11 July, 2013
gastronomy , linguistics , mathematics
In the run up to my impending birthday…… one last hurrah before I turn 26 next Tuesday!!!
photo taken by my brother (using his new HTC smartphone >.<)
Bought myself a prebirthday (or unbirthday, if you must!) cake today! It was the Coco Exotic cake from Four Leaves! And it was delicious!
Anyway, a Pythagorean triple consists of three positive integers a, b, and c, such that a2 + b2 = c2. And it so happens that 3, 4 and 5 make up the smallest Pythagorean triple. (3, 4 and 5 are also consecutive positive integers!) Check out other examples here!
Published Saturday, 18 May, 2013
amusings , digital life , japan , linguistics
Flipping over a table in anger:
Putting the table back nicely:
Throwing the guy who put the table back nicely:
(╯°Д°）╯︵/(.□ . \)
HAHAHAHA how cute are these Japanese emoticons? To see a whole amazing and amusing list, click HERE! (My colleague J sent me the link – she loves Japanese things!) Enjoy! ｡◕‿◕｡