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t r i b u n e . o n l i n e
the students' voice


Names by Jeanine Chiu

It’s funny, how names tell so much about a person. You naturally associate certain names with certain types of people. Surprisingly, most of the time they are true as well! Of course, there are exceptions. Tell me, when you hear the name Michelle , what do you think of? I do not know about you, but for me, an image of a quite, shy girl appears. Reggie, on the other hand produces a wild, fun-loving person, who loves to party and is extremely popular.

I know that it is sort of stereotyping, but truly, this is what I think of. People you know, books you read, things you see on television, all these might influence your images of people. Different people have different influences, therefore the images they ‘see’ are different.

Names are very important. It is terribly sad how people with weird names are made fun of. My father has a friend whose parents named him Carl Cheng, (which in hokkien, means backside.) and whenever people asked him for his name, he would tell them that they did not want to know. If and when he was persuaded to tell his name, he would be received with peals of laughter.

True, it is a sad fact, but names do affect your image. Would you expect much from a person named Bee Hoon? Especially when you submit job application. They will think that you are just playing a joke on them and would not consider you seriously.

Even when you meet people for the first time, a name is important. " Hello, I'm Ang Khoo Kuey. Nice to meet you." How does that sound? People probably would not believe you and just dismiss you as a joker, even if you are completely serious. In the future if you try to discuss an important issue with them, they probably would not take you seriously, thinking that you are just joking.

Names can be a source of pride, yet also a source of humiliation. An optimistic person might view his/her unspellable as unique and interesting, even if others make fun of it, but a pessimistic person might view it as weird and horrible because no one can spell it.

So, remember, if you ever want to change your name or name your children, consider carefully your choices. Surely you do not want your children to be mocked at school (self-esteem is imortant), or have a hard time learning to spell his/her own name. If you ever are tempted to name your child/ change your name to Chow Mein (fried noodles), Think Twice!