On Sunday, the whole family was gathered at Mariner’s Corner to celebrate Ivan’s 16th Birthday. Brother-in-law Frank happened to be in town on business, a week after we sent his family back to Germany. We chit-chatted and Frank told us that at the back of his new house, he’s seen some wildlife like rabbits and even a deer. Then there is a farm with eleven horses, which the kids love to watch.
It’s great when I am BBQ-ing at the back and I see the horses.
Brother Min arrived late just when we were being served our main course. The topic changed to the impending arrival of the new baby, another boy to add to the house already full of testosterone. Min asked Frank to recommend some German names for his son. English name used to be the norm during the colonial time but not anymore. Now, the more fanciful the name, the better. The new generation of Singaporeans really do have very unusual names (bordering weird). Thus, to add to that, I blurted out my suggestion.
Wolfgang! (A very traditional German name that even Germans do not use anymore, but it is Frank’s father’s name.)
Min looked at me as if i’ve gone mad.
Why not? It’s German and you can be sure there is no other Wolfgang Chong in the world.
Frank randomly named a few of his friends, but they were a varient of English names, until he hit upon what he considered a very good name – Haust.
Cannot, then Min cannot bring his son to your house. Can you imagine yourself shouting: Horse, horse, come and see the horses…I burst out laughing.
Frank was trying to control his amusement. Not horse, but horse with a t.
Ok then. Horse…t, horse…t, come and see the horses…
Frank gave up. OK, better not then or you can’t visit. What about Klaus (rhyme with house or mouse.)?
No way, Singaporeans would pronouced it as Clause, as in Santa Clause.
Min, with his smattering of beginner’s German vocabulary liked the sound of Jager (pronounced as Yager) but Frank said no. No one would name his son Hunter, and it would not be approved in the German registrar.
After hearing all this, Wei Wei decided English names were a safer bet. She likes Ryan (There are 5 in Aaron’s class.), Nicholas (Each of the boys knows of one.), Shuan and it’s varient spellings (ditto) and finally Brandon, which Ivan immediately said no way, as there is a Brandon in his class that no one likes, or something like that.
Other names were thrown, but Ivan has a counter for each one.
Apparently there is always somebody in ACS with that name who has a problem. Wei gave up.
By then, the boys were very helpful. They named all the European/Brazilian footballers they knew but these were mostly Italian and Spanish names – until Oliver, as in Oliver Kahn, the German goal keeper. Min paused and thought it sounded nice – Oilver Chong. Wei thought otherwise. No, Olivers are fat because all names starting from O are fat.
No way, I can show you two Olivers who are thin. Frank argued.
The chipmunks (Alvin, Theodore, Simon, Dave) came in and got thrown out. Ditto for car brands (Ferrari Chong), watch brands (Patek Chong?) and German clothing brands.
We even considered just knighting the fellow straightaway and calling him – Sir Chong, or Doctor Chong.
At the end of the dinner, there is still a baby with no first name.