What’s in a name?

The very observant amongst you ( or those of you with far too much time on your hands ), may have noticed a subtle change on my blog pages over the last few posts. I’m not even sure how visible it is on the site, or if you would have to really hunt for it to spot the difference, but there is a difference.

Shall I tell you?

Well of course I shall ! ( it would be an extremely short and rather pointless post if I chose not to ).

It’s all in the name.
Well it’s all in the sub-heading to be more accurate.

Up until very recently my sub heading has been the rather snappy ‘Misadventures in Mayenne’ . As Mayenne was the name of the region of France we used to live in it was no longer apt for my posts now that we are living in Thailand. So I decided to change it. The problem was I couldn’t decide what to change it to. I liked the alliteration of the last one so I wanted something in the same vein. I thought about using a Thai word, but as my knowledge of Thai is, for the moment, limited to “hello”, “thank you” and “can I have the bill please” that wasn’t the best idea.

So it was back to an English phrase. But what? And could I find something that wouldn’t directly translate into something offensive or silly in Thai?

We didn’t really think that we would have so much of an issue with direct translations here, but already we have stumbled blindly into a small social faux pas with an innocent nickname.

Some of you will be aware that one of our many nicknames for small person is ‘moo’. Now in Thailand the work moo means pork or pig. We thought this was rather hilarious, until we came to register her with the school. On one of the many forms they asked for your child’s nickname and we filled it in with ‘moo’. When headmistress read this the look on her face was nothing short of horrorstricken.
“You don’t really mean this, have you made a mistake?”
After an exchange of bewildered looks hubby and I confirmed that yes, we really did call her this and it was just, you know, funny because its the noise that a cow makes, but here it means pork.
“Yes it means pig meat, but to call someone moo in Thailand is, well, it can be offensive you know”.
No. We didn’t know.
“But if you just add a ‘k’ to the end, that would mean ‘pearl’, that would be better yes?”
We hastily agreed and as I was adding a ‘k’ to the end I realised that we were now calling our daughter ‘mook’. Which might be ok for Thailand, but for the western world……not so much.
Thankfully small person has used her full name when introducing herself to her new classmates so no confusion has yet occurred and hubby and I will have to curb our natural instinct lest we insult out daughter in public. whether it be in Thai or in English.

Talking of nicknames, I’m going to have to get myself a new one too. It was hard enough trying to get French people to pronounce my name, but take it to Asia and it’s asking almost the impossible. ( It’s ok, I know you’re all doing the accents to try it out). I think I may have to go for the ultimate regression and re-adopt the old family one of just plain old ‘H’.
And for any of my family who were going to suggest I revert to the old-old nickname well that wouldn’t work here either, and let’s face it ‘dribble’ is hardly an attractive option, ( thank you very much siblings ).

Anyway I digress, unusual I know, but back to the point.

Many many ideas were thought of and then rejected but I have finally settled ( for now anyway ) on Chit-Chat from ChiangMai. I hope you like it, and more importantly I hope you like my ‘chit-chat’ 🙂

But what about my ‘traditional’ sign off of ‘A Bientôt’? For those who don’t know what it means, it’s just a French way of saying ‘see you later’. Well *I think* I have found out how to phonetically spell the relevant phrase in Thai, so, please correct me if I’m wrong, but from me, for now it’s ;

Jer Gan Mài.


Author: hillywillyworld

Living as an 'ex-pat' in Thailand with my daughter Moo and sometimes my Hubby too (when he is not bringing home the bacon from Macau). Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes it's confusing. Most of the time it's just...random. Join me as I struggle and giggle my way through this thing called life.

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