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September 3rd, 2008

More than likely the title of this post does not display or displays incorrectly. It should read:

Which is Victoria’s name in written in Chinese Characters or Hànzì []. How it’s pronounced is a complicated matter.

See, one of the official languages in Singapore is Mandarin and in school (assuming she goes to school here in Singapore) Victoria will have to take Mandarin as her mother is Chinese (so it’s considered her ‘Mother tongue’, everyone takes English and their mother tongue.) In Mandarin her Chinese name is pronounced as “Bèi Wǎn Líng.” However, Candice’s family is actually Cantonese, not Han, so they speak the Cantonese dialect not Mandarin. In Cantonese Victoria’s Chinese Name is pronounced as “Bui3 Yun2 Ling4” (the funny numbers is because Cantonese romanization is written in Yale which uses trailing numbers to indicate the tone while Mandarin is written in Hanyu Pinyin which uses diacritics over the vowel sound to indicate the tone.)

What does it mean?

The first character, Bèi or Bui3 [], according to Wiktionary, means “sea shell” or “money/currency.” Money as in they used to use little sea shells as money back in the day before coins.

Wǎn or Yun2 [] (unfortunately the pronunciation is radically different in Mandarin and Cantonese) means “seem” or “as if”.

The final character, Líng or Ling4 [], means “tinkling of jade”.

So the full translation of Victoria’s name should be either “Sea shell, as if tinkling of jade” or “money, as if tinkling of jade.” But as the family name is not really relevant, Wǎn Líng (or Yun2 Ling4) means “as if tinkling of jade” or “Seems [to] tinkle of jade.”

The family name, Bèi (or Bui3) was chosen simply because it has a nice meaning and sounds similar to the first syllable of “Beggerly.” I wanted to use a family name with more meaning, such as Candice’s family name, “Lum” or her mothers or grandmothers family name (Mann or Chan respectively) but apparently there is some silly superstition that a child’s name cannot have the same symbol in it as any of the direct women ancestors in her family tree (similar for boys also) so Lum, Mann and Chan were out. I think just picking random name is silly. The Feng Shui guy said that “bei is nice, it’s the same symbol used in the Chinese version of Beethoven.” I didn’t bother to tell him that Beethoven and Beggerly have different first syllables… Bay and Beh… The other option was to not have a Chinese family name, which i don’t agree with. Oh well. Still it’s a pretty name; “Bèi Wǎn Líng” or “Bui3 Yun2 Ling4.” I hope she likes all the thought that went into it.

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