Girl or Boy

So we’re pregnant.

(And by “we” I mean PL. )

Office Lens_20140601_110324_processedThe next question everyone wants to know is, is it a boy or a girl.

At this point we do not know. It will be a few weeks more before we can know.

But which do we want?

First, a little background on my family.

Singapore Chinese generally have a family name – like Lee, or Goh, or Tan, or Lim. Then there are two names like “Kuan Yew”. But if you know the name of the other brothers, you notice sometime interesting. Two of Lee Kuan Yew’s brothers (I do not know how many he has) are Guan Yew and Suan Yew (IIRC). That is, they all have the “Yew” in their names.

In my case, my brothers and I all have “Oon” in our Chinese names.

My father and his brothers all have “Sin” in their names – e.g. Sin Choe, Sin Chan, Sin Tub.

My Grandfather and his brothers all shared  the name “Tee”. He was “Tee Siong”.

The common names in each generation are (what I call) Generation names.

So we have a family name or surname, a generational name, and then a personal name. In our family, the generation name has always been the second name or second character in Chinese. Lee Kuan Yew’s generational name is the third character. I do not know if this is mandated, traditional, customary practice, or dependent on the generational name.

In any case, sometime ago, one of my uncles prepared a plaque with the generational names of our family, so we would know what was the next generational name.

It would be “Liang”.

This was great.

Except our family name is “Goh” (loosely transliterated from the Hokkien dialect). And the Mandarin pronunciation of “Goh” is “Wu”.

And if you ask any Mandarin speaker to fill in the blanks for “Wu Liang ____”, the third word would be “Xin”.

“Wu Liang Xin” means “heartless” or “ruthless”. “Liang Xin” by itself actually means “good heart”. But my surname “Wu” is a homonym for “no”. So “good heart” with my surname sounds like “no good heart” or heartless.


A daughter would not need to follow the generation naming convention. So we can give her any Chinese name.

So… I’d like a daughter. But I dunno if I’m just avoiding the difficulty of naming a son.



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