Look, 9 days to go! We're almost there, save for a few last-minute details. One of them is Baby Jesse's Chinese name. Mae's dad has been great help. Being the only one in the family to know the language in its written form, he's compiled a short list of possible last names for Baby. However, the problem is Baby's middle name. We don't have it.
Most Chinese boys take on middle names determined by the forefathers of their clan. It determines their geneology and pinpoints them to their exact level on the family tree. My middle name, for example, is Ngee (it ain't elegant, I know). This means that all guys with the middle name Ngee and the surname Tan, are in fact my cousins!
Problem is, the list of middle names in my clan disappeared when Grandpa passed on. Grandma, who probably has the list stashed away somewhere, is no help since her mind isn't what it used to be.
Pops is trying his best. He's called up all our kin. He's visited the Tan Clan House in town. He's gone to the Hainanese Association. He's even gone to the extent of speaking to total strangers but unfortunately we're nowhere near finding the name! Pops has even offered to take a trip back to Hainan, China if that's what it takes to name his first grandson on the Tan side. Unfortunately, that too is a bit of a problem - he doesn't know exactly where his dad came from!! *sigh*
If anyone of you out there is a Hainanese from the Tan clan, or knows someone who is, please write to me at thatjames[at]gmail[dot]com. My middle name is Ngee, Pops is Lee, Gramps is Ooi and his dad before him is Kia. That's Kia, Ooi, Lee and Ngee. We're looking for the name after Ngee.
If all else fails, we'll simple cook up any old name for Baby. It's not really a matter of life and death. But it would be such a shame to deprive him of his heritage.