Wednesday, March 2, 2005

A MyKid for My Kid

writings on the wall

Six months ago when Jesse was born (yes, it's been 6 months now) the midwife gave us a rundown on birth registration procedures. "You have 30 days to do it, otherwise you'll have to pay a fine," she advised. Given my penchant for procrastinating, I made a mental note to do it soon after Mae and Jesse checks out of the hospital.

Yesterday, after half a year, I finally bring home Jesse's identity card. So much for not procrastinating. Thankfully the NRD didn't decide to repossess my son! Wahahaha. Still, it wasn't entirely my fault.

30 days after he was born, I did register Jesse. It was a difficult time for us - picking out a name for him, that is. We had decided on Jesse long before but his Chinese name was a dilemma for us. We had a problem finding his ancestral name. So while my family scoured the plains of China (sort of, hehehh!) in search of our roots, friends and family gave is their suggestions for Baby's last name. Chinese names are usually a combination of 3 characters - Surname, Ancestral Name and Given Name. Since Mae and I can't read nor write Chinese to save our lives, we had to rely on others. But by the time we had a list of nice last names, we had a new dilemma. My aunt had traced our ancestral name and it sounded weird combined with the last names on our list. To make matters worse, the 30 days were drawing close. In the end, we registered a fairly neutral name. Jesse Tan Zhe Yao. Incidentally, Jesse shares the same middle name as Chairman Mao!

Anyway, the name was ho-hum. It was safe. But it was also boring. "Our boy deserves a good name," I told Mae. I was heartbroken. I wasn't sleeping and I wasn't eating. Okay, okay, I was eating!!! But I was also eating myself up over the overly-ordinary name I had given my son.

Weeks later, thanks to Mae's sis, we realised that Jesse's name would subject him to a life of mockery. Zhe Yao sounded a little too much like Si Yao, which is Cantonese for Soy Sauce. Heh! Worse, it also sounded like Chu Yao which basically means Pork Fat. No son of mine was gonna be called Pork Fat! Not if I could help it. And so I logged into the NRD's website and discovered that it was possible to change Baby's name, as long as he hadn't reached 1-year-old. Hot dog!!

Yesterday, I brought home Jesse's MyKid (is that a cool name for an ID or what?) with his new name. No, I have decided not to publish his full name here but if you can read Chinese, then the picture above is his new name. The first character is our surname. The second, his ancestral name, means Beneficence. His given name means River.

I present to you Jesse Tan, River of Beneficence.

Whatever that means. :)


  1. Nice name! But this is the traditional chinese word for his name I supposed..simplified would be 陈泽川Pronounced as Ze2 Chuan1.
    Anyway, now only I know kids got themselves MyKad(MyKid :P) as well wo.. When do they need to change again? Is it 12 years old?

  2. Good dad, good mum. No harm done! Next baby get it all done (and quick) b4 given the name Dumb-Dumb.

  3. Nice name,no doubt.:) But then the MyKid card is pink in colour,so noob~eeesh,however,they dun get to bring it around also,well,doesnt matter actually.Luckily its not purple.:P 6 months old,that is fast,and to think that 3 months ago I went through your blog from day 1 until now.Time flies...

  4. Nice name for baby Jesse. Never knew M'sia is so 'high tech' now. Giving MyKid instead of a piece of paper, sometimes names spelled wrongly. A friend of mine became Tan instead of Tam (surname), thanks to the staff working that day.

  5. The card - it's pink? Eek... Interesting, I'll try to get hold of my nephew's card (he's nearing a year old!).

  6. What a nice name Jesse has !! Chinese names are very very important...give wrongly, the kid turns out wrong also..believe it or not lah...but its true ... :)

  7. Aiyoh. So nice. Pink in color?? I want to be a kid again!

  8. eh? i thot MyKid for boys is blue in colour? wah, didn't know you can change baby's name before 1st bday. thanks for the info. :)

  9. I named my daughters 'Winona Law Jiawen' and 'Annabelle Law Jia-en'...muakkkkkkkk!

  10. bananas unite!
    We actually got a book which explained chinese names and proposed some, albeit all in english! Not too useful though. The internet, now that was mucho useful!
    Gotta get back to me roots.....

  11. hehe... the river of benificence? i dont read or speak a word of chinese, but i'm sure its a good name :)
    the mykid card thingy is pink? gee, they should make it some kinda neutral colour - like errr... green!

  12. cool name... btw how about kids born b4 1 jan 2003? can they apply for mykid?

  13. those who are bananas, not understand anything chinese, should rely on the 'elders' for picking names of their babies. your papa, mama, aunty, uncle, grandparents. trust them to come up with nice names.
    oh hello to jesse tan, river of beneficence. :)
    (the 'river' there reminds me of some red indian name because of the famous 'running water' for a red indian name!)

  14. well done James! It's an excellent name. Jesse shares the same given name as my daddy-Suan (pronunciation depends on whether u follow mandarin/dialect). Bodes well for your young man =)

  15. Holy maloney. I've been away from M'sia for so long that I didn't even realise that babies are getting ID card nowadays.
    And of course, Jesse's Chinese name is nice. He better like it, because he is stuck with it for the rest of his life. Otherwise, he'll make you deduct more from the buku 555.

  16. 30days?!!! I think you must have been mistaken. We have 14 days from the date of birth to register or else you risk being fined. Am so glad you've managed to trace the ancestral name.

  17. Bigmugmug, personally I prefer traditional Chinese. I think it looks nicer. :) And yes, the next time Jesse changes his ID is when he's 12.
    :lol: Stier, something tells me we'll have the same problems.
    Time flies when we're having fun, Jason. :lol:
    Yup Eileen, we're pretty high-tech now. Next they'll wanna implant things inside of us. :lol:
    My reaction exactly, Strizzt!
    You're probably right, Cherry. If your name is a curse then you'll be carrying a curse all your life. :)
    It's a really cheapo pink-lah Gina!
    Why Buaya? Contemplating a namechange for your girls? :)
    Beauty, my Father in Law suggested Ern for Jesse. But I thought I prefered a stronger name to balance out "Jesse". :)
    Really Husband? Can get Chinese names off the net? Where?
    CC, my thoughts exactly CC. Green would have been nice. Or orange. :lol:
    Not surelah BabeKL. You should try anyway.
    Well Lucia, not all elders can give good names cos they sometimes do not consider the "mockery" factor. An elder suggested a good-meaning name for Jesse but when read, sounded like "period" (as in Kitaran Haid) :lol:
    Yes Chun, the Hainanese pronunciation is Suan. :)
    I can only hope so, BohemianPhilosophy!
    Nope, it must have been 30 days Momof2, cos I didn't get fined!!! :lol:

  18. Hi, I when thru the same problems as you did with regards to the ancestral name, in the end my wife and I decided not to go with the ancestral name. Marcus ended up with a chinese name chosen by my mother (who can't read/write chinese). Marcus Chow Mun Keong, hopefully when he is older not many of his contemporaries would have watch "The Bund" starring CHOW Yuen Fatt as Hui M
    ps. I am Hainanese. Some say I am the 10th one... :))

  19. nice name =)
    the husband thought when Amir has his MyKid, then we dont have to bring his birth cert when we want to open a bank account for him.
    UNFORTUNATELY (i'm not yelling, just emphasizing) they dont accept that. they still want to see the big, giant birth cert(compared to easy to bring MyKid). sheeeshh!
    why the govt wanted us to get a MyKid for the kids then?

  20. to create more jobs, hazel... Seriously, it is a waste of time if we still need to carry them birthcerts around. Just another official document screaming to be misplaced so MORE jobs are created.
    I'm sure there's a site somewhere that has chinese names on the net but what we referred to sites that translated what we wanted in terms of meanings into chinese characters. Then we kinda did the curse/insult test and finally decided on what we thought was best. Not too hard for us coz generational name in place already

  21. You know what they say, Peter: Sap Ko Hoi Nam Kau Ko Teng, Yat Ko Emm Teng Faat Saan King! :lol:
    Our govt likes the bureaucracy mah, Hazel!
    Good for you Husband. Don't forget to keep the list for your grandchildren.

  22. MyKid? O_O ....*pauses*.... :lol:

  23. And speaking of middle names, I'll run into a tissy with my children's Chinese names if I marry Nil and run off to France - my parents don't know Chinese and most of my relatives, excluding my extremely old granduncle have all up-ed and gone.