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. :)