Friday, April 24, 2009

A Rose by Any Other Name

"I like Madeleine," Jesse proclaimed of his choice for his baby sister's name. Mae and I are not convinced that he could be so sure, so we decide to throw him a few other suggestions.

"How about Madison?" I asked the boy. I actually did like this one. It is a very cool, very comtemporary name, I thought. "That's a silly name," Big Brother said with a chuckle. Mae concurred, shrugging her shoulders. Mother and Boy were right, of course. Most Malaysians are likely to think we named our kid Medicine - and no kid's name should ever be associated with sickness and suffering. There was also that little issue of how it would sound with our surname. Unfortunately, Madison Tan would sound like "Maddie Lays an Egg" in Mandarin. *sigh* And so this one was out.

"How about Elena?" Mommy asked. As a kid, she had always wished that someone had named her Elena. Of course, she probably also wished that someday a prince on a white horse would sweep her off her feet. And look where that got her. Nope, I didn't like Elena. Neither did Jesse.

After that, we were just throwing names just to see if he'd change his mind about Madeleine. "How about Augusta?" I offered. It was just a name from a list starting with A that I had found online. "That sounds like Octopus," the kid countered. And he just went on and on with his smart-alecky answers for every name we threw at him.

"Annette?" I suggested, reading from the list. "Annette is for catching butterflies," my clever little son said. And if my boy can catch a humour in that name, so will poor little Annete's school friends, subjecting her to a life of taunting and teasing.

It was one of our major criteria of rejection. No taunt-worthy names. We've known of too many people with names they parents must have chosen for them when high on drugs. Like poor little Diana Saw, or sad little Harry Kok, or poor little Chow Chee Beng.

So Madeleine it is. Sure, some cruel (but wildly creative) kid in school will probably think of something, but for now, we're happy to be calling her that.

Ah, Madeleine. Sounds like a nice French pastry. :)


  1. LOL.. see... simon also agreed. Madeline Albright. Ok lah.. US Secretary worr.. not bad not bad.
    You can call her Maddie for short too. :D

  2. But it is a French dessert.

  3. I thought there is a cartoon named that on Astro mah... maybe Jesse got it from there :P

  4. Hahah, Simon. As in Stowe.
    Or Mad for even shorter, Gina.
    Anonymous: Yes, I am aware. :)
    Nah, Egghead, we suggested the name. He just clung on to it.

  5. hey! i have a friend whose name is madeliene tan and trust me, no one made fun of her name. except for good friends. as in, 'hey, mad' or 'maddie is mad' or 'mad gone mad' or just plain old, 'mad cow, come here!'
    but she lived and never changed her name. and she's still maddie

  6. Yeah, Maddies are cute, Marsha. :)

  7. Dude, it IS a French pastry (not really a dessert)...and one of the most popular ones in the world too. :)

  8. Haha, I used to go to this kindergarten in PJ called Madeleine Kindergarten. Its still there on the other side of PJ, near State/Old Town Area....
    nice name, though I foresee the teachers and classmates having a field day with the pronunciation of the name and its spelling