16 August 2007

Hello, my name is @!

Chinese couple tries to name baby with the e-mail 'at' symbol
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2007 | 12:36 PM ET
Canadian Press
BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese couple seeking a distinctive name for their child have settled on the e-mail 'at' symbol - annoying government officials grappling with an influx of unorthodox names.

The unidentified couple were cited Thursday by a government official as an example of citizens bringing bizarre names into the Chinese language.

Written Chinese does not use an alphabet but is comprised of characters, sometimes making it difficult to develop words for new or foreign objects and ideas.

However, the letters 'a' and 't' can be pronounced in a way that sounds like the phrase "love him," said Li Yuming, vice-director of the State Language Commission.

Li told a news conference that the father explained his choice by saying the whole world uses the symbol to write e-mails and that "translated into Chinese, it means 'love him,' "

Li did not say if police, who are the arbiters of names because they issue identity cards, have accepted or rejected the name.

As of last year, only 129 names accounted for 87 per cent of all surnames in China, Li said.

Strange, very strange. I know people have a longing to differentiate their children from the thousands upon thousands that are born everyday, but is it really fair to the kids to give them really fucked up names? Something they are going to have to be spelling out and/or explaining to other people for the rest of their lives?

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