Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cairo Says: Meaning of My Name

(Previously posted by "Cairo" on 7th Dec, 2006 on Multiply)
Let's talk about my name today! I am known by different names to different people. This is usually the symptom of greedy parents who cannot make up their minds. Among my many monikers are: Yau Yau, Smelly, Cairo, Princess, Piggy, Darling, Wa-wa etc... but today, we shall concentrate on the MAIN one only, else, it'll take forever.

My birth certificate dictates that I am known as DYLIS FOON CAIRO in the eyes of law.

DYLIS is Welsh for "dependable, can be relied on". I am guessing that the parents are afraid I would dump them at some posh hi tech retirement village next time. So my name would always be my reminder cum conscience? So not subtle!!! Or maybe, my Mommy is just hoping that she can rely on me to do all the housework while she movie marathons with Daddy after I turn 4?! Surely she did not intend for my future boss to be fully dependant on me? Oh the horrors! :s Lets just move on to my Chinese name... before that, please gimme a Panadol.
Additional note: It's pronouced as DEE-LEASE, not DIE-LEASE ok?!

My parents, who are pure Cantonese, picked my name because it has a kinda pseudo exotic-Japanese lilt to it. So, if I were born in KL, my Chinese name would be spelt as POON HOI YAU instead.

For 5 months, my parents did nothing but flip through Chinese baby name book & counting characters' strokes. I am proud to announce that my banana of a mother came up with that combo :D That's right... she pestered colleague (singular, only one), office neighbours and friends and relatives regarding Chinese characters and strokes, day and nite!!!

CAIRO means "to achieve triumphant victory while maintaining a gentle disposition". In layman term, that would roughly translate to "winning every battle without having to bang tables" hahaha! So all I need to do is act like a demure gentle lady and victory would be mine to claim hahaha. Duh! My future classmates would tease me for 2 decades, I just know!

In Mandarin, CAIRO should read as PAN KAI ROU. However, the ang moh version of my Chinese name does not look like that. Let me explain why. Additional note: Our surname became FOON instead of POON during my grandpa's generation cos his daddy had bad handwriting hahaha. That or they kena a big one from some lousy clerk at the birth registry dept! Mommy says its a blessing in disguise cos F comes before P, will sit in front few rows at school wor hahaha!

In my Mommy's opinion, DYLIS FOON KAI ROU is too long. And not quite balanced. DYLIS FOON CAIRO on the other hand is just right (meaning to say she can't shorten it further :p). Notice how the first and third name each has 5 letters? Besides, Mommy has always been rather weird and eccentric. She wants me to have a name which is one of a kind yet not so difficult that I'll end up spending 1/4 of my waking moments educating others on its spelling or pronunciation :p

Some people asked why bother to have a Chinese name then make it look totally unchinese like. Well, in the first place, ABCs are already totally non Chinese :p Besides, what classifies as normal Chinese name or not is merely the current population's perception. And that is ever changing as the sea! Mommy assured me that while CAIRO may raise an eyebrow or 2 here, the folks from other countries would know how to pronounce it at first glance.

To summarise it all, I think my parents are hoping that I could be "a person who can be trusted to achieve greatness in a man's world while enjoying all the fun of being a woman, to fly to great heights but never forsaking those below."

What more could a baby ask for :D

With such lofty ambitions, why didn't they just name me "The Great Dragon-Riding, Flame-Throwing Phoenix" instead? Could’ve saved them a lot of work! Oh, forgot.... we're not Red Indians, otherwise, they really would :s

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