Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mera Naam Hai Chin Chin Chu

I immediately remembered this old Bollywood song when I recently read an article about how you could get a Chinese name for yourself.I think it was veteran actor Helen who enacted the role of a vamp when she sang this song.I forget the name of the old Hindi movie but that is irrelevant.

What fascinates me is our sudden found enthusisam for China and Chinese.
I lived my early years in Kolkata which in those days had a sizeable Chinese population.They lived as a community together and carried out most of their activities from Chinatown or Kangra as it is called.Till today,a Chinese daily is being published for a readership of about 3000 Chinese reading people.Marxism has deep roots in West Bengal like in Kerala.And at one time Mao and Ho Chi Min were deified.Chinese noodles and Schzwan food are a great hit in the streets of Kolkata and Mumbai too. There are many dialects in China and I am told that Mandarin is more widely used and easier to learn.There is an expression called 'guo cui'.It is not easily translatable as it conveys a whole lot of meanings.For example,mumbaimanoos or bangali bhadralok.When such expressions are used the distinct characteristics of a Mumbaikar or a Kolkattan flashes your mind.

The fascination for names among the Chinese goes back to five milleniums.Emperor Fu Xi set the ball rolling when he assigned names to 100 families of his time.They had three names in one like say Chou En Lai or Mao Tse Tung..The surname,the hereditary name and then the given name.And thanks to their becoming a member of WTO,those who are interacting with the world outside, are also having an English name in addition to their Chinese names.And if you want to take on a Chinese name log on to www.mandarintools.com.I am considering making a visiting card with Chinese letters showing my name as Go Paal Soon.

3 comments:

rums said...

uncle the name of the chinese neighbourhood in cal is actually 'tangra'. it was a favourite hangout during our college days, the food was yummy and dirt cheap. unfortunately, tangra has lost its edge and is just a shadow of its former self now.

gs said...

thanks for the correction rums.printer's devil you know.the authorities have moved all the leather processing units from tangra away from kolkata and with these units many chinese have also left.it is really a ghost of its former self.the nextgen has left for greener pastures in australia,new zealand and canada.the old people are the ones who are left out.it is very sad.

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