Over lunch today, two friends who decided to go back to school were talking about assignments and computations. The conversation would have totally escaped me, until one mentioned a classmate named "Beautylynn." I almost choked on my okra. "Beautylynn?"
The name sent me searching my inbox for a forwarded email written by an expat. "A Rhose by Any Other Name," is a humorous take on the many inventive ways we Filipinos deal with the business of naming our kids. Some of the naming styles:
1. Door-bell names such as Ding, Ding-Dong, Ping, Ting-Ting
2. Repeating names such as Let-Let, Len-Len, Jun-Jun, Mai-Mai. The repeating names can be written as Let2, Len2, Jun2, Mai2 and so on...
3. Composite names such as Jejomar (for Jesus, Joseph and Mary) and Luzviminda (for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao). Ha ha on this one! I know someone named Rofebar (for Ronando, Fernando and the fact that Ronando and Fernando passed the Bar exams on the year he was born). Or how about Jemelvic (for Jean, Rommel and Vic, the kid's aunt and uncles)
4. The concept of the randomly-inserted "h." As in Jhun, Jhimmy, Ghemma. I have cousins--unmistakably '70s kids--whose "groovy" parents made sure that their nicknames have the requisite, if useless "h": Yeyoh, Dhing, Rhey, Dhan...well, you know the drill...
5. A creative sense of humor creeping its way purposely into names. Examples are: Edgar Allan Pe, Washington Dy Sy, Magic Chiongson
6. Parents sticking to a theme (names that begin with the same letter, a whole line of fruits, desserts, etc.) Mortifying, but my folks are guilty of this. The names of the two elder daughters—Anna Carmencita (me, me me) and Emma Concepcion—are quite fine, considering that they were named for their patron saints. As for the other four, well, Dad and Ma must have spent many a sleepless night figuring our four-letter first names starting with a vowel and ten-letter middle names starting with the letter C.
Funny, too, how generations gravitate toward almost the same “generic” names. In confirmation rites last year, it struck me how just about grade-five pupil is invariably named Nicole Anne or Katrina Mae or Anna Mae or Princess Mae or Ruffa Mae or Christine Mae. One name is forever etched in my book: Khryztynn Lynn.
And now, Beautylynn.
The name game encompasses family pets as well. Because the dog was considered “part of the family,” the De Leons named their dog “Keempee.” As in Keempee de Leon. Somewhere in the neighborhood is a dog named “Kagata,” which, in Bicol, loosely translates to “go ahead and bite.”
And then there’s the dog formerly known as Berta, which now goes by the name of “Princess Mae.” The new name was given by Krystalla, the help whose original name is not Krystalla. In any case, Princess Mae’s owner was wondering why the dog wouldn’t do so much as lift an ear when she calls. Out of frustration, she yelled “Fren-theth Miii,” the way Krystalla says it.
What do you know, the darn dog did a doggie somersault!
Princess Mae, it turns out, is Frentheth Mi after all.