My name is Bridget, nice to meet you. Not really that unusual a name, wouldn't you say? But it's plagued me my whole life. Of course my parents chose to give me a name with multiple spellings that would result in me being a very stressed toddler. My preschool teacher could only manage to spell my name 'Bridjet' (is that even a spelling that exists?) on my paintings, and I quickly learnt to explain that it was simply "Bridge" with a 't' on the end. I'd get all different spellings of my name - Brigid, Bridgette, Brigitte...any combination was thrown my way before my own way of spelling it was offered. I learnt to put up with it. Then as I got older, I started ordering delivery. "What name is that for?" "Bridget" "Ok, Richard, see you soon". I'd seriously get my orders back with "RICHARD" written across the docket. This is a story I sometimes wish I hadn't told my family, who I think have forgotten both my original name and gender.
Before coming to teach in Thailand, I was told I'd probably have to come up with a nickname to tell not only my students, but the Thai teachers as well. As a rule, the compound sounds ('br', 'dg' and ending a word with a consonant...) don't really flow off the Thai tongue, so I decided to keep it simple. So I shorted my name to just the first letter. On one of my first days in Lop Buri, a confident adolescent boy came up and introduced himself, so I decided to throw him my new nickname, "Bee". His response was, "Nice to meet you, Beef". Great, I can't even get a single-sound name across. What was the next 4.5 months going to be like? I decided to challenge my teachers and students, and told them my actual name. I would repeat it about 7 or 8 times until I'd be getting at least two syllables out of them, with similar consonant sounds. At school, 'Bridget' can either be pronounced 'Peaches', 'Princess', 'Beaches', 'Bidger', or my personal favourite, 'Bitches'. I rather like hearing "Good Morning Teacher Bitches!" across the playground. Next week I might teach them to say "sup?", just so I can hear "Sup Bitches?" daily. These are the things that get you through a school day.
As difficult as my name is for the Thais, their names are equally as difficult for me. Not only are the names tricky on the old memory box, but I have roughly 320 students, so trying to remember that many 8 syllable names with strange sounds and tones is more challenging than trying to send a sensible text message after a few bottles of wine. So, the children all have nicknames. This might be my favourite part about school - the children's nicknames. Some of them are logical shortenings of their Thai names, and others are just randomly chosen English words. Here's a list of my favourite student nicknames:
- Golf (this name is on "par" with the next..)
- Milk (I think Milk hangs out with Jam. I'm hoping to find a kid called Cream and another called Scone)
- Dream (I'm never quite sure if the kid exists or not)
- Punch (I don't know if it's better the kid's chosen 'Punch' as in a violent attack, or a strong alcoholic beverage)
- Book (ironically, this child is hard to read)
- Ice (there are at least 10 kids with this as their nickname. Sadly, none of them are washed up white 90s rappers)
- Dung (does this kid even realise?)
- Earth (I'm hoping to find 'Wind' and 'Fire', and if possible, 'Water' and 'Heart', just so I can form some kind of Captain Planet/70s disco supergroup)
- First (by name only)
- Ham (it up)
- Fame (because he's going to live forever?)
- Ping-Pong (future career? This is Thailand, after all....)
This is merely a selection of nicknames, I could go on forever on these. But the important thing to learn here is, if you've had troubles with people pronouncing your name in your home country, chances are they won't be able to say it in countries that don't speak your language. The other important lesson is that if your name is too tricky for people to say, you can just call yourself whatever the hell you want. Screw it, I want to be referred to as 'Facebook' from here on it. Makes about as much sense as the Thai kids' nicknames.
Total votes 8Which of these is the best Thai nickname?
|You must vote to see the resuts.|