We're obliged this fine summer morn to Reg reader Jon Andrews, who's just been tickled by Acer's Easy Lai - the man who assures customers that his company's kit conforms to all the required standards. Jon caught sight of Easy Lai on the documentation for a Revo Nettop, but Mr Lai has been putting it about quite a bit, as this …
It's common for Chinese folks who deal with Western customers or who work with Westerners to pick a Western christian name.
It's a common problem for them though that they have trouble picking a name, as most Chinese family names are the equivalent of "Smith" - but with multi-millions of members. So, for example, "John Woo" is already taken. In all likelihood, all of the common Western christian names are taken. So they have to get a little more creative ...
There's many stories of Western office-mates offering to "help" their Chinese colleagues come up with a solution to this problem. The best (worst?) one I heard was Chinese office assistant for an American company based in Hong Kong who went by the name "Phenous Wong", and who was at pains to point out that the "h" was silent ...
Benny Hill voice...
"Herro Chinese erection commission"
"Are you Easy Lai?"
"No I Harto Get"
"Do you have any on there who speaks English?"
"I transfer you to Ivor Biggun"
Sniggering at foreigners' names? Is THAT what this website has come to??
Damn right! We're brits :-D
Hmm, last time...
....we had a naming article round here it degenerated into a load of comments ostensibly posted by a series of ever sillier names. Presumably the new "handle" system will prevent this.
It's also not clever to make fun of Oriental names, they're very low-hanging fruit.
Up the Arsenal!
Gen. R. Sen Wen Gah (Rtd)
"Duntorturin'", 4 Presidential Palace Road, Rangoon, Burma^H^H^H^H^HMyanmar.
That cheered me up no end.
Reminds me of a lecturer from my days at Bradford Uni, who used to have us sniggering occasionally. Dr Lu Ming Lai, occasionally referred to as Dr Potential Shag.
Enter a title here
We, the undersigned, as members of the society for peeps with silly names, would like to protest at this tasteless example of poking fun at some person just because they have name that some people may find humorous.
A. Swindler Anita Cox. Annette Curtain Austin Martin Betty Gamble Chris Peacock. Clifford Edge. Dale Rivers Dick Lovewell Dr Payne Dr. C. D. Cox. Dr. Clapp Earl Lee Gay Boyes Ger King Harry Cox Harry Dick Ulick McGee Hugh Janus Ivan O'Toole Ivor Lott James Riddle Joe King Joy Center Lee King. Lon Moore Lucy Lastic Major Slack Mike Hunt Myles Long Orson Carte. Paige Reader Patricia Screws Polly Styrene Penny Less Randy Bender Randy Dyck. Richard Eaton Richard Head Richard Tester Richard Trickle Shelly Beach Tammy Paxman Teresa Green. Tony Broke Wayne Kerr Wayne King Willie Bent Genghis McCann
A bit of Blade-runnerism?
Reminds me of "Doctor All Come" from Blade-runner. Especially since "Lai" is a variant spelling of the Mandarin word for "See", hence Mr. "Easy, See?".
It also reminds me of that movie where all the call center staff were called George as it was deemed the most memorable and non-threatening name.
@ Sniggering at foreigners' names
New Vietnamese developer, straight off the boat, going around an open plan office seating 50: 'Hi I'm Minge (Minh)'.
Thank you on-shoring!
re AC "A bit of blade-runnerism"
correct me if I am wrong, but I think Doctor all come came from Johnny Mnemonic the classic cyberpunk book by william gibson, later turned into a film starring keanu reeves, and not Blade Runner (or "do androids dream of electric sheep" by phillip k. dick).
coat with "worlds biggest pedant" on the back please
I find all these names highly offensive, childish, and embarassing.
You are correct in your pedant-ism.
Reminds me of a Chinese client I had at one time who made the mistake of choosing Peter to use as a first name while operating in the states. I say mistake because his last name was Pan. It took him a while to figure out why people were hesitant to deal with someone calling himself Peter Pan.
for the record
taking a shot at the world's biggest pedant crown
Lai is typically pronouced "Lie" rather than "Lay"
so all the benny hill fans can go back to sleep
still that being said since the easy lie is often the first course of action, sounds perfect for sales & marketing
list memorable western names for chinese acquaintances below
Satan police super intendent in HK
vasaline yes a somewhat slippery customer
epsilon living in a brave new world obviously
facial very popular girl ( worked in consmetics)
icebridge ??? (i never dared ask)
frying not a good choice when your surname is Pan
The more general reason for the Chinese word-as-name syndrome is that, unlike English, many languages use actual words as names most of the time and Chinese often don't realise that common words like 'Apple' (to take a common example from my time teaching English in China) doesn't really make a good English name. (Flowers, personality attributes - in old-<strike>school</strike>church religious families - and a few uncommon-but-still-in-use words are exceptions to this rule of thumb).
Chinese names can literally translate to things like 'Snow King' without sounding the least odd in the native locales. I imagine 'Easy' could well have been a pocket-translation-dictionary guess at a translation of a local name.
My favourite direct-name-translation disaster was a student at one place I was teaching who had translated his name to 'High-man', and to be fair, even if he had tried back-translating it in that form to double-check, he would have been unaware of what it sounded like.
Vietnamese have a simlar problem
I once had a manager that was born in Vietnam. Fortunately, since he was raised in the States, he had a sense of humor about his name... Hung Phuc Ho...