JTC (Jan 21,1960 / Sibu, Sarawak, Borneo East Malaysia)


nicknames are thrown
around in my family;
our own terms of endearment
word could not describe.
it is that closeness
towards each other
through words that evoke
a special experience
with a brother or sister
or just a plain description of
his uniqueness.
a brother is called La Ting
because of his bald head when a
eldest brother is labelled Ming
instead of his real name Thai
because of his intelligence
when a child.
Ming means clear-minded.
Another is called Lung
instead of Ing because of his
Chinese horoscope sign dragon
which in Mandarin is Lung.
mom's favourite animal sign
is dragon so the name sticks.
youngest brother is Bee,
my own spontaneous invention
when I saw the cute little child
in mom's hands many years back.
I am so glad and proud
that this is the only creation
in my life that has been used
for so long and that it
has surprisingly given
brother all the good luck;
he turns out to be a bank's manager.
he should have me to thank
for all his fortune.
another brother is called Chi
instead of his real name Kui.
i could not fathom the
reason for this and wonder
which brother first started
calling him that.
eldest sister is Pui
instead of Hua because
of her plumbness when a baby.
and oh dear, we are naughty
when it comes to our neighbours.
many of them have secret nicknames
coined from the way they
talk, walk, and even look
and we really hope they would
never ever find out these names.
Our family just bubble in
our neighbourhood because of
our incessant inner creative jest
to coin all those secret words.
perhaps, we are nicknamed too
which we never
bother about because
we know nicknames are
given out of endearment.
at least, that is the case with us.

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