A friend brought this to my attention.
The gist of it is, that adopting parents in Australia will no longer be
allowed to change the name of a child, for fear of severing the child’s
links with his “culture.” It includes a snippet about little adoptee Hua
Ming Qin, age 10, from China. She is “fiercely proud” of her birth name.
Quote: “I wouldn’t want to be called something like Kylie. It wouldn’t suit
me. Ming means ‘remember China forever’ and that’s special to me.”
This child may be fiercely proud of her name, but her grasp of its actual
meaning is something less than firm. Mathews’ Chinese-English Dictionary
gives the following meanings under “ming”:
—Name, reputation, fame.
—Tea, the tea-plant.
—Strong spirituous liquor.
—To engrave, carve.
—Dark, obscure, Hades, deep, profound, high, distant, stupid, confused.
—Vast, deep, boundless.
—To close the eyes, to disturb, to sleep.
—An auspicious fabulous plant which grew in the palace of the Emperor Yao.
—Various groups of moths which produce destructive caterpillars.
—Bright, clear, intelligent, light, brilliant, to understand, to
illustrate, to cleanse, name of a dynasty.
—To sound, a sound, the cry of a bird or animal.
—A vessel, a utensil.
—The will of God, a command, a decree, to command, fate, destiny, life, to
name, government notification.
(Although, I must say, I wouldn’t want to be called “Kylie,” either. This
name is wylie–sorry, I mean “wildly”–popular in Australia because of Kylie
Minogue, a talentless trollop with a genius for
publicity–sort of antipodean Madonna.)