May is such popular nickname in Thailand that when you say “May,” people say “May who?” as the upcoming movie May WHO? show us. But Singaporean students across the ages haven’t been spared the juvenile creativity of young kids making fun of ordinary, everyday names.

If you’ve had a name that was normal enough to have been spared any jokes, either you had very mature classmates (ha!) or your name was obscure enough not to have been used in television or movies. But for many of us unfortunate ones, our names were the source of fun to our schoolmates.

So here’s a list of names never to name your future children. If you’ve got a kid who has one of these names, I hear that you can legally change their name through a deed poll (you’ll need a lawyer for that though).

1) Shi Ting (思婷)

Admit it, you like this emoji. Credit: CBC News

Admit it, you like this emoji. Credit: CBC News

Probably awarded to grand-daughters of non-English speaking grand parents, the name sounds innocuous enough in Mandarin, or even dialect. But if a non-Chinese pronounces it, there’s only one word in the English language that it looks like. It’s a pity because in Chinese, it’s quite a beautiful and meaningful name. But look at it in English, and immediately the girl is associated with bodily functions.

2) Marcus

So many colours, so much torment. Credit: Office N Supplies

So many colours, so much torment. Credit: Office N Supplies

Back in the past (meaning the 90s, for all you youngsters), whiteboards were not so commonplace. You needed markers to write on the whiteboard, so whenever the teacher asked for her “markers,” everyone would turn to “Marcus” and say “there he is!” Poor Marcuses everywhere learned to dread whiteboards from young.

Now, with whiteboards swiftly replacing blackboards, having the name Marcus is a definite sign that you’ve developed an irrational fear of any whiteboard.

3) Au Da-something

Got your Au Da fix yet? Credit: Hungrygowhere

Got your Au Da fix yet? Credit: Hungrygowhere

Au Da-anything (eg, Au Dazhi, Au Dayu, Au Dazhou, and so forth) was a pretty unique name. Not that many people shared the “Au” surname, and a surprising number of folk from the Au clan would frequently name their boys “Da-something).

But in Chinese, it would be pronounce as Ou Da-something. And “Ou Da” sounded far too much like orange-coloured ground fish cake. It didn’t matter what the last syllable of your name was, all people remembered was the “Otak” part. You would dread Chinese lessons because of this.

4) April/May/June

April, May and June Duck. Credit: Disney Wikia

April, May and June Duck. Credit: Disney Wikia

These were very sweet names for girls, with all the connotations of spring and flowers associated with them. They also each comprised 1/12 of the year. So if you had any of those names, for one excruciating month, you would have to live with people showing you the dates that they had written, which also happened to be your name. May would be especially terrible, since it was the exam period as well (so your name was on every exam timetable, appearing multiple times).

Bet you didn’t know they were the names of Daisy Duck’s nieces (did you even know she had nieces?) too!

5) Ben Tan or Tan Beng-something

Don't ever call someone this. Credit: PC Home

Don’t ever call someone this. Credit: PC Home

While “Ben Tan” is more commonly linked to “Ben Ten” now, before that popular cartoon series came up, Ben Tan sounded far too much like ben dan (笨蛋), which is Chinese for dummy. Any variation of this could generate the Ben Tan effect, meaning if your name was Tan Beng-something, there was a high chance someone would mutate your name into ben dan. Having an extended version of Ben (such as Benjamin or Benedict) in your name also qualified you to be a ben dan. Poor boys.

6) Adrian

An everyday sight. Credit: The Farnie Chronicles

An everyday sight. Credit: The Farnie Chronicles

Commonly misspelled as “Adrain” which was then easily read as “A drain,” being gifted with such a name meant that you also had the inevitable Chinese nickname of “long kang,” which also means drain. But really, all it meant was that your tormentors were bad at spelling. So take heart that all those who gave you this silly nickname were actually failing their spelling tests and English exams back then.

7) Ong Zi Han

Good to eat, not so good as a name. Credit: Ontario Sweet Potato

Good to eat, not so good as a name. Credit: Ontario Sweet Potato

Just like with Shi Ting, an astounding number of Ong clan members also had the name Zi Han. While the name sounds masculine and poetic enough, it’s when you read it backwards that it turns out to have the unfortunate meaning of “Sweet Potato King.” If it were “Durian King,” that might still make sense, but there’s absolutely no value in being a a Sweet Potato King. It’s one of those titles that you’ll never want to have.

 

May WHO? poster. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

May WHO? poster. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

For more mischief managed in classrooms, catch May WHO? in cinemas, as the titular May in the movie has an easily mocked name in Thailand. In fact, Thai names are usually more than three-syllables, so watch the truncating begin! It opens Nov 5.

Credits: CBC News, Office N Supplies, Hungrygowhere, Disney Wikia, PC Home, The Farnie Chronicles, Ontario Sweet PotatoGolden Village Cinemas.