Archive for the ‘Nepal’ Category

500 Tibetan protesters detained in Nepal

April 17, 2008

KATMANDU, Nepal – Police in Nepal say they have detained more than 500 Tibetan exiles who were protesting near the Chinese Embassy in the capital.

A police official says 505 Tibetans have been taken into custody from at least three separate protests near the embassy in an upscale neighborhood of the city on Thursday.

Nepal says it cannot allow protests against any friendly nations, including China.

In India, runners carried the Olympic flame along a heavily guarded route through central New Delhi. It was protected by about 15,000 police who kept away Tibetan exiles and other anti-China protesters.

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Dalai Lama urges China to stop using force as several killed in Tibet

March 14, 2008

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) – The Dalai Lama said Friday he was “deeply concerned” over the situation in Tibet and appealed to China to “stop using force” several people were killed in the biggest protests against Chinese rule in two decades.

Tibetan Buddhist monks walk past police cars near Labrang Monastery, ...
Tibetan Buddhist monks walk past police cars near Labrang Monastery, Gansu Province. Gunfire was heard in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, according to the US embassy who citied several reports from American citizens.(AFP/Mark Ralston)

“I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days,” Tibet’s exiled Buddhist spiritual leader said in a statement from India.

“These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance,” said the Nobel peace laureate.

“I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080314/ts_afp/chinatibetreligionprotestrightsdalai_
080314141404

Nepali police charge at demonstrating Tibetan monks and protesters ...
Nepali police charge at demonstrating Tibetan monks and protesters with batons at Baudha in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu March 14, 2008. The Tibetan refugees residing in Nepal were showing their solidarity with the demonstrating Tibetans in China. Shops were set on fire in violence in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa on Friday, China’s Xinhua news agency reported after days of rare street protests in the contested region.
REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar (NEPAL)

What’s In A Name (January 1, 2008)

January 1, 2008

By John E. Carey
Updated January 1, 2008

A friend who works near where I work is from India.  His name “Naresh” means King.  He must have very hopeful parents! Koumba is a woman from Africa.  Her name means “First Girl.”

Num Pung means “Honey Bee” in Thailand.  Her mother ate honey comb while pregnant.

Alam is a Bangladeshi name meaning glorious or magnificent. It is usually a boy’s name.

Names fascinate me.  Those from the sphere of the Western European influence frequently choose Bible names or Old English names for their offspring. 

Native American youths earned their names for centuries; or were given meaningful names from tribal lore or from nature’s beauty. 

Many Asians have lyrical, almost poetic names; my wife among them.  She is called Honglien or “Pink Lotus.” By coincidence, my friend from Nepal, Kamala, has the same name: Kamala translates to “Pink Lotus.” 

A comman man’s name in Nepal is “Ram.”  Ram means, “Guard of Hindu.”  WOW!  What a great name!

Other men’s names from Nepal include Mukti (”Freedom”) and Diwakar (”Sun”).

In Vietnam one of my favorite man’s name is “Nghi” (pronounced like “knee”).  It means standing straight and tall, standing at attention or really moral and honest.

Africans often bestow meaningful names upon their children.

One customer of mine is an African named Shaka.  He told me he is named for the greatest warrior of all time: Shaka who united the  Zulu nation in Africa. He said Shaka is viewed and respected for his military adeptness like Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great. 

Islamic people have some wonderful names. Monzer (as with all of our names there are various spellings) means “One Who Warns” or “The Warner.”  It is good to name a little girl baby Rahil, which means “innocent.”

The first thing we have to clarify is this: in our modern world, we tend to lump people and even races into groups like “Native American.” When Columbus arrived in North America there were as many as 500 Tribes; many with languages as different as Chinese is from English. The tribes also had many cultural and religious variations. So as we open this discussion, I penalize myself from the start because I am prone to fall into the trap of lumping people together in huge and unnatural generalities like “all Asians” even though I know that is not correct. I know the Vietnamese are vastly different from the Philipino, for example, even though both are Asians. Even among the Vietnamese there are several “tribes” and cultures.

I have an acquaintence from Thailand named Wantanee.  It means “The Greeter.”   Put your hands together as if in Christian prayer and bow: that’s “The Greeter.”

I have been blessed to know many different people from different parts of the world. Some of my Native American friends, that come from different tribes, have names like “Wild Horse,” “Truth to Tell,” “Comes Killing,” “Soars with Eagles,” and my favorite of all: “Shot-to-Pieces.”

I have been told that many Native American earn their names through some act of bravery or some other memorable event. A young boy that kills a bear might be called “Bear Slayer” for example.

Many who trace their lineage back to Christian European nations might have Bible names. I am named for John the Apostle and we celebrate his Feast Day in the Catholic Calendar on this day. My brothers have old English names: William and Thomas. My sisters also have traditional English names: Pamela and Elizabeth. My cousin is Edward as in Edward the Confessor, I think.

Charles means “manly” or “strong.”  I’ll bet you didn’t know that!

I’ve met many people that think Cynthia is an old English name.  Actually, it comes from Greece.  The meaning of the girl’s name Cynthia is “from Mount Kynthos.” It was one of the names of Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and it refers to her birthplace on Mt. Kynthos.

The name Michael comes from the Hebrew name which means “He Who Is Like God.” Pretty good name. In the Catholic Church, Michael is the number one angel or Archangel. His feast day is September 29, a day he shares with the other top angels: Raphael and Gabriel. Across America many parishes are named for Saint Michael or Raphael or Gabriel.

Michael is a common name in Spanish speaking countries (Miguel), Arabic and even Russian. My name John becomes Juan in Spanish and is also translated into other languages.

Colin means “Victory of the people.”  The name is derived from Greek but became a common name in what is now Britain.  Traditionally the “O” was soft but American’s have taken to say a hard “O” as in Colin Powell.

The Japanese have a lot of terrific names.  Aika means Love Song.  Keiko means Blessed Child.

I am married into a Vietnamese family and each of the Catholic Vietnamese have a Vietnamese name and a Christian name from the Bible. I know a woman named “White Swan” in Vietnamese. Many of the names are terrific!

My wife Lien is also called Mary Magdalene. Mary “M” was a friend of Jesus that may have had a jaded past. I tell people Mary Magdalene “started wrong but finished strong.” Both our parish priests are called John the Baptist. My mother in law is Mary and a Vietnamese friend is Joseph.

But there are some unusual Vietnamese names and this custom spills over into other Asian cultures. The last child of the family might be called “Last One.” I know of a family that has, translated from the native language, a “Last One” and a “Late Mistake.” A particularly tiny Baby might be named “Little Peanut” or something like that.

The Vietnamese name “Hien” means “Gentle.”

I had a Thai friend that swore her father named her “Cucumber” because she was so small and cute.  The Thai name “Wantanee” means “One Who Greets” or “Greeter.”

Another Thai I knew a long time ago was named “Far,” which means sky or more correctly, “clear blue sky.”

Many African and African American names have meaning. A girl named Wangari should know that she has a name from Kenya that means “Leopard.” Mwamba is a Tanzanian name that means “Strong.”

I met a man named Mr. Erhunmwunse on April 2, 2007.  His name means “My Prayers Have Come True” in his native Nigeria!

Ethiopian names are among my favorites: Kalikidan means “promise,” Adonich means “healing,”  Assefa is an Ethiopian name that means “expansive” or “to widen,  “Zelalem” means”Forever” and Lulseged means “King.”

A woman in Ethiopia might be named “Alem.” It means “World.”

The Bangladeshi name “Rowshanara” means “bright” and is my second favorite name from that part of the world after “Amina.”  Amina means “Trusted One.”

Rowshanara is actually the Persian or Farsi word meaning bright — even though the Rowshanara I know is from Bangladesh.

Amin being the root word for “trust.”  Amina is also a common name in Nepal.

Another great Bangladeshi name for a woman is Farida.  Farida means “Unique.”  Another man’s name is “Sariful” which means “Modest.”

Let’s get back to Rowshanara.  My favorite Rowshanara works in a 7-11 near my house.  She is short and thin and “bright” and very beautiful.

This past Sunday I stopped for milk at the 7-11 and found Rowshanara trapped in the refrigerated food case.  Instead of refilling the case from behind, she opened the front door for a front fill.  She is so small that she needed to stand on the bottom shelf.  She is so thin that the glass door closed!

I knocked on the glass door and said, “So this is what a refrigerated Bangladeshi Rowshanara looks like!”

I freed her and she couldn’t stop laughing!

“Jali” is a Bangladeshi name that means “happy thing.” Not a bad name!

Many Indian words have made it to the regular English vocabulary. Most of them were added during the British imperialistic rule over India from spanning from 16th to 20th century. More than five hundred words of Indian origin were absorbed into English during that period and it has grown ever since.

Currently the Oxford English Dictionary lists over 700 words of Indian origin.

Rowshanara’s boss at the 7-11 has an Indian name that translates into “Happiness.”

Names come and go and what is popular today will undoubtedly be passe a few years from now. Sarah Womack wrote in the (London) Telegraph on December 21, 2006, that “Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies’ names in England and Wales than George, reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the population. “

She continues, “Spelled Muhammad, it is the 44th most popular name and enters the top 50 for the first time along with Noah, Oscar, Lucas and Rhys. “

Rhys? I must be getting old.

My purpose here is only to interest the uninitiated in the vast world of names with meaning. Do a word search for your name or the names of your friends and you might be surprised.

Part of the richness of any culture is its language and one facet of the many sided jewel that is language is the vast array of names parents bestow upon their children.
*******

The article above has been updated many, many times.  Although we continue to learn the meaning of new names, we have finally “locked” “What’s in a Name.”

from Thailand:
“Kanalya” means “Subdued, Cool, or Behaving with Style.”

From India:
“Rohini” is a woman’s name meaning “lightening!”
“Igin” means “Sunshine.”
“Dipti” is a woman’s name meaning “source of light.”

From Arabic (He grew up in Kuwait)
“Mahmood” means “gifted.”

From Ethiopia:
Yework Wuha means “Gold Water” or “Liquid Gold.”
Sehay means “Sunshine.”
Tewodros means “Gift of God.”
Genet means “Heaven.”
Almaz means “Diamond.”
Negussie means “King.”

From Nepal:
Jay means “Victory.”
Surya means “Sun.”

Afghanistan:
“Azim” means “The Greatest.”
“Habib” means “Beloved.”
“Wahid” means “Unique.”
“Karim” means “Kind.”

From Korea:
my neighbor’s name is “Oh So Young.”

Bangladesh:
“Nahida” means “Ali’s Power.”

Visit us also at:
http://extendedremarks.blogspot.com/
and
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/

Please send feedback to me at:
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Journey to America

August 22, 2007

By Kamala Sarup

America is a great country. This country has given million of people the right to live on its land. People from all over the world are coming to the U.S for hope, and this country has given them the opportunity to work hard and make their own destiny.

I have no words for just how impressed I am with America’s greatness. America has given me the chance to write many many articles and made me a very strong woman.

Now I believe, my work and writings and what I do for mankind is important.

Today I can proudly say that even in this crisis situation in the world, I promoted a positive image of the world. Born in a small village to a middle class family in Nepal, I went from village to village to get my schooling. I worked and studied very hard to make myself a success.

So, it is my duty to protect American values and freedom in writing those articles. This is the only way I can give something back to America, something that will be charged with respect and humanism.My Journey to AmericaThis is my feelings for American values. Everyday I feel like happy and going somewhere far away with my dreams and emotional memories.

I am gradually getting strong, yes, gradually at every passing moment. I am just grateful.

As long power spreads all over me, I try to createmy work on humanism with the particles along the people and I am ableto accomplish this.

The meaning of the word ‘humanism’ for some to speak, some to write. We do employ the word in one or the other sense. As far as preserving it is concerned, it is altogether different which when we select gratefully.

And now I feel that humanism will not escape far away inthe same way from where the definite going of life ends.

I see in America, everywhere there is freedom. There is no story of just living. Life should not be translated into emptiness.

I am afraid of selfish attitudes of people. I do not like deceitfulness, failure and tragedy. There too life was properly represented in that way as well. There too life has been hope, truth scattered like a poem. Not to be able to write anything about myself,and to get a look within incoherence has made me nowadays full ofhappy that the talk of my poetry is nothing but scratching my ownpleasure. In order to be able to write a living poem, I do require respect, a love which is endless like my incomplete poem and in the darkness, I will remain half conscious with my power of being able to write anything.

How am I to write a true poem of life with a fresh and smarting trouthsome of the positive thinking have inflicted into my heart? Thus, in my eyes too there are dreams.

I look at the sky and see it covered with thick clouds all over. Large and small birds are constantly flying a far distance away. Their journey is definite, I was sticking all the time into a direction journey. At that time I had thought what my friend had written, “A human being makes a selection which is easy, suitable, sweet and good.”

But I never fully satisfied when a selection is made and I get it. While in search of an opportunity to have an easy life.

Yes, it’s true our living was quite suitable, full of humanism and certainly easy. As an option our hands, mouth, brain or each part ofour body is active and it is the name of life. The meaning of living is to search for easiness but here let a respectful living, life also to a certain limit advance with the easy life.

While writing, the mind is tempted toward the cliffs, narrow valleys, waterfalls and to hear the laughter’s and lamentation there. I am busy in search of equalityeven when there is mostly inequality in us, where I could write thestory of another great story in the process of living and in the process of living and in the name of living I receive some joy.

My journey to America was wonderful because I have been extremely busy to find a respectful moment. I think it was a very important moment for me to be in the US. That is to say, not only for defining a dream,but also a dream that accepts the reality which provides someachievement. ‘Every human being lives depending on some dream’. This was what written in a letter to by my very close friend Shweta at one time. At this time, in fact, I had certainly got an opportunity tothink a little about my own power for humanism.

Now slowly my dream has transformed into want, satisfaction and peace making my life a
different journey.

Often I feel agitated with the answer less answer when I questions myself. At that time for my this kind of inner inquiry has become adaily job although I have some aspects of life of my own kindreflected always in the present now on in solitude.What a great journey to America, what a great! At this time I amwalking on the street. It’s the street near Virginia.

In past, for many days I was anxious to write about my journey toAmerica. But what I had expressed after writing this story and hadwanted to know reaction of the story. Really at this moment, my mindis filled with conscience.From the moment I knew America, she has been quite beautiful.

This much is true that I have begun to like her more and more.

Perhaps I know that I like her . It’s true that I have seen her walking together with me everyday.

I said to my brother in this morning, I want to give you somethingwhich I have never offered to anybody in my life up to this time.

“If you agree to accept the thing, please meet me tomorrow.”

He showed his willingness, “Yes, of course.”

After that, without adding a word he bade me goodbye and went school.

I have been standing with the crowd at the Virginia for some hours.

The crowd has been increasing at the place I am standing, althoughit’s not unusual for a crowd of people to grow in a city. People in multicolored dresses are walking aimlessly.

My brother had arrived quite close to me I turned toward him slowly and said, “Why I feel great about America?” Yes, America is in ourheart” he told me.

I agree with my brother that people accept American values to produce freedom in the world.

Nepali Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup is an editor of media for freedom.com, She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women’s Empowerment(Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication,philosophy,feminism,political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. Shealso is experienced in organizational and community development.
http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/

Distrustful of China’s Government at Almost Every Turn

July 28, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 29, 2007

Please excuse me if I am distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

Having lived in China, watched China through my own media mesmerized eyes, and witnessed China’s government actions and reactions through Chinese business associates and friends, I have come to be distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

It is almost as if the Chinese government has been across the table from me for 30 years as we played poker. You get to know intuitively when the adversary is bluffing, lying, admitting, or avoiding.

In 2003, China faced an epidemic of a disease called Severe Acute Reparatory Syndrome (SARS).

As the story broke that the disease was reaching epidemic proportions in Vietnam and Singapore and other Asian venues, China didn’t make a sound.

I was on the edge of my seat nonetheless. I had a Chinese-born American employee traveling and doing business in China. I was worried for his safety and alerted him that there may be some disease spreading, unbeknownst to us, inside China.

Sure enough, before too many days, news reports began to come out of China that it, too, was experiencing SARS but that the problem was being competently managed.

I knew that had to be a lie. Vietnam and Singapore had noticed the outbreak more than two weeks before and recovery had been tough and troubling.

China then announced that the problem was worse than at first thought and the government launched a huge show of activity to demonstrate how hard they were working to stamp out the disease. Near the end of the crisis (and it was a crisis: hundreds if not thousands died in China) China began to escort news people around hospitals and other facilities to demonstrate the professionalism and medical readiness of China’s system.

It was then that I realized the government of China responded the same way to every crisis.

In Phase One, China covered up the problem and denied it existed. The disease persisted and worsened. Phase Two was a flurry of activity to impress the international community that China was on top of the situation. Most of this was for show and didn’t contribute a thing toward ending the epidemic. During this phase other nations like Vietnam and Singapore, that had admitted the problem as soon as it was discovered, eradicated the disease.

Finally, China launched Phase Three: a show and charm offensive to convince the world that it did a great job solving the problem.

I documented my conclusions in a Washington Times commentary under the headline “China’s Ham-Handed SARS Response: Omen of The Future In Disease Control?”

During the SARS emergency, the international media found out, for the first time, that China lacked sufficient medications, medical staff and hospital facilities to properly service its own population. Like many other things in China, the medical system was mostly a sham.

After graduating from medical school, the most well educated medical professionals in China went to the west to work.

The World Health Organization estimated that only about 4% of China’s medical professionals were prepared for a disease like SARS. And the medical staff was severely undermanned.

Finally, the system in place to monitor medical safety is overtaxed.

“There’s no quick fix,” says Henk Bekedam, the World Health Organization’s top representative in China. “China has perhaps been cutting some corners because the focus has been on growth. But they have 5,000 companies that produce medicine. That’s far too many.”

“The government has a limited ability to enforce things,” he said. “They need to start with simple things: reduce the number of people you monitor.”

Today, according to China’s own Ministry of Health (MOH), “In most countries, the ratio of the number of nurses to the total population is about 0.5 percent, but the ratio in China is only 0.1 percent.”

Recall the Bird Flu crisis? Phases One, Two and Three were used again. It seemed to me that there was a certain necessity to this for the Chinese leadership. When you have 1.3 Billion people you can’t have a complicated play book. And forget about innovation. When an American football quarterback would call an audible for perfectly valid reasons; China has to stick to a playbook that is simple and rehearsed. In many troubling situations, the only question China’s government leaders face is, “What Phase do you think we are in?”

In the food and product safety scandal that started in China this past spring, China was so taken by surprise that the government launched Phase Three without going through phases one and two. Despite plenty of signs that the tainted food (pet food, seafood, etc) and personal care items (cough syrup, toothpaste,etc) scandal was a big one, and still growing, on June 12, 2007, the deputy chief of mission of the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C., Mr. Zheng Zeguang, held a mini-news conference with reporters.

The esteemed deputy chief of mission lied to reporters about food and product safety. He said American reporters had grossly exaggerated the issue.

How did I know he was lying? Because reports of products with problems continued to roll in. And because, in Washington D.C., then the Ambassador from China speaks you can be pretty sure he is telling the truth, as far as he knows it. But when the deputy chief of mission is rolled out: the Chinese typically have something to hide.

I hate to give that away but the Chinese know it is true and we know it is true.

At about the same time that the Chinese Embassy’s deputy chief of mission briefed reporters, Li Dongsheng, vice minister for the State Administration for Industry and Commerce in Chiina, told reporters in China that China had developed “very good, very complete methods” to regulate product safety.

“There is now largely no problem with food safety. It is an issue the people care about greatly,” Mr. Li said. “So if there is a small problem, it becomes a big problem for us. So basically for now, we can guarantee food safety.”

That had to be a lie too.

Later that same afternoon, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of some “Thomas Train” toy items. They were painted in China using lead paint which is toxic. Everyone in the world has known for decades that lead paint is toxic.

Of course the food and product safety scandal widened, even after China had said, “we can guarantee food safety.”
Photo
In the toothpast scandal, first poison was found in some Chinese toothpaste brands.  Then Colgate-Polmolive reported that up to 1 million tubes of counterfeit “Colgate” toothpaste had been discovered.  It was made in China.  It was also poisoned.
***************************

It occurred to me that China had entered Phase Three (schmooze, show that everything is O.K. and move on) even before Phase One and Two had been allowed to play out. By not following their own play book, China got tied up and tripped up in its own shoe laces.

What followed was a series of other “summer scandals” including an abuse of child worker scandal (they were making Beijing Olympics 2008 mementos) and a slavery scandal, to name a few.

Today, communist news organs and the India news agency IANS announced gleefully that China had secured another vote to assist its foreign policy goals in the United Nations.

Sudeshna Sarkar, reporting from Kathmandu, Nepal, for the India News Agency (IANS) wrote, “A bounty of 50 million Chinese yuan (over $6.5 million) and promises of more have procured for China fresh diplomatic support from Nepal, with the communist-majority Nepal government stating that it was opposed to Taiwan’s bid to join the UN.”

Excuse me? China is now BUYING votes in the U.N. from client governments and allies?

So we are back where we started.

Please excuse me if I am distrustful of just about everything said and done by China’s government.

Related:

U.N. Vote for Sale: China Buys an Ally

China Plans Happy Olympics But A Few “Small” Problems Remain

China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

NY Times: China Moves to Refurbish a Damaged Global Image

Human Rights: Looking for Nepal’s ‘Disappeared’

July 21, 2007

By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Kathmandu

Ram Prasad Acharya disappeared four years ago.

The last time his wife, Ruku, saw him he was being dragged out of their house by soldiers, wrapped in a blanket.

It was 3:45 in the morning and he was not given time to dress.

He is one of 937 Nepalese civilians who the International Committee of the Red Cross has listed as missing; their whereabouts still unknown, a year after the decade-long conflict ended.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6295374.stm

What’s In A Name

July 13, 2007

By John E. Carey
Updated January 1, 2008

A friend who works near where I work is from India.  His name “Naresh” means King.  He must have very hopeful parents! Koumba is a woman from Africa.  Her name means “First Girl.”

Num Pung means “Honey Bee” in Thailand.  Her mother ate honey comb while pregnant.

Alam is a Bangladeshi name meaning glorious or magnificent. It is usually a boy’s name.

Names fascinate me.  Those from the sphere of the Western European influence frequently choose Bible names or Old English names for their offspring. 

Native American youths earned their names for centuries; or were given meaningful names from tribal lore or from nature’s beauty. 

Many Asians have lyrical, almost poetic names; my wife among them.  She is called Honglien or “Pink Lotus.” By coincidence, my friend from Nepal, Kamala, has the same name: Kamala translates to “Pink Lotus.” 

A comman man’s name in Nepal is “Ram.”  Ram means, “Guard of Hindu.”  WOW!  What a great name!

Other men’s names from Nepal include Mukti (”Freedom”) and Diwakar (”Sun”).

In Vietnam one of my favorite man’s name is “Nghi” (pronounced like “knee”).  It means standing straight and tall, standing at attention or really moral and honest.

Africans often bestow meaningful names upon their children.

One customer of mine is an African named Shaka.  He told me he is named for the greatest warrior of all time: Shaka who united the  Zulu nation in Africa. He said Shaka is viewed and respected for his military adeptness like Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great. 

Islamic people have some wonderful names. Monzer (as with all of our names there are various spellings) means “One Who Warns” or “The Warner.”  It is good to name a little girl baby Rahil, which means “innocent.”

The first thing we have to clarify is this: in our modern world, we tend to lump people and even races into groups like “Native American.” When Columbus arrived in North America there were as many as 500 Tribes; many with languages as different as Chinese is from English. The tribes also had many cultural and religious variations. So as we open this discussion, I penalize myself from the start because I am prone to fall into the trap of lumping people together in huge and unnatural generalities like “all Asians” even though I know that is not correct. I know the Vietnamese are vastly different from the Philipino, for example, even though both are Asians. Even among the Vietnamese there are several “tribes” and cultures.

I have an acquaintence from Thailand named Wantanee.  It means “The Greeter.”   Put your hands together as if in Christian prayer and bow: that’s “The Greeter.”

I have been blessed to know many different people from different parts of the world. Some of my Native American friends, that come from different tribes, have names like “Wild Horse,” “Truth to Tell,” “Comes Killing,” “Soars with Eagles,” and my favorite of all: “Shot-to-Pieces.”

I have been told that many Native American earn their names through some act of bravery or some other memorable event. A young boy that kills a bear might be called “Bear Slayer” for example.

Many who trace their lineage back to Christian European nations might have Bible names. I am named for John the Apostle and we celebrate his Feast Day in the Catholic Calendar on this day. My brothers have old English names: William and Thomas. My sisters also have traditional English names: Pamela and Elizabeth. My cousin is Edward as in Edward the Confessor, I think.

Charles means “manly” or “strong.”  I’ll bet you didn’t know that!

I’ve met many people that think Cynthia is an old English name.  Actually, it comes from Greece.  The meaning of the girl’s name Cynthia is “from Mount Kynthos.” It was one of the names of Artemis, the goddess of the moon, and it refers to her birthplace on Mt. Kynthos.

The name Michael comes from the Hebrew name which means “He Who Is Like God.” Pretty good name. In the Catholic Church, Michael is the number one angel or Archangel. His feast day is September 29, a day he shares with the other top angels: Raphael and Gabriel. Across America many parishes are named for Saint Michael or Raphael or Gabriel.

Michael is a common name in Spanish speaking countries (Miguel), Arabic and even Russian. My name John becomes Juan in Spanish and is also translated into other languages.

Colin means “Victory of the people.”  The name is derived from Greek but became a common name in what is now Britain.  Traditionally the “O” was soft but American’s have taken to say a hard “O” as in Colin Powell.

The Japanese have a lot of terrific names.  Aika means Love Song.  Keiko means Blessed Child.

I am married into a Vietnamese family and each of the Catholic Vietnamese have a Vietnamese name and a Christian name from the Bible. I know a woman named “White Swan” in Vietnamese. Many of the names are terrific!

My wife Lien is also called Mary Magdalene. Mary “M” was a friend of Jesus that may have had a jaded past. I tell people Mary Magdalene “started wrong but finished strong.” Both our parish priests are called John the Baptist. My mother in law is Mary and a Vietnamese friend is Joseph.

But there are some unusual Vietnamese names and this custom spills over into other Asian cultures. The last child of the family might be called “Last One.” I know of a family that has, translated from the native language, a “Last One” and a “Late Mistake.” A particularly tiny Baby might be named “Little Peanut” or something like that.

The Vietnamese name “Hien” means “Gentle.”

I had a Thai friend that swore her father named her “Cucumber” because she was so small and cute.  The Thai name “Wantanee” means “One Who Greets” or “Greeter.”

Another Thai I knew a long time ago was named “Far,” which means sky or more correctly, “clear blue sky.”

Many African and African American names have meaning. A girl named Wangari should know that she has a name from Kenya that means “Leopard.” Mwamba is a Tanzanian name that means “Strong.”

I met a man named Mr. Erhunmwunse on April 2, 2007.  His name means “My Prayers Have Come True” in his native Nigeria!

Ethiopian names are among my favorites: Kalikidan means “promise,” Adonich means “healing,”  Assefa is an Ethiopian name that means “expansive” or “to widen,  “Zelalem” means”Forever” and Lulseged means “King.”

A woman in Ethiopia might be named “Alem.” It means “World.”

The Bangladeshi name “Rowshanara” means “bright” and is my second favorite name from that part of the world after “Amina.”  Amina means “Trusted One.”

Rowshanara is actually the Persian or Farsi word meaning bright — even though the Rowshanara I know is from Bangladesh.

Amin being the root word for “trust.”  Amina is also a common name in Nepal.

Another great Bangladeshi name for a woman is Farida.  Farida means “Unique.”  Another man’s name is “Sariful” which means “Modest.”

Let’s get back to Rowshanara.  My favorite Rowshanara works in a 7-11 near my house.  She is short and thin and “bright” and very beautiful.

This past Sunday I stopped for milk at the 7-11 and found Rowshanara trapped in the refrigerated food case.  Instead of refilling the case from behind, she opened the front door for a front fill.  She is so small that she needed to stand on the bottom shelf.  She is so thin that the glass door closed!

I knocked on the glass door and said, “So this is what a refrigerated Bangladeshi Rowshanara looks like!”

I freed her and she couldn’t stop laughing!

“Jali” is a Bangladeshi name that means “happy thing.” Not a bad name!

Many Indian words have made it to the regular English vocabulary. Most of them were added during the British imperialistic rule over India from spanning from 16th to 20th century. More than five hundred words of Indian origin were absorbed into English during that period and it has grown ever since.

Currently the Oxford English Dictionary lists over 700 words of Indian origin.

Rowshanara’s boss at the 7-11 has an Indian name that translates into “Happiness.”

Names come and go and what is popular today will undoubtedly be passe a few years from now. Sarah Womack wrote in the (London) Telegraph on December 21, 2006, that “Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies’ names in England and Wales than George, reflecting the diverse ethnic mix of the population. “

She continues, “Spelled Muhammad, it is the 44th most popular name and enters the top 50 for the first time along with Noah, Oscar, Lucas and Rhys. “

Rhys? I must be getting old.

My purpose here is only to interest the uninitiated in the vast world of names with meaning. Do a word search for your name or the names of your friends and you might be surprised.

Part of the richness of any culture is its language and one facet of the many sided jewel that is language is the vast array of names parents bestow upon their children.
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The article above has been updated many, many times.  Although we continue to learn the meaning of new names, we have finally “locked” “What’s in a Name.”

From India:
“Igin” means “Sunshine.”
“Dipti” is a woman’s name meaning “source of light.”

From Arabic (He grew up in Kuwait)
“Mahmood” means “gifted.”

From Ethiopia:
Yework Wuha means “Gold Water” or “Liquid Gold.”
Sehay means “Sunshine.”
Tewodros means “Gift of God.”
Genet means “Heaven.”
Almaz means “Diamond.”
Negussie means “King.”

From Nepal:
Jay means “Victory.”
Surya means “Sun.”

Afghanistan:
“Azim” means “The Greatest.”
“Habib” means “Beloved.”
“Wahid” means “Unique.”

From Korea:
my neighbor’s name is “Oh So Young.”

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