Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Bear Without a Name

I feel really bad about it, but I have only done two panda watches since Celeste was born. Since the last watch, Mei Xiang has had her cub, and I've still been too busy to sign up for a shift — I'd also feel a bit guilty about taking a panda watch shift now since I've been out of it for so long and it would feel like I'm just doing it to get a peak at the little guy. [For those at home, Animal Planet's webcam seems to be easier to connect to than the zoo's.]

In any case, the tradition is that a cub isn't named until it reaches 100 days, and, under the panda loan agreement, Chinese officials get to vet the name before it is bestowed. Given that, the zoo has set up a web poll where people can vote on the little guy's name.

They only have pinyin versions of the names being polled, so I've tried to suss out the true Chinese versions:
  • 华盛 Huá Shèng (China Washington*, magnificent);
  • 盛华 Shèng Huá (Washington China, magnificent);
  • 太山 Tài Shān (peaceful mountain);
  • 龙山 Lóng Shān (dragon mountain); and
  • 強強 Qiáng Qiáng (strong, powerful).
Of course, the best name, as DCist has noted, would be 黄油条 Huángyóu Tiáo (butterstick), since when a panda is born it is about the size of a stick of butter.

*I do wonder about saying that 华盛 means "China Washington." 华 does mean "China" or "Chinese" in some contexts and 华盛顿 Huá Shèng Dùn is the phonetic rendering of "Washington," so I guess you could see a form of China Washington in 华盛, but it seems like a stretch to me ... and by the same token 盛华 is an even bigger stretch.

No comments: