by Alan Pinkett
As Lord Over
continued his speech, the audiences initial
polite attention died. Ashes to ashes, dust to
dust, attention buried.
Then, just as the
vacuum was about to be filled by those still
awake chatting to each other, he stopped. Keep it
short, his wife said, and he did.
Had to, shed
steward clapped manically to wake up the rest
before full narcolepsy set in.
As the buzz of
conversation gradually arose, Weeble got talking
to the man on his left at the dining table.
It turned out that
he was an academic - Dr. Toll U So, Professor of
Hindsight in a Deja Vu Department.
Part of a joint
faculty with the School of Hard Knocks at the
University of Life.
quite sure whether Toll U So was a Chinese name.
It sounded vaguely Vietnamese and he wasnt
sure which way round they had their names.
He had been caught
out with oriental names many years before when
Chinese immigration into Britain was leading to
their restaurants being set up all over the
country. He had been interviewing a doctor to
take charge of his pioneering Chinese Burn Centre
just off Harley Street.
Acton, to be precise.
Five miles just
off Harley Street.
Dr. Au So had been
the mans name.
Weeble had noticed
an advert in the local paper the previous day in
which a couple announced the birth of a son with
the provisional name of Little So-and-So. He had
joked with Dr. Au So that it took two Sos
to make a So-and-So.
But he had been
met with a blank look. He hadnt known that
Chinese names were the other way round, with the
family name first. That he was talking to Dr. Au.
Weeble had met
this again a few years later when working in Hong
Kong while it was still a British colony. He had
been fascinated at how the Chinese appeared to
mesh with the British. Many of them had adopted
British first names and put them in front of
their family names.
To give names like
John Ting Tiddle-I-Po.
Willy Ping So.
Charmaine Mao Tse-Tung.
And some of the
combined names had become famous over the years.
Names like Suzie Wong.
Christopher Lee, Gypsy Rose Lee.
Jackie Chan and
Where the hells that in the Hong Kong
gradually discovered just how boring talking to a
Professor of Hindsight could be, his attention
started to drift
Au Yau, Chau?
Lo. So Lo.
Wi Lo?... Yan?
Yu Woo Yan?
Yip. Koo Koo, Woo
An No Luk. Yan
Shun Shun: "Lee
Lam Pau! Au!
So Yu Lo, Mao Hung
Lo, Me So Lo.
Me Chiu Yu. Me
Chiu Yu. Soon Ho Ho.
Ho, Ho. Ho, Ho.
Yo, Ho, Ho.
Yim Yim. Ho Ho.
Yan No Ni.
Yan No Ni.
Yan No Fung.
Yan No Fung.
Fu To Yan.
Fu To Yan!
An Li Gu SoLo.
Li Gu SoLo. Li So
Yim Yim Li?
Yim Yim Li. Yim
Ho Ho. Ho Ho. Ying
Tong Tiddle I Po!
Chinny Ching Ching.