GAMES WITH CHINESE NAMES | A POEM
Amb Kanwal Sibal

To understand China’s conduct
You have to from their names deduct
The kind of persons they could be,
It’s like solving a mystery.

In social context these days one sees
You use first names with so much ease,
You could call Dev Dev and Bret Bret
Even if you have not often met.

If you say John you don’t feel strange,
Ashok feels within human range.
A man it could be, woman as well,
With Chinese name you cannot tell.

No names from another nation
Create such sense of alienation,
Of course, those who the language know
Or have lived there may not think so.

Informal camaraderie
Is not for Chinese names I see,
How can you call anyone Song
And think you’re not playing along.

Or were you to holler to Wu
Or to someone who is called Yu,
You would be causing confusion
About object of your allusion.

You could with ease call someone Li
Because of movies we see,
Calling Wen would be a question,
Ye will mean yes by intention.

Yao though will mean distorted yes,
Zhu could mean local zoo’s address,
Zhang could mean one with rusted look,
Kang comb to make your hair look good.

Chinese full names for that matter
Are not in any way better,
As they have no familiar ring
They do not any comfort bring.

How can you not think of Wang Yang
As head of a Chinatown gang,
If Zhao Leji is name you own
Your indolence is quite well known.

Wang Huning will sing no matter,
Song Ping will help you sleep better,
Han Zheng sounds like a palliative,
Yu Zhengsheng sound imperative.

Li Zhanshu seems a villain’s name,
Hu Qili one who hides from shame,
Qiao Shi is forever curious,
Chen Boda could be injurious.

Li Lanqing is one quite lanky,
Wang Qishan seems rather swanky,
Wu Bangguo could be a drummer,
Yao Yilin cool beer for summer.

Lui Yunshan seems a show-off big
Zhang Gaoli, tarnished vulgar prig,
Li Changchun is one selected,
Li Fuchun too is not elected.

Wang Hongwen one you don’t know when
With Wu Guanzheng, Kang Sheng and Chen
Yun will in Politburo play
Power games with Luo Gan and Zhu De.

We don’t know Lui Huaqing’s fate,
Ye Jianying was not in good state,
Seems Li Ruihuan lost everything,
Wen Jiabao’s always welcoming.

Such leaders with abstruse names make
Decision-making in China opaque,
Whatever old Shakespeare might claim
A lot lies in a person’s name!


Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/c824ba607d1e04dbb9347b3c50d493a6.png

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