Your Attention Please, Here’s My Baby


In life, there are two kinds of people: those who crave attention and those who receive attention. Then again, there are others like me who relish the freedom of drifting peacefully on the silent backwaters of life without any interruptions, minding one’s own business and left to feed our indulgences.

Then, you have a baby and boom! — the limelight doth shine ever so brightly upon the bundle of joy produced from your own loins. This, however, is not a bad thing, particularly when living in Bangladesh. In fact, it can provide the perfect diversion to maintain a low profile while appeasing the teeming masses of curious passers-by wishing to lay their eyes on a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby for the first time in their life. Babies — the perfect fashion accessory to complement any occasion, especially in a culture that unequivocally adores infants.

As a foreigner living in Bangladesh, your personal homeostasis is blasted to smithereens the moment you step off the plane. Sometimes, this state of being can even begin when you board the final leg of your trip to Dhaka. At first, I braced myself for the usual line of interrogation from strangers on the street: “what is your name, what is your country, how do you feel in Bangladesh, can you get me visa?”

Admittedly, this rigamorale became annoying several months into our first jaunt back in 2002, so I was preparing my stoic defenses for these moments well before our return earlier this month. Turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. When you have a baby in tow, you can feel safe betting every dollar and asset you own that he or she will become the center of attention in any situation, capturing the hearts and minds of people all across the country.

Meet my baby daughter Gemma — the Heir Apparent Bideshi Queen of Bangladesh.

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The Name Game: Creativity in Naming Children Gone Awry

Small town white populations are overtaking urban black communities’ long-running dominance in creating ridiculous names–and spellings–for their children

In grade school spelling tests, it used to be that even the most underdeveloped children were sure to get at least one answer right: their name.  Now that the new wave of millennium babies have risen to the ranks of schoolchildren, their mothers and fathers have placed that trusted notion in serious jeopardy.

Photo of a moran

Even this guy thinks some parents are "morans" for giving their children odd names.

Parents, in a blatant self-aggrandizing fury, have radicalized the way Americans name their offspring.  They seem to have deserted tradition altogether, scoffing at tried-and-true names found in centuries of literary richness and even Biblical reference, and are opting to hatch titles for their little ones that are better fit for science fiction or strip club nomenclature.

Growing up, many of us might remember the old joke about how people in China name their babies by throwing a fork down the stairs and using the phonetic clanging sounds to string a name together (e.g., Ching Chang Chong, etc).  Maybe a funny thing to laugh off as you wait in line for school lunch in 4th grade, but I assume that it still rattles the funny bones of the same parents who “creatively” name the unripened fruit of their loins.  Little do they know, the joke’s on them.

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