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V is for for Voon

The other day, while I was in an appointment, a doctor whom I had not seen before was checking my record on their computer system. He asked me for my middle initial. For starters he only wanted one initial, which is just horribly wrong. But still, I told him it was V for Voon. He was visibly shocked by this. So I explained that it is Hokkien Chinese, just like my surname, Yap is in Hokkien Chinese. This is because where we are from Hokkien is the predominant dialect and it is the dialect user for official records. I went on to say that in mandarin my surname is pronounced Ye and in Cantonese it is Yip. Having offended me by only allowing one middle name this man then really got into the swing of offensiveness and said “you must all hate each other”. I had no choice but to tell him that this was not true.

Part of the problem has always been that there are too many people in this country who stupidly think that language and dialect are reasons for discord rather than beautiful things to be cherished, nurtured and understood. They are party of the variety that makes the world a wonderful place to be.

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