[Le Temps, Switzerland]



Global Geographic Times, People's Republic of China

U.S. and Beijing Disagree on Obama's Chinese Name


Is there some hidden intention on the part of the U.S. in seeking to have the commonly used Mainland Chinese name for President Obama changed? According to this article by Dr. Jiang Huai for the state-controlled Global Geographic Times, the implications of the Chinese characters involved raise suspicions.


By Scholar Jiang Huai (江淮学者)


Translated by Jimmy Chow


November 13, 2009


People's Republic of China - Global Geographic Times - Original Article (Chinese)

Chinese hair stylist Huang Xin works on his latest creation, a sculpture of U.S. President Barack Obama made from human hair, at his Beijing barbershop, Nov. 14.


REUTERS NEWS VIDEO: Beijing artist debuts 'Burning Man Obama,' Nov. 12, 00:01:47RealVideo

What’s the best name???


On November 12, officials at the U.S. Embassy in China told reporters that the U.S. president’s name had been changed. (The president’s name is written with three Chinese characters, and they wanted to change the first so that, when read out loud, it sounds more like “Oubama” (欧巴马) instead of “Aobama” (奥巴马)). Embassy officials explained that this transliteration was closer to the English. Is this just about an American word, or is there something else going on here?


[Editor's Note: Taiwan uses the Oubama (欧巴马) variant that the U.S. Embassy is promoting.]


In fact, from the Mandarin Chinese point of view, there's precious little difference between the two names. “Aobama” was just a name people gave him on their own that has been followed up to now. In China, one need not accept a name. But if one doesn’t wish to use the name given by the Chinese, he or she should at least explain how it disrespects them or why they don't like it.


So in wanting to make this change, it seems on the surface to reflect that the U.S. doesn't want to listen to China, the U.S. has its own ideas and so on. Of course, this could also mean that U.S. relations with China aren't as good as they appear on the surface. In fact, the best explanation is that there are many cracks in relations that are being covered up. 



Global Times, China: Chinese Netizens Have 'Sharp Words' for President Obama

China Daily, China: Obama Can Teach Shanghai Officials a Thing or Two

China Daily, China: VIDEO - Chinese React to Visit of President Obama

Global Times, China: 'Obscene Postcard' Emerges of Taiwan President and Hillary

The Times, U.K. Obama's Bow to Japan Emperor Shows U.S. 'Confidence'

The Telegraph, U.K.: Obama 'Breaks Conciliatory Tone'; Criticizes China Censorship

The Australian, Australia: Obama's Personal Story No Substitute for Policy in Asia

Globe & Mail, Canada: China 'Plays Down' President Obama's Visit


Bookmark and Share




When people translate Chinese, they often fail to pay close attention to the sound of Chinese characters. The U.S. suspects that the original name “Aobama” contains the Chinese characters for “Australia” and “fawn over.” Now that China and Australia are increasingly close, the U.S. will of course be concerned about this. “Oubama,” on the other hand, includes the Chinese characters for “Europe” and “fawn over,” within which may be hidden America's great ambition to have Europeans once again pledge their allegiance to it.


Of course we could be over-thinking, but such thinking about relationships does occur.




































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US November 19, 12:37pm]


Bookmark and Share