In 1987, Mai Van Cán and his wife, Do Thi Vân — a couple from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam — welcomed their fifth child. The problem? Several years earlier, Vietnam had put a two-child policy in place. So, soon after the newborn arrived, the family was fined 6,500 dong (Vietnamese currency) by the […]

Vietnamese money

In 1987, Mai Van Cán and his wife, Do Thi Vân — a couple from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam — welcomed their fifth child.

The problem?

Several years earlier, Vietnam had put a two-child policy in place.

So, soon after the newborn arrived, the family was fined 6,500 dong (Vietnamese currency) by the government.

Mai was upset about this — his wife’s pregnancy had been unplanned, and he had to borrow money to pay the fine. In a fit of resentment, he named the baby boy Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi, which loosely translates to “fined six thousand five hundred” (or, more precisely, “fine of six thousand and a half”).

Here are the definitions of each component of the given name:

In the late 1990s, local government officials tried to persuade Mai to change his son’s name, because the boy was being “constantly teased” by classmates.

He refused.

A few years later, they tried again.

This time, he relented.

So, in September of 2005, Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi — now in his late teens — was renamed Mai Hoàng Long, meaning “golden dragon.”

(I had to remove most of the Vietnamese diacritics from this post because they don’t render properly on my site, unfortunately.)

Sources:

Image by Niels Steeman from Unsplash

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