When my sister was born, everyone insisted my parents on calling her “Ý Thơ” because that was the only name that rhythms with mine, “Ý Thi”. It’s the tradition: siblings should be alike. Of course, she ended up with a name after a famous Vietnamese model of 2009, and that’s how much my parents cared about our titles (mine was Excel-generated).
That moment of her birth onwards, we have become anything but alike. Surely we are both aggressive and stubborn kids that argue every time we breathe the same air. Yet, we belong to two entirely different world and are good at different things. She’s into competitive basketball and spends day and night training. I’m into reading and doing things that don’t make me go against other people. And to be honest, I think she changes the atmosphere at home for the better, while at times I was too boring to entertain my family.
A name is the first thing through which parents show their expectations of their kids. And names of second or later children sometimes remind them that there are those who come before. These are the siblings they look up to or hate. Learn from or do anything to be different from. Names, besides a personal label to distinguish one from everyone else, bear the hope one has to learn to accept, and maybe to fulfill that hope, or maybe to break it. My sister is doing the later, and because of that I am proud of her.
Inspired by a post about “Thị”, a common middle name in Vietnam, but this post has nothing to do with it because it’s neither my nor my sister’s middle name.