Singaporeans stand out with unique names
Last year was a whirlwind one for unique celebrity baby names - think Genghis, Brooklyn and Saint. HARIZ BAHARUDIN (firstname.lastname@example.org) tracks down some Singaporeans whose names will make you look twice
"Eh, stop stoning!"
"Wah, you rock!"
Mr Loong has heard these expressions more often than most other people.
It's hard to avoid teasing him as his first name is Boulder.
"People don't believe my name is Boulder. Sometimes I even have to show them my IC to prove it," said the 25-year-old management associate.
He confessed he didn't have an easy time with the name when he was younger.
Said Mr Loong: "When I was growing up, people picked on my name, so much so that I'd even be ashamed of introducing myself."
But that was in the past.
He now relishes the uniqueness of his name.
"I think it's good now. My name helps to leave an impression and people tend to remember me more, which is great in my line of work," said Mr Loong.
He is not the only one in his family with a unique name.
His elder sister, 28, is Pebble. And their youngest sister, 21, is Coral.
The man behind their names is none other than their father, Mr Rocky Loong.
Mr Loong, 53, said: "My children's names are related to rocks and stones because I was a landscape specialist and I thought it would be cool to name them after my work."The younger Mr Loong said with a laugh: "People seldom forget our names but we're usually asked to repeat the spelling. They always want to check if they have heard correctly."
He added that it has become second nature for them to explain the origin of their names.
And there were occasions when his name turned out to be quite apt.
During his university days for instance, Mr Loong was active in a cheerleading team called Ulu Pandan Wildcards.
"Of course I only had one position in cheer," he said, with a mock sigh.
"The base of the foundation."
The November belle
TOTAL RECALL:Miss Novabelle Ng, 25, says her unique name helps people remember her when she sings at private events and bars. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOVABELLE NG
Sometimes, timing can play a part in how one is named.
As it is in the case of Novabelle Ng. The month the auditor was born in inspired her father.
With practised fluency, Miss Ng, 25, said: "My dad wanted me to be called something-belle.
"But Annabelle sounded too common to him, so he named me Novabelle, since I was born in November."
The name, she said, has served her well.
When she has time, Miss Ng sings at private events and bars.
"I think I am quite lucky because people will remember my name and hence, my singing," she said, with a laugh.
Another person whose name was determined by birth timing is Mr Valentino Lim, who was born on Feb 14, Valentine's Day.
The undergraduate, 24, who was given the name by his father, said: "When I was younger, people used to laugh at my name, but I think it's pretty great now. It's a hit when it comes to meeting new people."
Mr Lim, who is studying economics and finance, said he was once mistaken for the Italian motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi.
His father, Mr Lim Poh Leng, 55, said he gave his son the name because he "wanted him to feel special and one-of-a-kind".
He said: "I believe with his name, people tend to remember him much faster and easier."
But the creativity with names stopped with the younger Mr Lim.
His twin sisters, 21, are named Yong Hui and Yong Xin, which he cheekily said are "normal names".
Don't call him Ferragamo
BOON: Business development executive Armani Shariff said his name is an asset when it comes to sales. PHOTO COURTESY OF ARMANI SHARIFF
The jokes about his name used to get Mr Armani Shariff, 24, down.
He said: "I'm a reserved person with people I don't know. My name would put me on a spotlight and I didn't like that."
When he was younger, people would tease him and ask if he had luxury goods to spare or if his last name was Ferragamo.
But the business development executive has learnt to embrace the attention.
He even uses it to his advantage when it comes to work.
"My name makes it easier for people to remember. It is also good as an ice-breaker during social meets or business meetings," said Mr Armani
"When it comes to pushing sales, that can be an asset."