Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Online Impressions and Off

Recently I met up with this group of people from my online forum group, and I must say, I was pretty surprised by my first impression of them online. If the barflies are thinking that this post is about them, I'm sorry, I've been really busy and haven't been meeting up with any of you guys in real life. This forum I'm talking about is called an IVLE forum.

What is an IVLE forum?
It's a forum, basically, but unlike other forums, it is compulsory that I post regularly in that. Okay, it isn't really compulsory, but I do get graded for my comments I posted there, so I can't post rubbish in it. It gets really stressful posting comments cos I know I'm being judged by what I've written. Well, for two modules I do not have tutorials, so this is where the forum comes in, it serves like a tutorial discussion only that you can do it at your own free time.

The thing about this IVLE forum is that unlike the bar where we can hide behind out chosen nicks, our full name as printed in our IC is emblazoned right behing the topic title of our postings.

But one thing about our names is that it shows the full name, like mine, it goes Ang Liping Joan. Usually it takes no sense for someone to recognise that the name you should call me is Joan, but once in a while there would be some weirdos or cheena-pigs calling me Liping. Not that Liping is not my name, not that I don't like that name, but I don't think that you are given the mandate to call me that cos Chinese names are pretty personal names.

A little note about my Chinese name. I don't like to go around telling people my Chinese name. Not because I'm shy, but because I so like that name. It says a lot about my personality. Of course I'd feel naked if I tell someone I'm not close with my Chinese name and have him determine my character out from the name. Likewise, I feel a certain sense of closeness to people whom I know their Chinese names, of course this does not apply to people who doesn't have English names.

Nowadays, people very often go by English names they thought of for easy reference. It's easier for people to remember them and easier for foreigners to call them. This English name usually isn't included in the person's identification card, so if I were to run a yellow pages search or a national search, I won't be able to locate him. Then again, why would I want to do that? hehe~ I don't know, just a thought...

Unlike other people, my English name is part of my given name. A name printed on my birth certificate. Some people might later add their own English name onto their IC, but the thing still remains that that name is not in their birth certificate.

Okay, I need to get back on track... Now where was I? Names... Sometimes, once in a while a person with no English name would request to be called by a name not printed on the official document. I am not really in favour of this. Yes, you don't have an English name printed on the postings, so why do you want yourself to be called that? Who really bothers to remember to match your Chinese name to your English one? If I've that much brain cells in me, I'd rather use them to think of better postings to get a better grade lor.

Then there's a problem again with the angmos. Angmos usually have long long weird weird English names that you don't know which is their first name, second or family name. I'm going to use a real life example, erm... If the victim of this case study is unhappy about me using his name, let me know, I'll remove you here.

Twohill Edmund Joseph
What would you call a guy with a name like this printed after his posting?

Maybe because almost everyone from TJ knows him, so it's obvious that I'd call him Edmund, but well, in NUS he's still a little little student no matter how big his credentials were when he was back in JC. Somebody called him Joseph.

And the person who called Edmund Joseph is an angmo.

Well, maybe that angmo who called Edmund Joseph is jusy not used to local angmo names mixed in the same register as the local names. Take Ang Liping Joan for example, you'd call her Joan, cos that's her first name. In local context, first names are always at the place place and the family name at the first. Take Pang Yan Wei for example, you'd call him Yan Wei, right? Easy? Not really... Yea... Maybe that's the mix up for Edmund cos his first name ends up being in the middle after transporting the family name to the front. So, if Ang Liping Joan is Joan Ang Liping, Twohill Edmund Joseph is in fact Edmund Joseph Twohill if you write the name as it is. Kind of complicated.

Okay, not kind of, but VERY complicated. And I get shit when I try to fill in official documents for my SEP application. Usually the application asks for Vorname and Familiename, which is Joan and Ang respectively, but then again, where does my Liping go? Liping is not a middle name, so I'm not Joan L. Ang, I think I'm more of a Joan Ang L. or whatever.

Oh well, I'm supposed to be talking about impressions and not about names, so I'll proceed.

Next point, gender. How do you know a person's gender from a name
It's easy if you get names like Joan or Edmund. I'd puke if I ever meed a guy called Joan. Wait, there are guys called Joan. Damnit... Damn those Spaniard weirdos... But other than the Spaniards, there aren't any other guy called Joan already, so I'd still puke. Yea... And I'd puke more if I ever meet a girl called Edmund. But if you get a name like Pang Yan Wei? Is that person a tah poh or zar boh?

My first impression was that that person was a guy. I don't know why, but it seemed to be that he felt like a guy. Okay, I thought he was a guy only because my module is a male-majority class. Yes, it's not often that you get a module in arts that has a higher majority of males than females, but if you do things like Total War, or my last semester's Singapore's Military History, you get the influx of male population. But after a posting by our dear professor, I was mislead into thinking that this Yan Wei person is female.

This male female gender issue is also very apparent in the bar. Most nicks are sort of gender inclined but there are some exceptions sometimes.

As with all mysteries, the first meeting with some of my forum group mates proved to be a surprise party. Out of a group of 12, it was quite sad that only 5 turned up. There was me, Edmund, Yan Wei, Hans and Wee Kian. I knew Edmund and Hans, so I turned to Wee Kian and asked his name. He introduced himself as "Weijian". I went like, "What's the name you use on the forum?". He went like, "Oh, it's Wee Kian.".

Most people are known by their pinyin name rather than their dialect name, especially if their dialect name is something utterly inpronounciable. I don't suppose I'll ever call Wee Kian Weijian in the forum cos it sounds very informal, but in real life, I don't think I'd call him Wee Kian, it's just not tongue friendly.

Pang Yan Wei.

Wanna guess this person's gender?

He's a he. hehe~ What I said to him when he introduced himself as "Yanwei" was "Oh, so you are a guy...". Not very flattering remark, but well, I talk faster than my brain works.

Since I'm, at the topic of my forum group mates, I shall talk a little bit about Hans. hmm... Wonder if any of my group mates will read this anot... If not happy, erm... tell me kindly, me will do something about it, no problem one. I'm a nice girl! It's quite coincidental that I ended up in the same group as Hans cos I was still doing project with him last semester. Another module taught by the same lecturer. By the way, Hans' name as appearing in the forum is Lee Jie, Hans. Actually, I've no idea why I'm stating Hans' full name... hahaha~ Just thought that since everybody's full name is stated as by me, so Hans' name just dropped out like that. Nice name ah... But if it was only Lee Jie, then I guess it'd end up as another ambiguous gendered name.

I'm really looking forward to meeting the other people in the group, especially the girls since I haven't met any yet. Hope this project will be fun. I like war!!! Just that the topic majority chose was not my first choice. I wanted to do something like appeasement. Later I found out that Hans and Edmund wanted to do that too, but well, majority, albeit a slight one, wanted to do British-Japan War. Which is according to Hans, "Singapore's Military History all over again". Fun? Well, I guess safe would be a better word. If given a choice I'd rather be examining and researching for something more dynamic and not that popular.

There's nothing much in my the other IVLE forum even though it's also a graded forum, but I know like three people in there very well already so it isn't really that much fun in trying to wonder how the people look like. And there aren't any group projects, are there? Can't remember... hahaha~

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