Eleanor's Chinese Name

Eleanor's Chinese Name, Chin Ai Lian

As long time readers of this blog may remember, I am a third-generation Chinese Canadian, and while I can only count and swear in Cantonese, and know how to hold a pair of chopsticks, I am proud of this part of my heritage. My father, Eric Bow, has a Chinese name given to him by his father, and my grandfather gave me a Chinese name as well: Chin Maang Gwong.

The full story of how I had a Chinese grandfather, how he came to Canada as a child in spite of the $500 head tax he’d have had to pay, and how I’m James Bow instead of James Chin, can be found here. To make a long story short, I feel it’s important to maintain this connection, and soon after Vivian was born, I asked around and found a good Chinese name for her: Chin Wei An.

After Nora was born, I repeated the process. Once again, I contacted Dr. Vincent Shen of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, and he was only too happy to help.

Congratulations for your new child. Eleanor is a beautiful name.

Since you need a Chinese name for her, how about 愛蓮, pronounced as ai lian, which means “Loving Lotus Flower” — with the symbolic hint of purity and beauty. See attached for the Chinese characters. Hope you like it.

I do. Chin Ai Lian sounds good on the tongue, and is a lovely image that fits my youngest daughter. Not that the image has to fit, per se. Vivian hasn’t exactly been living up to her “Rose of Peace” name for the last, oh, year or so. :-)

So, Eleanor Grace Bow, I name you also Chin Ai Lian. Take it with you and treasure it. My parents were kind enough to commission a framed brush calligraphy of the name, which now hangs on Nora’s door, right next to Vivian’s.

Vivian, Erin and Nora

Federal Deficit Disappears Again

I should note that, after worrying about the deficit that had appeared in the first two months of the fiscal year, a good performance in June has put us back in the black.

The surplus three months into the 2008-09 fiscal year was $1.2 billion, less than a quarter of the $5.6 billion posted over the same period a year earlier, the Finance Department said Friday.


So, that’s better news, at least. Still, we are rather precariously positioned, aren’t we? A slight shift in the economy is all that it would take to put us back in the red, and wouldn’t faces be red in the finance minister’s office, then?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: our politicians, Conservative and Liberal, don’t seem to like to remember that we’re still sitting with the incredible weight of over $400 billion of debt tied to our feet from previous deficits stretching back before 1970. Flaherty and Harper have been irresponsible pursuing tax cuts while interest payments still gobble up billions of our tax dollars each year.

Some fiscal conservatives call government surpluses “overtaxation”, but I disagree. It’s paying down the balance we’ve accumulated on our national credit card, and it’s buying us some fiscal room should structural issues again return to afflict our economy. They may well be around the corner.

(Update: 1:23): However, these moves by the government do suggest some tough times ahead:

Two major programs to rebuild Canada’s maritime capabilities were thrown into limbo Friday night after the Conservative government scuttled its multibillion-dollar plans to purchase a resupply ship for the navy and new patrol vessels for the coast guard.

In a news release, the government announced it had rejected the bids it had received for the navy’s $2.9-billion Joint Support Ship project. Both bids were significantly over the established budget for the shipbuilding program, the release stated.

Canwest News Service reported in May that the government had rejected the bids but federal officials claimed the procurement process was continuing.

The late Friday news release also noted that a $750-million project to purchase 12 mid-shore patrol vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard has been cancelled. Bids had been received for that program but they exceeded the anticipated costs, according to Public Works.

You know, cutting funding to the arts is one thing; when Conservatives cut funding to our military, you know they’re strapped for cash.

And, as a further update, Far and Wide questions Flaherty’s fiscal math.

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