Nicknames for the kids

I’ve got a kid complaining to me that the other kids are calling him “buddha”. He shaved his hair off the other week, and from day one, the kids wanted to know how to say ‘buddha’. So I told them.

I reckon nicknames are pretty cool, and I give most a my kids one if an appropriate time and joke pops up. Bit of fun, and the kids like it. I remember when I was a kid, we all had nicknames, man we still do now. All my mates have them, Peka, Dax, Wrecker (footy changerooms gag), Eyeball (the Optometry student), Moose, Fat Arse,… the list could go on. Amos too. It’s very much part of Aussie culture and I’m sure other cultures too. A form of acceptance into a group. That’s my opinion anyway.

I’ve explained to Robin that nicknames are part of life and not necessary a bad thing. And I personally think it’s a pretty good nickname. We’ve got a famous former footballer called Buddha in Melbourne. But if he doesn’t like it, well looks like I’ll have to get the kids to drop it.

What’s the go here, do the Chinese have nicknames? And if he really dislikes it, do you agree that I tell the others to stop? I reckon that’ll be hard. It’s already a pretty solid and humourous gag to the other kids. Ahh

One of the Chinese teachers in my buxiban class (mostly Grade 1 and 2) told me one of the kids didn’t want to come to class anymore because the kids were callign him ‘cockroach’ (there was a cockroach under his chair in class one day).

So it can affect some kids. I think nicknames need to be used a lot to stick, becuase after stamping down on this for a week or so they’d all forgotten.

The kids all call me Amitofo for a day or two when I get my head shaved.


Nicknames are a big part of Taiwanese culture. They usually take even seemingly derogatory nicknames in stride and think about nicknames much the same way in which you describe the Aussie nickname culture.

They might not have been calling you Amituofo. “Amituofo” is frequently used as a greeting in Buddhist circles. It maybe that they thought you looked like a monk and greeted you accordingly.

You may have already known that from your girlfriend or bad gongfu movies,but I thought I’d toss out the possibility.

Next time they say Amituofo (the next time you shave your head) clasp your hands together in prayer and bow saying Amituofo, I am sure they will roll on the floor.

I thought of something, maybe they are saying Army TouFa? The haircut you get when you go into the Army? Did you teach them the word Army yet?

The kids frequently bait Buddda by saying “teacher, teacher, I know where Buddha went on the weekend, he went to the temple!!”. And then they ‘DO THE BUDDHA’. “My name is Buddha and I live in Yungho, I want my english to improve so much, please help me”. Next they pick up two objects, usually just a couple of erasers, and try to throw an odd and even. It’s actually quite funny, but little buddha, he doesn’t see too much humour in it at all.

Thanks Hobart. I got a good laugh off of army toufa.

The topic of childhood and school-age nicknames came up often when I was a teacher. I was amazed at how many of the nicknames that my adult students fessed-up to, seemed to be making fun physical imperfections. There were lot’s of names making fun of obesity - “little pig”, “piggy”, “little-fatso”, and names mocking peoples apperance, “monkey face”, “horse face”, “fish eyes”, etc. While these kinds of fairly cruel nicknames aren’t exclusive to Taiwanese culture, the thing that struck me was how people labeled with the mocking names are just expected to grin and bear it.

I was 25lbs. overweight my last couple of years in Taipei. I wasn’t given a piggy nickname, but I was frequently reminded how fat I was by just about every Taiwanese person I knew. Students would put their hands on my gut and ask me when the baby was due! [I’m a guy] If they weren’t patting my beer-belly, they were pulling on the hair on my arms, making this kind of comment, “like a monkey… hao ke-pa”.

If you are thin skinned about your physical apperance, you’ll be wincing if you you live in Taiwan, were people can be brutally frank in their comments, and blatantly mocking in their ostensibly good natured nicknames.

Just a culture thang, I guess.

While “Buddha” is not one of the most cruelest nicknames in history, we should do something to save poor Robin since he’s already filed his complaint.

How about this: Ask Robin privately what kind of nicknames he prefers, and Amos creates a good opportunity in class, to give Robin his “new nickname” in front of all other kids. If this is well manipulated, hopefully other kids will start to call Robin the new nickname he himself likes/chooses, and forget all about “Buddha” in no time!!

Originally posted by amos: I've got a kid complaining to me that the other kids are calling him "buddha". He shaved his hair off the other week, and from day one, the kids wanted to know how to say 'buddha'. So I told them.

I would think one would be honored by such a nickname…

Why don’t you give all the other kids nicknames too. Like “so we’ve already decided that Robin is ‘Buddha’, now Daniel, you’re going to be ‘fatty’, Annie, you’re ‘pig-head’, Kitty, you’re ‘stupid’, and Joe, you’re Bin Laden”.

See if they like the nicknames idea after that.


Origionally posted by Bu Lai En

quote[quote]Why don’t you give all the other kids nicknames too. [/quote]
Tried mate, but they don’t stick half as good as Buddha. I’ve got Jacky, well he’s ‘Jackhammer’, Nick, well he’s a little annoying, so he was origionally ‘fruitfly’, but I reckon ‘ABCguy’ is probably more appropriate.

Anyway will get onto you idea this arvo. Thanks Amos.