Parents fined for having baby, name baby after the fine

Vietnamese money

In 1987, Mai Van Cán and his wife, Do Thi Vân — a couple from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam — welcomed their fifth child.

The problem?

Several years earlier, Vietnam had put a two-child policy in place.

So, soon after the newborn arrived, the family was fined 6,500 dong (Vietnamese currency) by the government.

Mai was upset about this — his wife’s pregnancy had been unplanned, and he had to borrow money to pay the fine. In a fit of resentment, he named the baby boy Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi, which loosely translates to “fined six thousand five hundred” (or, more precisely, “fine of six thousand and a half”).

Here are the definitions of each component of the given name:

In the late 1990s, local government officials tried to persuade Mai to change his son’s name, because the boy was being “constantly teased” by classmates.

He refused.

A few years later, they tried again.

This time, he relented.

So, in September of 2005, Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi — now in his late teens — was renamed Mai Hoàng Long, meaning “golden dragon.”

(I had to remove most of the Vietnamese diacritics from this post because they don’t render properly on my site, unfortunately.)


Image by Niels Steeman from Unsplash

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