Friday, September 23, 2011

What's in a name

So many people who come to the restaurant to talk to me want to know more about Ped. Maybe the most interesting story about him is how Anousone Phanthavong came to be known as "Ped."

To begin with, Ped is not the nickname his family gave to him. They called him Pec. Pec is not a Lao word because it comes from the name of an American plane. Just as Anousone was born, a bomb exploded close by. People who saw the plane said the name "The Inspector" was painted on its side. From "The Inspector" came "Pec," Anousone's nickname. Pec as in boom!, a bomb just exploded.

I am not exactly sure how Anousone went from Pec to Ped when he started working at True Thai, but I think it is almost like a bad pun that his nickname went from boom to duck, which is what Ped means in Lao. Duck as in the bird, but in English it also means to take cover, a good thing to do when a bomb goes off.

It's OK when people say Ped's name the way it looks, but Ped is actually pronounced more like "bet," and Pec like "bek."

• • •

Thanks again to everyone who has (or is planning to) donate to the memorial fund for Ped's family. Recent news reminded me that this is not the first memorial fund I have promoted on my blog. More than a year and a half ago I encouraged readers to donate to the Seward Market Memorial Fund.

I was reminded of that terrible crime because the trial of accused murderer Mahdi Ali has just gone to jury.  A verdict will bring closure to the families of Osman Elmi, Mohamed Warfa and Anwar Mohammed, the three men killed at Seward Market and Halal Meats. Another man, Ahmed Ali has already pled guilty to three counts of attempted aggravated robbery.

The verdict is in.