Dad in India names baby after Lee Kuan Yew
B. Jeyaprakash, a dad of two in India, decides to name his baby boy after the late founding father of Singapore. Read on for the full story.
B. Jeyaprakash, a bus driver working for a government transport company in India’s Tamil Nadu state, has never been to Singapore nor heard of Lee Kuan Yew. However, all these changed last month when this 37-year-old dad heard the news of the passing of Singapore’s founding father.
According to The Straits Times, Jeyaprakash was so moved by the outpouring of grief over the Singapore leader’s passing that he named his newborn son Jeyaprakash Lee Kuan Yew.
A town that mourns for Mr. Lee
Soon after the death of Mr. Lee, placards with his photos were put up across the town of Mannargudi, where Jeyaprakash resides. On the day of Mr. Lee’s funeral in Singapore, more than 300 people from Mannargudi and nearby villages marched silently across a distance of four kilometers behind a wreath. The procession stopped in the centre of the town, where people bowed and prayed before a photo of Mr. Lee.
Jeyaprakash was so deeply moved by the tribute that he decided there and then to name his newborn son after Mr. Lee. “I wasn’t planning to give him that name. I had gone to the bazaar to buy milk and saw this procession and memorial for Mr Lee. So I stopped and heard people talking about all the great things he had done for Singapore. There was so much respect for him,” said Jeyaprakash.
“That was the first time I heard Lee Kuan Yew’s name. I didn’t even ask my wife. I just decided on the spot that my son should have an auspicious name. So I put Sir’s name in the hope that my son will do very well in life.”
Watch the villagers in Tamil Nadu pay their respects to Mr. Lee in the video below:
Naming children after great leaders
Coincidentally, Jeyaprakash’s son was born at 1pm on 23 March 2015 – the same day that Mr. Lee passed away.
In Tamil Nadu, there are some parents who name their children after well-known international and historical figures, such as Josef Stalin, Karl Marx, Nikita Khrushchev and Winston Churchill. In fact, M. Karunanidhi, leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party and former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, named his son M. K. Stalin.
Jeyaprakash’s 27-year-old wife, Bhagiyalakshmi, shares the same sentiments about the name of her baby boy. “It is the name of a great man and leader,” she said, smiling broadly. “Lee Kuan Yew!”
As the baby, dressed in pink, sleeps peacefully while people talk around him, his mother laments, “He doesn’t cry that much and he is much easier to take care of than my daughter at the same age.”
However, Jeyaprakash’s mother is having a hard time pronouncing her grandson’s name.
“I just cannot pronounce the name. I call my son ‘thambi’, so I will call my grandson ‘thambi’ too,” she said. In some parts of Tamil Nadu, there are parents who call their sons “Thambi”, which literally translates to “little brother” in Tamil.
But Mr Jeyaprakash has a solution for that: “I told her to call him ‘Mr. Lee’ for now, and then we will see.”
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