“Why is your name spelt L-E-I-G-H and not L-E-E?” snapped the schoolteacher, whose name I do not recall. I was six and it was my first day in school.

“I don’t know, teacher,” I whispered.

“What? Speak up!” bellowed the schoolteacher, whose name I still don’t remember.

“Hello, Leigh!” bellowed a vaguely familiar voice.

He remembered my name – even fifty years later – when we met in 2011 during a school reunion!

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*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ***



    1. This was in the early sixties when Singapore was ‘fighting’ for independence from the British. Chinese Communist agitation was at its peak and many teachers frowned on anything ‘western’ – Leigh was as western as it came…

  1. Being a mathematician of sorts, I had to go to the beginning of the series to start. I am hooked already and plan to follow them through in order.
    My name is Carroll, which in America is very rare for a man to have and sounds like the woman’s name Carol. I was even refused admission to one college on the grounds that it did not admit women. Later I was invited to join the Society for Women in Engineering. Carroll was a family name, and while that might explain it to most, I usually don’t tell them that it was my grandmother’s name.
    We are on nearly exact opposite sides of the world, you and I, but what I love about the internet is that there are no distances except the ones we make. Thank you for your response to my wife’s poem;I am glad to have had the opportunity to pursue you back to your home.

    1. Thank you and I hope Mechanic Leigh keeps you ‘hooked’ with his exploits 🙂

      Yes, I can see how your name can become tiresome. Obviously, you have some attachment to it as I know some here who would have changed their name.

      Yes, the internet is a great bridge builder, I reckon.

      I enjoyed Kathryn’s poem and plan to return 🙂

      All good wishes, Eric

      (P/s I posted a comment in your poem – One TV evangelist)

  2. Yup, I remembered Purushotaman too. Those were the days when the outcome of our names were at the mercy of the person at Registrar of Birth. 🙂 By the way, I enjoyed reading your micro-fiction and already a fan. Look forward to see you on the 3rd.

  3. Author makes us go down the memory lane – very refreshing and something to laugh or talk about when we look back.

    1. Hopefully, Mechanic Leigh will help us see our childhood through his eyes. If you have similar stories – email me. Don’t worry about style/grammar/etc. I shall review/edit and post. Need a girl’s point of view to match Leigh’s boy.

  4. I had an Australian teacher, all the dime-a-dozen surname Tan become “tanned” overnight. There’s a boy in our class and he is the only one with a surname that the teacher cannot pronounce. Thank goodness we didn’t have media exposure those days because the boy became ” N G ” for the rest of the term, instead of Ng.

  5. Hah, hah, hah. I like this one – I know a classmate whose name was Shaktish but the nurse at KK spelt it as Shades. He pronounced it as “Shak_tish” but all of us called him “Shady”.

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