“What’s your name?”
“My name is Mingki.”
“What? Say again?”
“My name is MING-KI.”
This conversation happens every time people hear my name especially back in my country South Korea. Yes, my name is Mingki Choi, and I am originally from South Korea. There are two reasons why people are shocked by my name. First of all, my name came from Minky Momo, a Japanese animation character that was extremely popular, let’s say, a few decades ago (see the following photo). Secondly, and perhaps as a result of that cute cartoon, most people know more dogs than humans called Mingki. So it goes, the name is not associated with humans, but animated princesses and four-legged friends.
(Photo from http://www.zerochan.net/)
The culprit was my six-year older sister. When my mom was pregnant with me, my older sister was way falling so in love with this Minky Momo character and had suggested naming her innocent little sister ‘Mingki’. My mom, who is the strongest woman in the world to me, watched the program and loved it because Minky Momo helps poor people with her magic power, not to mention being pretty and cute with her pink hair. My mom had approved her six year old daughter’s suggestion.
However, my dad and his family members didn’t agree with my mom and my older sister. They said “What the heck are you doing? Mingki? It can’t be a human’s name. It’s only for dogs!”. Actually this is how normal people react. There are tons of dogs named Mingki in South Korea and people usually separate names of pets from human names.
What happened next? I told you that my mom is the strongest woman in the world to me. She pushed all the way and fought for my glorious name! In the end, my dad went to register my name as Mingki Choi!
Ever since becoming Mingki, my life has been full of funny stories about my name. One day I was on my way to school. Suddenly someone was yelling behind me, “MINGKI! MINGKI!”. I got frightened, as it sounded very urgent! When I turned around to see the person, a small, white, furry puppy passed me like a rocket. I couldn’t stop laughing, all by myself in the street! Also I remember a time when my friend was organizing a party with her friends. She told them, “Mingki is coming to the party”. They said “Hmmm, WHAT is Mingki?” They didn’t even think my name could be for humans.
(Photo from http://somnus.tistory.com/682)
I didn’t like my name at all when I was a furious and complicated teenager. This was because sometimes it could be very annoying to explain my name repeatedly to new people. On top of that, it takes time.
There was a moment that taught me to love my name. I was in my early 20’s. I was asking my mom how she really felt about my name and I’ll never forget what she told me. “Well, by the time I was pregnant with you, my financial and physical situation was desperate. I didn’t know how to pay rents and buy food. I was about to give up on being able to keep this family going. But when your innocent older sister was sitting next to me and watching Minky Momo, I couldn’t give up my daughters. I just prayed to god to bring this new baby with magic powers for a better future in our family!”
Now I thank my mom and older sister for naming me Mingki. And I always smile when I think about the fact that my older sister didn’t tell me anything about the story behind my name for all those years.
I am sorry for not having magic powers as she had wished for. But I have had magical, positive experiences in my life. I have lived and worked on three continents, with a career path through journalism, marketing, business and more. I’ve learned from the interesting people I’ve met and colourful places I’ve been, from studying for my Masters in the UK to touring around Mexico, Hawaii and more with my international friends. These days, I’m staying put in my new home, Toronto, where I work in marketing for a South Korean grocer.
I’m sure the travel bug will bite again soon, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you! If you too love food and drinks, travel and adventure, culture, people, comedy, art…(my interests are limitless) we’ll get along great!
Do you have a funny story or unusual story behind your name? We’d love to hear from you. Tell us your name and when it came from in the comments. Lastly enjoy this Minky Momo music video and let’s sing along!