I’m sure many people who read this blog, or who know me, often wonder how the hell we came up with our daughters’ names. More often than that, I’m sure they probably think we’re habitually poseur for giving them such pretentious names when we’re not even Dutch.

Or elves.

Reading Ellen‘s latest entry, I decided to come forward voluntarily to demystify once and for all, how my husband and I came to name our girls.

When we found out that we were going to have Rae, my husband and I spent months thinking of names. For the record, I am a gamer. So is he. In fact, we play a lot of roleplaying computer games and even belonged to a guild and everything, so you can see that we are really nothing more than geeks.

One of my all-time favourite games is Arcanum. In it, there is a character named Raven, who’s an elven mage who joins the player halfway into the game. She became a fixture in my life for quite a bit at the time.

And so with that, I started to do some research on what the name meant in the elven language, specifically the language of the high elves, called Quenya-Tengwar created by JRR Tolkien. Eventually, I found out that Raer, means unicorn, a symbol of peace; and Wyn, means maiden. Hence the name, Raewyn.

However, thoroughly aware of the fact that Malaysians can be, well, very Malaysian, many would find this difficult to fathom, much less pronounce. And so, we tweaked the spelling a little to “Raeven” so as to give them verbal cues to at least pronounce her name properly, say in a classroom, and not accidentally call her ‘Ravin’ or something (which is nice, but an exceedingly male name).

So no, I didn’t name my daughter after some comic character like The Crow, or worse, Raven Simone.

The story behind Skyler’s name is much simpler. I’d been pregnant with her and was in a saloon, having my hair washed. Flipping through an Instyle, I saw an article about Sissy Spacek and her two girls. One of them was named Schuyler, and I’d thought, now that’s a pretty name. Went home, did some Googling, and found out that it was Dutch for ‘scholar’.

And voila, Skyler Tan was born.

Of course, both of them have Chinese names. Rae’s means grace, and Sky’s means gratitude. Simple and to the point.

I’m sure when they grow up, the girls will probably hate the names we gave them. Well, at least there’d be some stories to tell.

Or we could just say that Mommy was drunk.