About a Name

I write this blog under the name Ammie-oy. I chose this name as it is what my son called me when he was very young. I’m not sure where the ‘ammie’ part came from – possibly a natural mutation of ‘mama’ and ‘mummy’ both of which he used. The ‘oy’ sound on the end was commonly added to the ends of names in Cambodia which is where we were living at the time, and seemed to denote affection.

As for the blog name…

Well, a ‘barang’ is a foreigner. I’m told it originally meant a person of French origin although it has now come to mean a foreigner in general (although often of European origin). Some westerners will claim it is a derogatory term but whilst, like any word, it can be used in a derogatory way it is not in itself intended to be insulting.

I owe the name to an American man I worked with in Phnom Penh who joked that my son might one day write a book with such a title. The point he was making was that my son had many Khmer influences, spoke the language fluently and thought of himself (in so far as very young children do) as Cambodian.

The way I see it is that it points out that I was different. An alternative translation of the phrase could therefore be ‘Mum Was a Misfit’ or ‘Mum Was Different’. In this way, I show that I am not and do not claim to be an authority on Cambodia or on any of the other places I may write about. I write about my experiences, from my perspective and, for those of us who move about, that will almost always be the perspective of a foreigner or at the very least an outsider.