This man, is our new uncle.
My parents and friends call him by his surname. We, Chinese are so used to add an "Ah" at the front of names. And that's how people call him.
The first time I saw him, my parents were at my aunt's flat to dropped something off. We were in Father's beige, carburetor-ed Datsun. My uncle just got back from work. He came by, and said hi. I was told, this is yi jiong, and Mother asked me to greet him.
Mother's elder sisters are called yi mah. The husband, yi jiong.
"Oh! Yi jiong!"
I never remember the term "yi jiong". It is unfamiliar to me. I've been hearing people called him differently. And that is what I supposed to call him too, I thought.
The next time we were there, I greeted everyone as I was taught. I then saw him. With high spiritual attitude, and manners I thought would make my parents proud, I greeted him.
Mother knocked on my head. Father told me off.
He defended me. That doesn't bother him. Ever since, my parents always reminded me to call him properly. I still ended up calling his surname. Up to a point, he told them to let it be.
As we were getting closer, I call him Surname Surname.
No matter how open-minded a person is, it is still not right to call your elders by the name. I tried calling him yi jiong a number of times. I can't – it sounded really, really weird. I guess he felt the same too. We were so used to the "improper" way.
When Bro learn to speak, he was taught the same.
We still call him that, even up to now.