Are Hurricane Names Sexist?
The history of hurricane names seems to have come more out of necessity than anything else. The use of female names is credited to one Clement Wragge, an Australian meteorologist. He probably really believed that “Hell Hath no Fury Like a Woman Scorned”.
Hurricane names seem to have been christened after women till 1978 (when some women’s group protested). After that, both male and female names supposedly take turns. There six lists that are used in rotation. So after Katrina and before Rita, we should have heard about Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia and Philippe. I never hear about any of these leh. It’s not easy to be called Katrina or Rita today and thankfully, there is a list of retired hurricane names.
Just as I was about to think it’s the end of the road, I noticed the names given to cyclones by countries in our region. The meanings of these names reveal a lot....
Cambodian names follow flowers, trees, animals and a ‘pretty girl’!!!
Chinese names follow mythical animals.
North Korean names follow flowers, animals and trees too.
Hong Kong’s names follow mountains, airports and ‘common pet name for young girls’!!!
Japanese names follow astronomical constellations.
Laos’ names follow trees, animals and rivers.
Macau’s names follow flowers, bird, insects and food!!!
Malaysian names follow fish, flowers, fruits and animals.
Micronesian names follow spices, a chief’s title and mythical creatures.
Filipino names follow animals and adjectives!!!
South Korean names follow animals, insects and flowers.
Thai names follow flowers, fruits and Gods!!!
Vietnamese names follow birds, trees, places and planets!!!
And no, Singapore does not provide a list of names. That’s probably because we never have a cyclone here. Our gahmen will make sure of that :) But if we did, then I wonder what the names will be....
- Opposition Party