Horse conquers dragon

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French President Emmanuel Macron presented a horse to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Vesuvius, an 8-yr old gelding from the 'Garde Republicaine'.

Now, Macron's name in Chinese is transcribed as "Mǎkèlóng 马克龙" (lit., "horse subdues / overcomes / conquers / surmounts dragon").

Make of it what you will.


  1. John Rohsenow said,

    January 11, 2018 @ 3:00 am

    Apparently Macron alluded to this in his speech; I suppose his name was just transliterated by the press, but then–isn't everything in China first
    "cleared" by the Party? When I first arrived to teach at Hangzhou University back in 1979 they tried to randomly (?) assign me one of those obviously transliterated names on my ID card, but I refused and made them change to the name my teacher gave me at Tai-da many years before: 羅聖 豪.

  2. richardelguru said,

    January 11, 2018 @ 7:05 am

    Just as long as he didn't also give a dragon!

    (That would be a bit like the old, possibly montypythonesque, joke about the little shop on the corner where for a mere sixpence you could buy a big bag of rat poison…….and a rat.)

  3. Herm said,

    January 11, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

    Is this a new variant of paper, scissors, stone? Dragon beats gryphon, gryphon beats horse?

  4. Anne Henochowicz said,

    January 11, 2018 @ 4:37 pm

    Mmm, so close to "macaron" (mǎkǎlóng 马卡龙)…

  5. ajay said,

    January 12, 2018 @ 10:15 am

    Reminds me of Fitzroy Maclean's delight at discovering that his name was translated as "Ma ke-lin", meaning "the horse that corrupts the morals".

  6. LTX said,

    January 17, 2018 @ 1:19 pm

    Not hostile because Chinese don't reflexively identify with the dragon, or any animal, as reflexively as, say, Americans would with the bald eagle. (Turkey : symbol of America without patriotic reflexive identification :: dragon : China.) If the transliteration really raised hackles, the Party would never approve of it.

    More aptly perhaps, it is not seen as misandrist or aggressive for a Chinese girl to be named SHENGNAN or CHAONAN, both meaning "surpassing/excelling men" — merely exhortative, as if her parents want good things for her. MAKELONG sounds, indeed, inspirational and motivational, the kind of traditional-style name associated with the rural north.

    Though I'd have gone with MA KE LANG instead, LANG as in a sunny day, the first name of pianist Lang Lang.

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