Our little international celebrity

By now the whole world knows her name. Besides our own local coverage, she was in The Guardian, Hawaii News Now, Xinhuanet, as well as on TV in the States, including “about 15 seconds near the end of the NBC Nightly News”, according to my friend Mary V Shaw in Brooklyn. Wow, our own little international celebrity. And those are just the ones we know about. There may be more international coverage that we haven’t come across yet.

Just like her parents who arrived in Malaysia almost two years ago, followed by her birth just 15 months later, so the little one has given us some much-needed positive limelight with the announcement of her name.

And what is her name? Here you go …


The name, whose Chinese character 暖 means “friendly”, or “warm”, was chosen as it reflects the good relationship between China and Malaysia.

The announcement has been a long time coming. Four months to be exact. A naming competition was held from 17 November to 17 December 2015 but the winning name was only revealed almost four months later on 7 April 2016. But in the end, it was worth the wait.

One of the rules of the competition stated that the submitted names must not have been used before for any pandas. To make sure that the best name was chosen, the selection team, made up of experts in Chinese culture, was given the time needed to sift through the 22,000+ entries that had come in through the online competition. Nine names were shortlisted and submitted to the China Wildlife Conservation Association for consideration. The nine names were further narrowed down to three, and from those three names, the best name was chosen, the one that captivated the selection panel here as well as in China, for telling, in just two Chinese characters (actually, a repeat of the same character), the good relationship between China and Malaysia.

Read here about the winner and how he came up with the winning name. Watch this video for a good explanation of how and why the name Nuan Nuan was chosen for Malaysia’s first giant panda cub.