KUALA LUMPUR: English teacher Oh Teik Peng loves entering slogan and writing contests, not so much for the prizes but because he likes to tease his brain.
But never in a million years did the Teluk Intan-native think that his entry for the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s online competition to name the baby giant panda would win him a Perodua MyVi.
His choice of “Nuan Nuan”, which means warm in Mandarin, is now the name of the seven-month-old panda being touted as a symbol of Malaysia and China’s diplomatic relations.
His entry beat 22,830 others.
“When the baby was born, I looked at photos of it online. It’s very cute, very adorable, very charming. When I entered the competition, I focused on the characteristics of a panda, which is famous for being friendly.
“That was what inspired me to come up with the name,” Oh told reporters after collecting his prize.
He sent in several proposed names in November 2015 but said that “Nuan Nuan” was his favourite.
Malaysia and China picked it as their first choice for the female cub.
Asked what he planned to do with his new car, Oh said: “I don’t know yet. I am still in shock.”
Having only seen the baby through a screen in the past, Oh got a close look at Nuan Nuan in the Giant Panda Conservation Centre after the prize-giving ceremony at Zoo Negara yesterday.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that the name best exemplified the friendly relationship between the two countries.
“Nuan Nuan will have to be returned to China after a year, as per our agreement with them.
“But her parents Xing Xing and Liang Liang will be here for another eight years.
“We hope to see another baby born here and we can have another competition,” he said.
Dr Wan Junaidi also announced that all the contestants would be given a free one-day pass to Zoo Negara if they provided proof of their participation.
Nuan Nuan’s parents were loaned to Malaysia on May 21, 2014, to mark the 40th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with China.
The cub was born on Aug 18 last year. She is the first panda to be born in captivity outside China.
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