Long Name No Can Say

Paul Wing

RCA Victor BC-50

Total Time: 22:22

“Nikki Nikki Tembo No So Rembo Oo Ma Moochi Gamma Gamma Goochi” is the name of a little Chinese boy in a story called “Long Name No Can Say” narrated by Paul Wing. It was available as an RCA Camden recording in the mid-1940s (RCA – Camden CAL 1044). It seems that this same story has been retold many times in many variations, subsequent to that time period, which is perhaps the origin of the “Tikki Tikki…” variety (Mosel, Arlene (2007), Tikki Tikki Tembo (paperback ed.), Square Fish). A 1961 Golden Press variation of the story has the boy’s name as “Sticky Sticky Stumbo…”

It has been suggested that the story probably originated from the Japanese folktale Jugemu instead of a Chinese folktale. The inadvertent misrepresentation of a Japanese folktale as a Chinese one may explain why many native Chinese speakers have felt the story to be offensive as it inaccurately depicts their language and history. It is possible that the version of the story by Paul Wing may have been the source of this misunderstanding or at least responsible for popularizing it.

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4 responses »

  1. Alphonse LAbbe says:

    In the early 1960’s. I remember reading a story about two Chinese boys with the same name. But the story was two boys who went fishing to get food for the village. One boy sucked up all the water from the lake and the other picked up the fish to feed the family. Are their different stories about Nikki………

    Thanks ALPHONSE

    • boutje777 says:

      I really don’t know.

      • Katlady says:

        As young children in 1964-5 we listened to this over and over. I think Mom finally threw it away bc we’d sing it all the time. It was a funny tongue twister and had a great moral lesson. The only Asian people where I lived ran a wonderful restaurant. Of course our favorite dish was the PooPoo platter.

    • Katlady says:

      I think so this was about a boy, born after 7 girls so his father gave him a really long name!

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