Xin Xin and Le Le among names suggested by ST readers for first panda cub born in S'pore

Other name suggestions included Xi Wang (hope in Mandarin), An An (peace) and Kang Kang (health). PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Xin Xin and Le Le are among the popular names suggested by netizens for the first panda cub to be born in Singapore.

The Straits Times asked on Facebook for suggestions of a name for the newborn panda, and netizens responded. More than 30 names were suggested.

Xin Xin refers to heart in Mandarin, or alludes to Singapore. Some netizens also spelt it as Xing Xing or Sing Sing, which would mean stars.

Le Le refers to joy.

Said Facebook user Yvonne Chua: "Since the mum's name starts with 'J' and the dad's name 'K', their junior (should) start with 'L'."

The panda cub was born to parents Kai Kai and Jia Jia at the River Safari at about 7.50am on Saturday (Aug 14).

Other name suggestions included Xi Wang (hope in Mandarin), An An (peace) and Kang Kang (health).

En En, which refers to gratitude in Mandarin, was another idea. Facebook user Celia Chong, who suggested it, said: "Gratitude to the animal care team that helped Jia Jia during (her) pregnancy period in Singapore."

Qi Qi, referring to the number seven in Mandarin, was suggested by Facebook user Derek Lee, who pointed out that the cub was born on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It also happened to be during the giant pandas' seventh breeding season.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which operates the River Safari, said on Sunday that 13-year-old Kai Kai and 12-year-old Jia Jia displayed signs of being in heat in April.

It said Jia Jia and her cub, which weighs about 200g, are in an off-exhibit den to give them time to nurse and bond.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin also took to Instagram to ask for name ideas.

"Some have sent me their ideas," he wrote on Sunday.

"Panda Miss Joaquim, Michael Jackson (only Singaporeans will understand this, soya bean milk-chin chow mix)... What else?"

The Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid is Singapore's national flower.

Jia Jia's pregnancy was confirmed last Tuesday, when a WRS vet picked up a clear outline of a foetus with a strong heartbeat during an ultrasound scan.

"Jia Jia's first pregnancy and birth of a cub is a significant milestone for us in the care of this threatened species in Singapore," said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, WRS' deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer.

Kai Kai and Jia Jia arrived in Singapore in September 2012, on a decade-long loan from China. China's then President Hu Jintao had said in November 2009 that the loan was to mark 20 years of close diplomatic ties at the time.

In line with the loan agreement, the baby panda will return to China when it turns two, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng on Sunday in a comment on his Facebook post about the birth.

The public will be able to see Jia Jia and the cub at the River Safari's Giant Panda Forest enclosure in approximately three months, WRS told ST on Sunday.

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