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Obama Repeatedly Mispronounces Aung San Suu Kyi

During his stop in Burma earlier today, President Obama repeatedly mispronounced the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and former political prisoner who has led the struggle for a free and democratic Burma.

From the Associated Press:

As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly.

Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting.

Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.

What’s more, Obama also botched the name of his official host, Burma’s reformist new president, Thein Sein.

As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart “President Sein,” an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe.

Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein – on first and second reference.

Such diplomatic faux pas by George W. Bush would no doubt have sparked peals of outrage and ridicule back home.

The mistake by Obama is even more notable because he tries to please foreign audiences by correctly pronouncing words and names in their languages.

For example, uniquely among U.S. leaders, Obama refers to Pakistan as “Pahkeestahn,” which is closer to the way the country’s name is pronounced by native speakers.

Here is some video of today’s serial mispronunciations:

H/T to Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit.

208 Responses to Obama Repeatedly Mispronounces Aung San Suu Kyi

  1. Did he at least get HIS OWN name correct as he was giving her an iPod of his spectacular speeches (you know, the ones “corrected” with all the “uh”, “ah” and “umm’s” DELETED?

    • AAAaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnd why would he need to delete the “uh” “ah” AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnd “umms” from his brilliant oratory that he’s so proud of AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaannnnnd rigthfully so AAAaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnddddd how often do you think these Asian dudes with the funny sounding names and silly titles get to hear a Harvard Law grad mispronounce their names AAAAAAaaaaaaannnnd you’d think they’d be grateful to be up there with US Navy corpse-mens that Barack Obama also mispronounced AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaannd just because he speaks in one continuous run-on sentence doesn’t mean he’s not articulate AAAAAaaannnndd its probably all Bush’s fault anyway.

      • When I was growing up WAY back in the Dark Ages, one of the most important lessons I learned was to speak the name of a stranger, when introduced, CORRECTLY! I’ve read that the sound of one’s name is a definate plus in interactions with people. Also, thanks to my husband being in importing WAY back in the early 80’s, I’ve learned that there is so much of the Oriental World that just goes WAY over Westerner’s heads unless one knows their customs & how they think & behave.

        She truely WAS gracious, but knowing the Oriental World as I do, it doesn’t surprise me. I just hate the head of our country acting like a “red-neck doofus” for the world to see & laugh at behind his back. And they DO laugh.

    • What about his to, er, ta, ta and all that whistling when he pronounces a word with s on the end? Don’t forget he grew up in Indonesia so he isn’t a novice to those names. Good thing he didn’t mispronounce potato or the press wouild have really made fun of him?

  2. I also notice in a picture he is giving her a big hug and kiss. My goodness – Asian people are not demonstrative – I have a dear friend in Japan and although she has become more westernized in that regard because she lived with us as a cultural stay student in her early 20’s – she is still very modest and a show of affection is very unusual for the Asian cultures. Did someone not enlighten Mr. Obama??? She looked very uncomfortable.

    Keith – you are right – the media would having a heyday had this been George Bush.

    • This man is a total idiot, hungry for good press so much that he’d embarrass his host in his eagerness to appear so “well liked” and “likeable”.

      There is such a thing as…….trying too hard. Speaks of desperation.

    • One, Aung San Suu Kyi lived in London for several years and so would be used to western greeting customs.

      Two, westerners generally botch Asian names, including names of people we admire. As a Buddhist I have followed Daw Suu’s life pretty closely, and according to this article I’ve been mispronouncing her name also. But how many of you right-wing knee jerkers cared a whit about Daw Suu or know anything about her until you read the President had mispronounced her name? Then — STAMPEDE — let’s bash the president! Whoo HOO!

      May all beings be enlightened, or at least learn to think for themselves. Not seeing much of that here.

      • So, really, you think the most pressing issue on our minds is an Asian dissident who has not been much in the news? I should think that our economic mess and looming war in the Middle East might be more front burner issues. Maybe you Buddhists are so enlightened that your concern is for nothing but other Buddhists. I guess the oppression being visited on women in Islamic nations doesn’t matter. Meh.

      • Must be nice up there in the clouds above all the rest of us lowly human beings. You can be the most book smart person in the world but you will not escape what is coming for us all.

        Did you know Obamacare gives the IRS access to your medical records? The feminazis are so worried about the Republicans peeking at their vaginas. Just wait till Uncle Sam takes notes on every personal detail of every American’s heath record. Won’t be long before the government starts using the power Obamacare granted them to keep us all under their thumb from cradle to grave.

      • Barbara – I could give a rat’s behind about Daw Suu. However, you say you have followed her life pretty closely and yet you aren’t enlightened enough to know the correct pronunciation of her name? As to your faux outrage regarding the potus – I’d be willing to bet you a pot-bellied buddha statute that you weren’t so tolerant of Bush – so give us a break.

  3. And Keith Koffler, the author, gets it wrong on the country’s name “Burma.” The country’s name hasn’t been Burma for 24 years. It’s Myanmar. Does he also use the country name of USSR?

  4. We’re the only people who are offended by all his gaffes and etiquette faux pas. The useful idiots who voted for him are totally besotted by the cult of personality and see his touchy-feely groping of female world leaders and jumbled word-salad as endearing character traits. I imagine they are living vicariously through his world victory tour, eagerly awaiting their next issue of People magazine or watching Entertainment Tonight to catch the latest poses of their anointed one mugging for the cameras.

    What chance does anyone have to defeat this demagogue when the politics of hate, division, envy, and revenge wins the day?

  5. Probably not worth making a big deal over, unless he is Republican, then this is all the news media will talk about for the next two weeks. But since its Obama I will only hear about it by looking at articles linked from the Drudge Report.

  6. I heard it and I guess an Ivy League education just doesn’t get you much these days. Of course there are supposed to be protocol people to prevent these
    rookie mistakes but I guess the Messiah doesn’t need help. Another in a very
    long line of the Obama’s errors.

  7. After four years, the guy is still a rank amateur. Don’t expect that to change during the next four years. Instead of trying to put lip-locks on these women, maybe he should try to get their names right.

  8. MrObama (and his wife) have both shown little interest in honoring the protocols of different countries and cultures. They both can be labeled “ugly Americans” for their arrogance and assumptions that they can do or say anything they please and the world will forgive them.
    Except the world doesn’t forgive them.
    We notice when our FirstCouple isn’t invited to foreign national events, and the photos from the last G20 show MrO being ignored, if not actually shunned.

    There are photos of MrO standing with his arms by his side during the playing of OUR national anthem, MrsO on her way to a Medal of Honor ceremony for a dead soldier wearing a cocktail dress, and of course, the renaming or redefining traditional American holidays or days of remembrance into something more to their liking. There are a lot of Americans who consider that kind of behavior insulting.

    • “Except the world doesn’t forgive them” — though most of the world, strangely, still prefers him over Romney. They know he’s an embarrassment to the U.S. and that he’s taking us down several notches, and that’s why they want him to rule over us.

    • Maybe being an “ugly American” is the method to their madness. I really think that Obama wants the US to look as bad as possible so much so that he doesn’t care if he humiliates himself in the process.

  9. To Ben Bettes:

    Read it again Ben, Koffler used both names and zeroed in on the place where the president decided to visit.

    P.S.
    The president knows exactly what he is doing. Although, the dinner at the palace with the queen DOES raise questions as to the homework his does to get protocol right. Perhaps if he had a tutor on the golf course.

  10. Oh what a bad liberal he is! Pronouncing her name correctly is taught from birth in all liberals, so then can smugly drop the name at later parties and show how enlightened they are.

  11. What a dolt! It was only 2 months ago that Suu Kyi had a private mtg with Obama and a hero’s welcome from Congress when she was in the U.S. to attend a UN mtg. How could he not know how to pronounce her name? It’s not rocket science! So much for Obama’s foreign policy expertise.

    • And the Left kept saying Romney had no expertise in foreign affairs. He’s more of a gentleman than Barry will ever be, and a thousand times more cultured. I’ll bet Mitt would have gotten Suu Kyi’s name right.

  12. Well, you can’t expect him to remember the name of every Nobel Laureate. Especially one who didn’t really ‘earn’ her Noble Peace Price like Obama.

    The mispronunciations? A very simple explanation: Obama is lazy (e.g., can’t bothered to attend daily intelligence briefings) and not nearly as intelligent as the sycophantic MSM believes him to be.

    • When Sununu called him “Lazy” to Andrea Mitchell, I almost spit my coffee out. I’ve been saying that for 4 yrs. By nature, I’m lazy too, but have been fighting it all my life or I wouldn’t have ANY accomplishments to claim as my own.

      Still wondering about B.O.’s?

  13. Aw, c’mon now.

    Obama doesn’t need to get anybody’s name right except Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Bakunin, Beria, Mao, Pol Pot and others — I would include Hitler and Mussolini, but the Democrats/Leftists would soil themselves over that — who’ve inspired him and who inform his rigid anti-American ideology.

      • No, sir, not just me. Everyone in America lost with the re-election of Obama, even you of the intellectually bankrupt, morally adrift, socially and racially divisive, psychologically bent, cowardly Democrat/Leftist stripe.

        BTW: “You lost”? Yep, you’re a divisive, foolish, arrogant, childish Obamabot.

        Surprised you didn’t just say, “We won” and thereby immediately coming into harmonic convergence with Obama.

  14. He has no diplomatic skills and is ignorant of protocol. These are very basic courtesies to the culture of these countries. Without his cheat sheets he’s an embarrassment to diplomacy and the US.
    When did the word ‘smart’ become synonymous with this guy. ‘when ignorance is bliss tis folly to be wise!’ I’m surprised he didn’t bow. Disgusted!

  15. What do you expect from someone who has visited all “57 states” and thinks a corpsman is a corpse-man? And this guy went to Columbia/Harvard?

  16. so what else is new. to those of us who voted for Romney…. We knew the 0 man is way over his head. he has no idea how to lead let alone how to pronounce someones name. he should have practiced until he was blue in the face. instead he wings it and efffffffff’s it up. what a jerk.

  17. I seem to recall back in July 2006, at the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg, that GW Bush gave Angela Merkel a quick shoulder rub as he walked past her. That was the same summit when he told Tony Blair that he wished the UN would “get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit”, with the comment being caught on an open mic. Bush was raked over coals for both incidents, called a buffoon and “Groper in chief.”

    Obama can go around hugging and smooching on Noble Laureates, butcher names, and violate every protocol there is, and the sycophants that support him will spin it that he is a man of the people, one of the common folk just showing how in touch with his feelings he is.

    The upside of Obama winning re-election is that it will give the world a huge amount of comic relief with all the gaffes and blunders he and his VP will pull in the next four years.

  18. Yes, Obama is a nimrod…we know this; for those inclined to forget, he reminds us again and again at least once a week. The dangerously unqualifed embarassment that keeps on giving.

  19. The Mayanmar ‘speech’ was a colossal embarrassment:

    “I stand before you today as President of the most powerful nation on earth but recognizing that once the color of my skin would have denied me the right to vote. If our country can transcend our differences, then yours can too.”

  20. “The mistake by Obama is even more notable because he tries to please foreign audiences by correctly pronouncing words and names in their languages.

    For example, uniquely among U.S. leaders, Obama refers to Pakistan as “Pahkeestahn,” which is closer to the way the country’s name is pronounced by native speakers”.

    No he tries to please his Muslim brothers this way, no one else.
    And this is indeed unique to Obama.

  21. The guy needs a portable TOTUS. It could be disguised as a Nook or a Kindle. Then when people ask what he’s doing, he can (in an urbane sort of way) “Why, this is gift for you. It contains all the books I’ve written.”

  22. On October 16, 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev addressed the UN prior to his departure and return to the Soviet Union. In closing his speech that day, he made the famous proclamation that the US would be defeated without a shot being fired.

    If he were still alive today, he would be a happy man to see that over 50% of the American electorate are now Communists, and verified his prediction Nov 6, 2012.

  23. Thank goodness he didn’t have to acknowledge the corpsmen in the crowd, he would have botched the pronunciation of that word too. BTW, he sure looks horny! What is up with that? Must be afterglow from screwing the American electorate out of the election.