Cibai, the Microsoft Research Project with the Unfortunate Name

Despite my ethnicity, I don’t know how to speak Chinese (in any dialect), but I do know a fair share of naughty cuss words in Cantonese and Hokkien thanks to family and friends while growing up in Malaysia. So when I saw this blog post on CNET Asia (disclosure: I work for, the parent site), my jaw dropped in sheer horror, which then turned into bellyaching laughter. It seems that Francesco Logozzo, a developer at Microsoft, has come up with an “abstract interpretation-based static analyzer for modular analysis and verification of Java classes,” which admittedly sounds pretty boring, until you see what he decided to call it:

Cibai, the Microsoft Research Project with the unfortunate nameThat’s right. Cibai. Non-Hokkien speakers might be scratching their heads as to why this is so shocking, but to put it bluntly, that’s like calling the application “Vagina” but with the much more offensive four-letter version. In Malaysia and Singapore at least, the word is often used as a catch-all swear word that replaces the f-word and other offensive terms like “bastard” and “dickhead”, and is rarely used in a literal way. As for this application, apparently the name stands for Class Invariants By Abstract Interpretation, and you can insert your own joke here about what “class invariant” means when it comes to female genitalia.

Needless to say, I immediately shared this link around to my Chinese-speaking friends and we were all extremely amused. Does this Microsoft developer know about this unfortunate meaning for the name of his application? I highly doubt it. But something tells me he’ll know about it soon enough.

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About Nicole

I'm a dirty rotten alien living in the land of the free. In other words, I'm not a U.S. citizen, but I have a Green Card (which, incidentally, isn't green). I'm ethnic Chinese, but I'm of Malaysian nationality (born and raised in Malaysia for about 18 years). I moved to the U.S. for college, and due to unforeseen circumstances, have decided to call this crazy cowboy country my home. I do plan to be a citizen in a few years, and I find myself still trying to figure out if I'm simply Asian, or if I'm Asian American -- two labels which have similar but different connotations. Also, I'm a big ol' nerd, and write about gadgets for a living. You can find me on my silly little blog at
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