Thailand has rejected Hong Kong's suggestion of 'Kapok' for the name of a typhoon - because it sounds like a Thai slang word for an intimate part of the male anatomy. Hong Kong's other nomination, 'Tai Chi', was also knocked back, by Japanese officials, at a recent meeting of the United Nation's regional typhoon committee and the World Meteorological Organisation, who said it sounded like a child's name. Instead, they were replaced with the inoffensive names Dolphin and Lion Rock, which both won approval. 'Delegates from Thailand rejected Kapok because they thought it sounds like another word in Thai, which refers to something bad and indecent,' the Hong Kong Observatory's senior scientific officer, Mok Hing-yim, said. Hongkongers know kapok as a silk-cotton tree, a tropical plant whose vitality is seen as symbolic of the city's people. However, in some areas of rural Thailand it is the word for testicle. The two rejected names beat other nominations, such as Typhoon Donald Tsang and Typhoon Tung Chee-hwa, in a contest run by the Observatory. A total of 140 names, including 10 from Hong Kong, were nominated to the typhoon committee, which chooses the names of tropical cyclones in the Western North Pacific. Mr Mok said names were rejected if any delegation from the 14 regions objected. 'Both Dolphin and Lion Rock bear characteristics of Hong Kong,' the Observatory's assistant director, Wong Ming-chung, said. 'The Chinese white dolphin is a precious creature living in our waters and the mascot of Hong Kong. Lion Rock is a famous landmark that has accompanied the growth of Hong Kong and represents the united and striving spirit of the people.' Typhoons used to be called after women - said to have been the girlfriends or wives of meteorologists in the US forces. A few boy's names crept in under pressure from feminists. Today, typhoon names include animals, flowers, astrological signs and a few personal names. Previous typhoon names contributed by Hong Kong include Kai-tak, Shanshan and Lingling.