Saturday, 19 March 2011

Thoughts on names

Have some thoughts to share here after I heard from XY that she had a biblical name for her #2 and was waiting for her dad to come up with a Chinese name.

1)
I thought that when people - Chinese la - have English names, their Chinese names tend to get buried in obscurity. Like Sito's. Um, actually his English name is pretty obscured too as we all know him as Sito!

I thought it's pretty sad that these days, people seem to leave the decision of Chinese names to grandparents. Usually it's because grandparents may be more particular about Chinese names, like one character must have a certain stroke to signify a particular generation of the family, or they want to check with a fengshui master.

Or, parents just aren't as good at this language and rather the grandparents give their kids a proper Chinese names than a direct translation of Mary (玛丽 - not so bad) or Tom (汤母 - you must be kidding!).

Or - I wouldn't doubt there are at least a handful of people who think like this - they just don't think Chinese names important enough to warrant their consideration since the kids will probably be called Mary their whole life rather than some complicated Chinese name.

2)
And all these names - English and Chinese - just make the full name really long!

(English name, plus a middle name for some of the religious) (surname) (Chinese portion - usually two words)

Imagine exams where you have to write your name on every sheet of paper.. Not fun!

1+2=
I've decided that our kids will have just one Chinese character for his given name. Sito agrees if the character matches the kid's birth details - yup, we'll consult a master! :) After all, we already went with fengshui for our wedding date and the layout of our apartment in Sg!

3)
And then there are those who adopt an English name. I like to look at showbiz and have a good laugh! There are some pretty hilarious unique names out there! Think Show. Or Fish. Maybe I'm prejudiced because I think Pink is a great stage name for Pink.. Anyways..

But normal people adopt names too, and thankfully more normal sounding names than the above! Although I've heard from DC that this guy in her or her husband's office in HK called himself Hymen...!

Anyway, many PRC students here give themselves (normal) English names. I suppose that's to make it easier to remember and pronounce. Perhaps they've adopted their names since they were kids. For me, I don't care if people don't remember or can't pronounce my name. If I call myself Mary today, I wouldn't remember myself. I know, because when I was 17, I used to call myself Crystal after the protagonist in a novel I've since forgotten! How embarrassing.. And no, I can't respond to that name anymore!

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