blogging gobbledygook and such

What’s in a name?

In some ways, having English-speaking parents can be a blessing to a certain extent, despite them passing on the banana trait (ie. Chinese who cannot speak Chinese). Because almost every parent who speaks English or in some ways Western-influenced will give their child an English name.

Well, am probably even more blessed as they have given self not one, but two English names, just like a typical kwai lou (Caucasian). What’s there not to like? Along with the requisite Chinese name, one can use them alternately as please – kind of like playacting when young.

But self don’t. Ever since primary school, have always used the Chinese name.

Why? Don’t know, really. Prior to that, have always gone by the first English name. Then when started Standard One, the mother wrote self’s Chinese name in the exercise books.

“Why you don’t write … full name?”

“Too long la. Some more all these Malay teachers don’t know how to pronounce your name also.”

Which was true, as they had always mangled self’s names, even the Chinese one. So self adopted this system from then on.

Often, when friends learn of self’s full name, the typical question pops up:

“Why you don’t use your English name?”

Would always give that same story just told to them. They probably think it is silly, because most people tend to go by their English names because it’s easier to remember and pronounce. In Malaysia, it’s the norm to have people choose their own English names for people to call them even though it’s not their real name, for reasons cited in the previous sentence, and perhaps to stand out. Maybe having an English name makes them sound more educated and sophiscated. Have nothing against them, but personally would not do that even if have the most horrible sounding Chinese name. (Okay, maybe if the parents were so ignorant as to name self Chee Pek, might have to reconsider those words, but one gets the idea.)

But that’s precisely why self won’t use self’s English names! Am such a shrinking violet, surely do not need to call any more attention to self? Self’s Chinese name is quite lovely sounding but so terribly common, that when the teacher searched the register for some unfortunate uniquely-named student to call upon to answer her question, nine times out of ten self’s name would be passed over.

Furthermore, self have come to appreciate the many names self possess as symbols of her different identities. The Chinese name is given to friends and acquaintances. The first English name is given to relatives. The second English name should be buried and forgotten because self really, really dislike it.

What’s the whole point of this post?

To record self’s ineloquent thoughts on this matter, that’s all.

So for the record, self really, really like self’s Chinese name. It makes self feel more Chinese. If you want to use self’s English name to call self, you must be family before you can do so. Don’t even call self by the initial of self’s English name. Self’s name is not Ay, or Bee, or See, or Dee. So don’t call self that.

(So awful isn’t it, this whole first-person-pronoun-avoidant thing. Feel like self’s speech is so spastic.)

Comments on: "What’s in a name?" (4)

  1. I loved the sound of the beautiful name self once shared with me. In fact I say it out loud savouring the sound of it on my lips when thinking of you on an almost daily basis. And if I’m understanding what you wrote you do like it too but it’s a common Chinese name for a girl.
    Here are my questions. (1) Does your Chinese name have a meaning and if so what is it?
    (2) If you had to choose a different Chinese name for yourself, what would it be and what would it mean?
    I also want to share with you the fact that if my maternal grandfather had not interceded (bless him) I would have been given the same name my mother had (what a lack of imagination!) but worse still it’s name I don’t like at all and could not identify with. At least my grandfather named me a name I like the sound of and can identify with. My name is the roman clan name for courage and bravery and can loosely translated as “warrior” (prince or princess). It describes me very well for I have been fighting up-hill battles my whole life for my life but that’s another story. This leads to my third question. (3) What does your Chinese name mean?
    And my last question to you is (4) Will you please tell me the exact date of your birthday?:)

    sulz: 1. as parents are english-educated, they do not how chinese, hence chinese name is really a meaningless pretty chinese name, like a bimbo. 😛

    2. let’s put it this way, if self have kids, would name them something really cheesy like yuen fan (fate) or chor luin (first love) or siu long (little dragon). cantonese-speaking people would understand the reference of ‘cheesy’. am sure will come up with something better when the reality of having a kid is more tangible.

    everybody should love their names, even kids with names like fifi trixibelle and tigerlily heavenly hiraani, or pilot inspektor (real kids with such names, am not kidding).

  2. Thanks for the reply but I noticed you dodged telling me the date of your birthday (tsk, tsk).

    sulz: there is a reason for not telling… which is just because. literally, only the people who are closest to self or was, know the birth date. even angel and sesat don’t (and that’s the two closest, oldest friends)!

  3. Okay so I take that sending you an e-card on the exact date by private mesaage or leaving a special comment on your bolg on your special day is out. So that’s means I’ll have to send you my best wishes for a fabulous and fun filled 21st year right now – Have a Happy Year!

    P.S. Blix is a nice clean theme and I like the header with the white background.

    sulz: thanks so much for the birthday wishes.

    yup, self like the theme and header. if only it allows comments on pages…

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