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Why do Asian people change their names?
Recently, the “cool trend” of many Asian people to change their names is increasingly becoming more popular. I can only speak about some citizens of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.
But, what’s wrong with this?
Great question! And the answer is clear: There is nothing wrong that people change their names.
What is controversial and inappropriate, in my opinion, is the fact the names are changed but not officially in their identity documents. Just an informal change.
I was able to see this phenomenon more often when living in China. Especially Chinese students feel a sort of necessity to change their names simply because foreigners, according to students, have a very hard time to pronounce their names, so they want to make foreigners’ lives easier.
This is acceptable for a temporary period of time or as part of pedagogical activities, but that’s it.
For me, this kind of name change shows lack of self-esteem and strong personality. And that’s exactly what some students demonstrated when they told me with bold honesty, “I don’t like my name as it’s ugly and hard to pronounce.”
Well, feeling that way is perfectly normal; however, doing nothing to remediate the situation is what I disagree with.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many Chinese people and some of their “adopted” names are: Maria, Teresa, Cindy, Rebecca, Rose, Peter, John, Paul, Richard, Tom, to mention just a few. But when we need to find them in the company intranet, is not unusual to find something like ‘Ai’, ‘Feng’, ‘Huan’, ‘Jia’, ‘Bao’, ‘Chen’, ‘Dong’.
This is totally misleading!
When I asked a friend why he had the hidden name ‘Bao’, he just replied with his face turning reddish, “Never mind. Just call me Peter.” I understood the message he felt ashamed of his real name, so I kept silent to respect his decision.
Up to this point, this is just a matter of low self-esteem or temporary personality instability or the trivial desire of following the “trend” that others started. At the end of the day, this can be easily fixed.
Nevertheless, the embarrassing situation comes when picking their names.
It’s inherent to human beings to make mistakes, but for God’s sake, try not to make two mistakes in a row! If you freely decided to change your name because of the reasons explained above or whatever other reason you may have, that would be a mistake that will not jeopardize your entrance to ‘Heaven’; however, if you are careless in doing your due diligence with a preliminary research of your new name meaning in the most common languages, your entrance to “Hell’ is guaranteed. That is for simply choosing Spanish names like the following:
“Caca”, “freak”, “perra” or “veneno”.
These were real names some students chose for themselves. When I told them their meanings, they actually decided not to change their Chinese names. You can Google their meanings and I’m sure you will immediately realize why choosing your new name randomly, may generate a high level of discombobulation.
For the time being, I can tell you that “perra” means a female dog. But female dogs are cute, smart, lovely, etc., you may wonder. Wait a minute, because “perra” also means “prostitute”. It’s up to you if still want to move forward with that name.
Something clear is regardless the name you choose, it’s very likely that such a name means something shameful in any language. My humble suggestion is:
- Keep your freaking awesome original name
- Look for the meaning of your new name in some languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, to name just a few
- Or to keep it simple, just pick whatever name you like and don’t care for its meaning and what other people say about it
If you have some experiences or opinions on this regard, please share them on the comments below, so we can all learn from each other.
- Do you like your name?
- Have you ever (unofficially) changed your name?
- Why do people change their names?
- Is it wrong that people change their names to please others?