There are things in life we don’t get to chose – we cannot choose the color of our skin, our nationality or as we say in Poland, you cannot choose your family. That’s not necessarily true, but it’s not going to be my today’s post’s topic. I want to talk about something that not everyone gets to choose, yet some are lucky enough to be able to.
Names. In Poland by the law you are required to give your child a name that’s consisting maximum 2 names (like Maria Magdalena), cannot be ridicule, inappropriate or the name has to determinate the gender. Fun fact: all female names in Polish language are ending with ‘-a’.
In Hong Kong, however, you are allowed to choose your own English name that will be shown on your HKID aside of your so-called Chinese name.
The traditional name is usually chosen by the father’s side, however since my father’s in law name is translated into ‘GLAMOROUS MIRROR‘ I told Sing WahWah is forbidden to choose our baby’s name. I really don’t want my firstborn to be named like ‘Fluffiest Carpet Chan’.
The concept of English name is popular not only in Hong Kong, but also in other parts of Asia especially when it goes to business.
I currently work at the same company as Sing as part of RMA/RTV/customer service team. I deal with vendors all around the world, most of them located in Asia. I’m in touch with people on really high positions like operation managers of HUGE international companies…
Now imagine a really important person from a really big and important company known around the world sending you very important e-mail as ‘Angel_AsianSurname@importantcompany.tw’. Angel CCs into the e-mail look her very important colleague, Yoyo. And I’m cracking up in front of my work screen.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t laugh when my own husband is named Sing, but believe it or not – that is a traditional name. In Cantonese it indeed sounds lame, and as much as I love Cantonese I think Sheng in Mandarin sounds more like ‘Win’ (the meaning of Sing’s name).
I do not laugh at the ‘traditional names’. You cannot really choose it. It’s the way your family named you and there’s some reason behind it. I may giggle a bit because of how it sounds, but let’s face it – we all do it. We are all a little bit judgmental.
And I’m not hiding it – I may laugh at your choice of English name if it’s ridiculous. I won’t be laughing when I hear you prefer to be called Philip instead of Xiang, because that’s a completely normal name. What the heck, you can even be called Jane Jaque. But if you choose Fruit, Angel or Oreo don’t expect me to keep my face straight, it’s just impossible.
Of course I won’t laugh at loud, I will just cringe deep inside my soul.
I tried to think what is the reason behind such original choices, but besides the need of ‘being unique’ I couldn’t think of anything else.I guess the pressure from having so many other people to compete with makes people want to stand out of the line so they can be memorized.
We also struggle to think about a name that can sound similar in Cantonese, Polish and English, but it definitely won’t be something extravagant. No Angela Baby here.
This said, I want to show you the list probably as old as the Internet itself. The list of weird, funny or silly English names that are said to be chosen by some of my fellow Hongkongers and not only! Is your English name on the list? 🙂
- Ferrari- to be fair there’s a fashion blogger in Poland called Jessica Mercedes, maybe she’s long lost cousin of Ferrari
- Cherry – not kidding you, that’s the operation manager of one of our mainland facilities
- Gandalf – you shall not pass with such a name
- Gregary – yes, that’s not a typo
For more fun click here (click click)!
And to be fair, my ‘ghost folks’ can give their baby a ridiculous name as well. If you’re a celebrity, the chances of that kind of name are much higher. Just think of Royal Reign, Cricket, North, Rainbow Aurora, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence (yes, that’s one name), Jamie Olivier and his kids: Poppy Honey Rosie, Buddy Bear, Daisy Boo Pamela, and Petal Blossom Rainbow, Bear Blu, Zuma Nesta Rock, Kingston (working too much with that vendor!) James McGregor, and Apollo Bowie Flynn, Banjo, Pilot Inspektor (sic!), Audio Science, Diva Thin Muffin, Dweezil, and Moon Unit… Looks like Paddy and Gandalf are not that bad names!
Let me know what is the funniest English name you’ve heard about! Or maybe your name is a crazy choice? Share and let’s all laugh 🙂