千奇百怪的英文名 – funny English names in Asia

There are things in life we don’t get to chose – we cannot choose the color of our skin, our nationality or as funny-Asian-kid-namewe 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. worst-funny-names-dat-ho
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 Funny-Unfortunate-Names-Featuredyou 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? 🙂

  • Coffee
  • Ferrari- to be fair there’s a fashion blogger in Poland called Jessica Mercedes, maybe she’s long lost cousin of Ferrari1-funny-Asian-names
  • Circle
  • Boss
  • Ocean
  • Eating
  • Yellow
  • Diamond
  • Cherry  – not kidding you, that’s the operation manager of one of our mainland facilities
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Kiwi
  • Peach
  • Shakira
  • Zero
  • Echo2EA10DD500000578-0-image-a-5_1448007663087
  • Gandalf – you shall not pass with such a name
  • Oreo
  • Gregary – yes, that’s not a typo
  • Jolly
  • Rainbow
  • Cloud
  • Paddy

For more fun click here (click click)!

i-dont-like-geographical-namesAnd 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 🙂

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46 thoughts on “千奇百怪的英文名 – funny English names in Asia

  1. A friend of mine worked at a public school in China and he had a gang of boys named iPhone, IPhone 4I Phobe 5, IPhone 6 and the Howard thinking IPhone 7. I had a student that called himself old because he was the oldest student in class. The worst was that college student who said his name was Adolph Hitler. So I made him wire a tease arch paper on Hitler. After that he was like teacher I want to change my name.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So you’d suggest to let them go on totally unaware that they were given the particularly unique name of a genocidal white supremacist who killed millions of people for simply not being white, and one of the most hated men in western history?

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  2. I lived in Japan, which doesn’t do English names, and yet I had a friend who went by “Soldier-san.” (San being the polite suffix for anyone) because he wanted to join the Japanese Defense Force. So I’d be trying to refer to him to my mom and being chatting about my friend “Solja-san” (how it was pronounced) and she’d stop me to go “Who is this person??” It took me a long time to learn his real name.

    A student of mine was named Masaya, which doesn’t seem strange until you said it outloud. I was discussing him with an aunt and she started to laugh that I had a student named “Messiah.” It took me a moment, but then I couldn’t hear anything else.

    I don’t think Cherry is too odd, though. I know a woman in the US whose name is Taffy. Of course, she has the excuse of not naming herself…

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  3. That’s an interesting blog piece! One of my primary school classmates is called Only because his Chinese name is 唯一, but ironically he is not the only kid in his home. 😀

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  4. Well, California is already ground zero for weird English names. So I’ve actually met Ocean, Genesis, Rainbow, Echo, Cloud, Apple, Peach, Cherry, Diamond, Topaz, and every other weather formation, fruit, and gemstone you can imagine.

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  5. Oh those lovely names. I saw myself at KFC in Xi’an a guy with a Wendy nametag…
    What else did I see thus far/ can remember, not so much anymore. I think there were some NoNo’s, YoYo’s, Butterfly, Cake, Cherry (ofc!), James Bond and last but not least Lucifer

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  6. My Taiwanese friend named herself Angel. I dare to call her that and use her Chinese name.
    Mr. Panda’s aunts also have creative English names I’ve never heard before. They are not strange, but old-fashioned. His aunt did not let her son decide on his English name by himself, he picked a few and then let him decide which one of these he liked best. I mean, what comes out when you let a 5 year old pick a name from a foreign language…

    I’ve written a paper about strange names in Japan, they are called kira kira (sparkling) names. There are lots of Melodys, Lovelys or Cinderellas now. They also like to name their children after anime charakters like Conan or Naruto or Son Goku. THe problem is that they can also decide on the Japanese charakters by themselves which makes it impossible for other people to read them.

    By the way, what is Sing’s English name? Mr.Panda doesn’t have one as he came to Austria when he started with primary school and therefore didn’t need one.

    Off topic: I organized our official(!) documents some time ago and found Mr.Panda’s name in 4 different false spellings. On official documents! Does Sing also have creative spellings of his names on Western documents?

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    1. ask that Angel if she works in IT company 😀 Sing doesn’t have English name either, he just says Jason when we go order pizza over the phone because it sounds better than ‘Sing as sing a song’ 😀
      Oh wow! That’s really bad! Make sure it will be corrected or it might backfire to you one day! Sing Chan is fairly short so he doesn’t get any mistakes… however I do as my name and double surname is long as time I spent with Momzilla 😀

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      1. We can conter “Sing as in sing a song” with “Kung as in Kung Fu”. XDDDD
        He already got them corrected, it is just fun to see that some did not print out a new document but just corrected them with a TYPEWRITER.

        She is not your “Angel”, I think that’s one of the most common English names for women in Taiwan xD

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  7. Beyonce’s daughter is Blue Ivy, and Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger’s daughter is Ireland. The editor for the translation of my novel was Echo. (I wonder why that’s a popular name.)

    A fun article.

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  8. Poppy is the real name of Jamie Oliver’s daughter?? I always thought that’s just a nickname! OMG!!

    You know, I’m fine with people choosing English names for themselves, funny as they may be. Gives us a good laugh and hey, everyone has freedom of choice. But I hate it that more and more Chinese folks (including my peers) who are not even Christians, but decided to give their newborns English names, registered in their ID! I think that is not appropriate to be honest, Chinese are not required to be registered with a white people name, and now you’re forcing your kid to accept a name that they might not like even when it is not necessary. I’m now going to have Courage, Abigail Abercrombie Angelica (one name) and Gennifer (yes, G) calling me “uncle” when they grow up.

    I’ve worked with two Chinese PRCs with interesting names. Horse Ma (get it??) and Winner Huang. Winner Huang used to be Victor Huang, but somehow he decided to change it for whatever reasons because his Chinese name is Huang Quan Sheng 全胜 😀

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  9. I ended up in the Asian crowd during my exchange semester in Italy, and I still remember that day I was introduced to Fish, Dream, and Geo (named after Georgio Armani). I’m pretty sure they were not official names, though.

    But at least they were consistent and stuck to those names. During a summer university programme I once attended, a girl who initially called herself Shadow changed it (twice!) mid-term leaving everyone confused. When asking my friend (also Asian) over coffee if she knew the most recent name or even her original Chinese name, she just deadpanned “sometimes I’m so grateful my parents just named me Isabella…”.

    Also, as a teen I took ballet classes with a girl who went by Snow White…

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  10. In my company we have many “interesting” English names haha: Ice, Brain, Dolphin, Star, Yoyo, Fenny, Syesha, Sunny, Jade (a guy), Cloud, Rocky, Corda, Neo, Heaven, Khal, Sky, Window… They must do it on purpose and only hire people with weird English names!

    PS. Don’t laugh, but Ángel is actually a guy’s name in Spanish. Pronounced AN-hel (strong h). Mercedes is a very common Spanish female name, I guess the car was named after a woman and not the other way around 😛

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  11. Cherry is a common name in France!
    I once saw one of the workers in Mc Donalds was called “sorry”… I laughed for a good while after that!

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  12. I was served by a girl called ‘English’ yesterday! For a moment there I thought that name badge simply meant that she spoke English but soon found out that wasn’t the case and it was indeed her name..Suddenly my workmates’ names(Jojo,Rainbow,Angel,Cherry)don’t seem weird at all!

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  13. Reblogged this on Samal Bahay Kubo and commented:

    Back in the late 90s, our office used to issue every staff member with their own copy of a printed telephone list that was reissued every time staff left or joined. First job of the day that the list arrived was to read through it and find the new hilarious names.
    Cute Fok
    Smile
    Rocky
    Rambo
    Augustine
    Stephanous
    And so on.
    When the Asian financial crisis set in and their were more lay-offs than joiners, we started a rival to the Hang Seng index – the Wong-Chan index to see if the Wongs or the Chans suffered more when the lay offs came. Gallows humour!

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  14. Hi! I teach English in mainland China and at the beginning of the year my students all pick English names if they don’t already have one. Its really interesting to see what 12-13 year olds come up with. They seem to really like celebrities like Michael Jackson and Kobe but there are the occasional odd ones. My favorite ones so far have been Magazine and WiFi 🙂

    Like

  15. Oddest name I’ve ever seen in the US:
    I was in a hospital in San Francisco a few years ago and saw a nurse named
    “James Crow”. Yep, Jim Crow. What were his parents thinking?

    Like

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