Sunday, September 13, 2009

A rose by any other name...

The Taiwanese pick their own English names. Tina met a girl named Chocolate. Tina’s boyfriend originally thought my name was Malaysia. At lunch the other day, I met their friend: “Your name is Fish?” I said. “You want me to call you Fish?!?” He bowed at me. I like Fish. He has a pleasant, soft face and fine hair that stands straight up so you can see his scalp - like a baby. His name doesn't suit him; so in my head, I call him Baby.

Here, those without Chinese names are named at the bank. Or by teachers. They usually translate the sound of each syllable into Chinese characters. David becomes Da Wei. Kwesi becomes Kui Xi. For the first time in 29 years, I am called by my Chinese name, Liang Yong Yin, which my parents gave me at birth. I love the way it sounds.

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