New Name Adaption


Credit: Sozo Today

This thought originally appeared in my head about two months ago but because of reasons beyond my comprehension, I haven’t expressed in words until now. Better late than never, right?

Anyway, more than a year ago, I wrote a post called, “What’s in a Name?“.

In that post, I wrote about my decision of whether to keep or change my Chinese name when I became an U.S. citizen. I wrote about some of my choices include Carol, April, and Catalina. In the end, I decided to keep my Chinese name because of its uniqueness and the fact that none of those names really resonated with me.

As a lot of you readers know, I got a job at the end of May. Well, of all the stories I’ve told you about my new job, I’ve left out this one because like I said, I haven’t been able to express in words until now.

It was near the end of the interview, as I sat across the table from Mr. CEO, I watched him stare at my resume like he’s trying to figure something out. “Um, how do you pronounce your name?” I told him and at the same time, I was puzzled because I’ve never had anyone have trouble pronouncing my name especially not a Chinese person.

This guy spoke fluent Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. He was born in Mainland China, educated there until high school and yet, he’s stumped on my name which is spelled in Pingyin (Mainland China’s phonetics).

“Get an English name,” he said in a demanding tone. His tone made me feel like I’m in trouble, like “change your name or else…” Strike one before my first day of work. Ouch!

On my first day of work, my co-worker had me write my name in Chinese characters. “So difficult to say,” she said. I couldn’t believe my ears. Really? Of all the people I’ve worked with from different countries, the ones from my native country are the ones with the enunciation trouble?

A few days later, when another co-worker suggested I should pick an English name. In a hurry, I settled with April. Since then, everyone in the company has been calling me April.

If I could’ve gotten someone to call me April back when I was 13 or 14, it would’ve been my dream but now, whenever I hear that name, I felt a tinge of annoyance. Why did I choose that name? It’s the antithesis of my Chinese name!

My Chinese name means “fog in the mountains” while April means “spring, young, zen” (in my opinion). It’s like yin and yang, light and dark. Complete opposite! Why didn’t I choose something darker?

A few weeks ago, I received a contact list from the Chinese-side of the company and as I looked over the list, I noticed almost everyone had an English name. What’s up with people in China and English names? Almost everyone has an English name! What’s wrong with using your Chinese name? The name given by your parents!

Some of the names on that list were ridiculous. For example, who would pick a name like Koala?

Anyway, I got a little off topic there. All I’m saying is that I’m stumped. I’ve never had anyone demand I should get an English name nor had I ever had someone with problem pronouncing my name ever before. But I guess now that I’ve picked a name, I must get used to it, at least within the boundary of my job, right?

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27 thoughts on “New Name Adaption

  1. Wow, I don’t get it either. I like your real name so much, and it is you! I guess if you have to have an alias at work or get fired, then I suppose it’s fine for there.Kind of like a movie star having to have a stage name! Or even a writer having a pen name? My aunt had a work name and a regular name, but both were her names, first and middle. It worked out okay.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yinglan, I too have no idea why people from China change their name in the West. Is it because Chinese languages are tonal and European language speakers can’t cope with that? The only thing that gets confusing for me is the order of the names; is the one that is put first the family name or the given name?!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yinglan isn’t difficult to say? It especially shouldn’t be for a Chinese educated person. My Dad, on the other hand, works with Chinese students and their family’s and visits China often, so they will come to Canada for school. He has adopted a Chinese name from David, Dawei. However, in all my years going to school with kids from China etc. Only some had English names and among themselves talking in mandarin Etc. They used their Chinese names. Their Chinese names were never hard to say or understand, no more than any Name from other countries where the language is vastly different from English. April, though, is a pretty name, I have always thought so. You can say at work it’s your ‘nickname’ but officially your name is Yinglan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yinglan is a more colorful name than April in my opinion (and poetic, too. “Fog in the mountains?” Awesome.)

    Personally, I’d have troubles renaming myself just because a person(s) found it difficult to pronounce. I’m more willing to accept that people may mispronounce “Desiree” than to change it all. Even if I had absolutely no choice but to change it on paper, I’d still call myself and identify as “Desiree” just like you’re still “Yinglan.”

    I’m stubborn like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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