Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chinese Name - 中文名字

One thing Chinese people insist on knowing from anyone of Chinese descend is his or her "Chinese Name".   It is also quite true that many Chinese Americans sport two names - one English and one Chinese, and these two often don't match since they are not phonetic transliteration at all, which is the way Chinese people use for people of not Chinese lineage, such as Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama.  Walking near Chinatown and one is confronted with numerous flyers for mayoral candidate for San Francisco, flaunting their Chinese names, which means absolutely nothing to me, since I only know them by their official (English) names and cannot match their coded Chinese names at all.

One thing Chinese mainlanders need to be aware is that many Chinese Americans have no Chinese names at all, such as the children of one of my college friend.  Or some people preferred to be known by their English names, or someone, when naturalized, have given up their Chinese given names and adopted a new name, thoroughly western.

To insist on calling them with their discarded name is rather disrespectful.  People need to be more sensitive.

More than once I had to tell the custom officers in China what my "Chinese name" was, even though I do not officially have one.  I have one name, which is western sounding and the "Chinese name" should be its phonetic transliteration.  But they would have none of such argument and I had to move the name I used when I was in China from the column of "Former Name" to "Chinese Name".  It felt rather being forced upon and unpleasant.

中國人总想知道華裔的“中國名字”。的确,许多華裔有兩個名字 - 一個英語和一個汉语名字,他們往往互相对不上号,因为他们不是拼音音譯,就象中國人民提及沒有中國血統的人的方式,如肯尼迪,里根,布什,克林頓和奧巴馬。在唐人街附近的散步会遇到眾多舊金山市長候選人傳單,炫耀他们的中國名字,但這些名字意味于我毫无意义,因為我只知道他們的官方(英文)名字,而这些名字和他们的中國名字对不上号。

。还有一些人只乐意用他们的英语名字,或有人歸化时,放弃其汉语名字, 采用徹底西方化的英文名字。


不止一次,中國的海關人員要我告訴他们 我的“中文名字”,即使我事实上已沒有这样的名字。我的名字是西方化的名字, 它的对应的“中文名字”應該是它的拼音音譯。但是他們听不进這種論點,因而我不得不將我的“曾用名”,挪到我的“中國名字”一欄。这是强迫的和不愉快的经历。

Chinese Election Flyer _ 4433

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