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11/19/2011

I am Chin Leng Chua

This is how PayPal addressed me in an email. So my shift in editorial policy is in a way forward looking, and accepting a new reality, that Chinese name should be written in the same format as western names. Maybe that’s how the word bastard comes about, bastardising. And so far no one seems to have any issue with it. The only little irritation is that for those westerners who have been to Asia and are familiar with the Chinese convention, they are going to address me as Mr Chin. On the other hand the ignorant country bumpkin westerners would now be happy and correctly addressing me as Mr Chua.

Some of our sophisticated western educated elite are more far sighted and have long given up the thousand years of tradition of writing their Chinese name the wrong way. Many are happily and proudly writing their family names on their backside. They are the trend setter of Singaporean Chinese or Chinese Singaporeans.

I think it is okay to write our names anyway we like, be flexible and even be regarded as modern, avant garde. I just thought of another way of writing Chinese name, not an original idea as I have seen some media doing it oledy. Okay I can write my name as Chua, Chin Leng. The comma will now denote that it is my family name or first name and people will know what it means.

Nevermind the intricacies. People will understand when they look at them. John Smith shall also be written as Smith, John, like the telephone directory. Clinton, Hilary, or Lee, Hsien Loong. This is getting interesting except for so many commas.

Let’s see how it goes. Maybe two weeks later I might come out with another foolish way of writing Chinese names. My main intention is to standardise the way names are written so that everyone can understand how to address the person correctly. My little blog is the least significant place to try to set an international convention in name writing. Perhaps Singapore, with our ability to punch above our weight, should be influential enough to do such a thing. Maybe one of our world renowned institutions can form a committee with a few prominent professoris, foreign talents better still, to formulate a new world order in how names, east and west, should be written. But a note of caution. Just make sure that their credentials are not fake.

The thousand years of civilisation and how names shall be written to be acceptable in this modern world must now give way because we Singaporeans are confusing the world with our frivolous ways of writing names to accommodate the English speaking world. Instead of making things better, more are getting confused. So we need to live to our name as a trend setter, not follower, to lead the world in name writing.

What other queer combinations can we come up with?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr Chua Chin Leng;

the Day when all Singaporeans are westernized and converted, they will accept that Singapore was founded 50 years ago.
And there is indeed a nationality known as Singaporean with no connection whatsoever with their origins. They are Singaporeans in nationality as well as a Race. Bastards will be a norm too to other new norms that You had mentioned before.

patriot

agongkia said...

Uncle Bean,Mr Chua and my dear farmer patriot

I am Goh Ah Gong.I am call Ah Gong because I am being humble,admit that my IQ is below 0.So Gong Gong Chia Thee Kong.
Heng Ah,In Hanyu pinyin,Goh Ah Gong is read as Goh Ah Kong.The angmor's way of writing name in passport is something that I am looking forward to .
I use to write in my passport,Ah Gong,Goh when I travel,and those friendly people will address me as Ah Kong,which mean Grandfather.

I am a grandfather to everyone when I write my name in their way.
I like it.Please call me Ah Gong or Ah Kong.,instead of Agongkia Goh.hehe

XYZ said...

In case you have not noticed for many years former minister George Yeo was formally stated in the Government Gazette as George Chong Boon Yeo

Baby Names said...

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Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi XYZ and Baby Names, welcome to the blog.

And Agongkia and Patriot, seriously, the way the Chinese write their names has been settled for more than 5000 years. And a lot of thoughts have been put into it on why it should be written that way. It is best that we stick to this convention and not to confuse the rest of the world by writing it in all kinds of ways.

From the cultural and philosophical aspect, putting the family name first reflects the importance of family over self. Family comes first. And this also has other implications like genetics. The family name will identify the same clan and helps to prevent inter marriages of first cousins which will have negative genetical consequences for the next generation.

The European's philosophy of life places the individual ahead of the family. And that is how they write their names.

Personally I think George Yeo's name should be written as George Yeo Chong Boon. It conforms to both eastern and western convention. This was how it was written in the early days until the more sophisticated Singaporeans try to be too clever and start changing here and there.

It is better to stick to a standard way to make it easy for everyone. The individuality, the creativity, the uniqueness, can go by the names chosen eg Frangipani Tan Pan Ni.

Anonymous said...

Simply west refuse to respect east culture. Their way is the right way. Intolerant bastards.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think that George Yeo should be written as George Yeo Chong Boon.
Why must the angmor name be in front of the Chinese surname?Again angmor bigger?Or George's father is an Angmor?
Yeo Chong Boon,George should be the way to write ,if one want to be geh ang mor.
But what to do,so many being brainwash to think angmor is bigger.Leader like dat,khakia blindly follow.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The fault is not with the angmoh but with the keh angmoh. It is our name and it how we want to write our name. The angmoh did not say we must write it their way.

It is their custom to write their individual name first and family name second. So George Bush is George Bush and not Bush George.

When one chooses to use an angmoh name like George, then it should rightfully be George Yeo, while his Chinese name is Yeo Chong Boon.

It is funny to be Yeo George or Chong Boon Yeo.

Anonymous said...

A rose by any name smells as sweet.
As for names, as a Chinese, my Surname must be in the First Position. Other than the reasons explained by Mr Chua Chin Leng, my affiliation to my ancestors is forever. And this shall be the case with my successors as well.

Let's respect what the angmos and others want to do with themselves. Others have to respect us Chinese too and i dare say that except for those with poor upbrings, most do treat us with respect.

patriot

Anonymous said...

Well, get Gerald Ee to lead the committee. After all, he is the expert having sat in every committees that the garmen set up. We can't do without him, can we....?!

Anonymous said...

Let the West or Kay-ang-mo try to change the way we write our Chinese names, we just carry on with the usual format. There is nothing they can do about it, not since the last several thousand years.

Take your birth certificates, passports or graduation certificates or scrolls for example. They have to follow what you want them to call you, not what they tell you to follow what they want to call you.

Of course some Easterners may think it is stylish or fashionably up to date to follow the Western format and allow the whites to change their salutation. Then it becomes commonly brainless having their surnames all over the wrong places, thus confusing even the Chinese and Confucius himself.

Unless you yourself desire or do not mind them changing your surname for you eg from Chua Chin Leng to Chin Leng Chua, then it is difficult to complain.

Anonymous said...

If there is a problem, we really should blame ourselves.

All my western friends ever wanted from me was; "How would you like me to address you?" Western culture respects the individual. They are waiting to hear from us how we want to be called.

So it's really up to Singaporeans to make up our minds. Stand firm. Explain ourselves.

Our "leaders" have been too unnecessarily "accommodating" to foreigners to set a tone as to how we should be addressed in our own country.
And we the sheeple of Singapore have been too polite & obedient to tell our leaders that they need to remove their heads from the purging end of their digestive canal.

Blame it on ourselves.
We have too little self-respect to even care how we are called.
Everything thing only efficiency & money.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Okay, let me repeat this once more. The westerners did not demand that we change the way we write our names. Yes, many will ask how they should address us correctly.

It is the duckweeds, those that have very short roots that think it is stylist or the right way to write their names the wrong way.

We should stop being silly and start to respect ourselves if we want others to respect us. I always write my family name first. Even when I write in initial, Chua CL and not CL Chua: )

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Just to add one more point. We should stop confusing the westerners by sticking with the correct way of writing our names. It is when some jokers try to write differently that makes life difficult for the westerners'

Lim Kay Tong gets along fine without having to call himself Kay Tong Lim.

The said...

/// Okay I can write my name as Chua, Chin Leng. The comma will now denote that it is my family name or first name and people will know what it means. ///

Make up your mind, redbean - is Chua your family name (surname) or first name (given name or personal name)?

Or do you mean comma is your family name?

;)

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi The, enough of this flirtation with shallowness.

In my latest article above on Kuan Yew Lee, I have explained that this provocative position is rubbish and should be abandoned for good. My name is Chua Chin Leng. Period.

But I hope this discussion has in some way make people relook at the issue and to reexamine what should be the right and proper way to write their names.

Anonymous said...

I have not heard people calling Mao Tse Tung as Tse Tung Mao.

I have yet to hear people calling Hu Jintao as Jintao Hu.

Wen Jiabao is still Wen Jiabao and not Jiabao Wen.

Now, why does the Western media not try changing the surnames of these illustrious people? Because these people respect their ancestry, have pride in their surnames and tolerate no fools trying to create confusion with something as important as their surnames.

Why invite foolishness and confusion by allowing others to address us in strange westernised style? What do we gain from it?

Anonymous said...

The Chinese would not have such problems. It only happens to sinkies who think they are angmoh or want to be like angmoh.

It may also happen to overseas Chinese that are brought up in western societies and educated in English.

Anonymous said...

How to find Mr Tan in the telephone directory if Tan is to be written as the last name?

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Anonymous said...

1. In media, as the previous anonymous reply indicated, those Chinese gov't leaders' names are put properly.
E.g. XI Jinping, HU Jintao, Ma Ying-jeou, Lee Hsien long
2. When I registered my baby girl's name, the officer used '(English given name - optional) (Chinese surname) (Chinese given name)'.

my personal conclusion is with Mr. CHUA's suggestion - as a Chinese, we should stick to the Chinese way: (Chinese surname) (Chinese given name) in our own Asian(Chinese) societies (mainland, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong)

note:1) for email address convention, I am not against the following:
jinping.xi@microsoft.com
ying-jeou.ma@microsoft.com
hsienloong.lee@microsoft.com

2) if a Chinese person is registered with US or UK gov't or institutions, it could be(English given name) (Chinese given name) [or] (Chinese given name) (Chinese given name). It's logical to have one and only one standard over there. In my opinion, we are not in a good position to ask them to put (surname) before (given name) specially for Chinese minority.

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