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?