Monday, November 9, 2009

Chinglish Names

It is common for Chinese people to have English names in addition to their given Chinese names. In fact, all forms here have blanks for both Chinese and English names (for the same person). For such a common custom, though, these people pick some uncommon (translation: bizarro!) names.

This first came to my attention at the grocery store when the check-out lady's name tag said, "Cinderella". Strange, I thought. I shared it with a friend of mine here who clued me in that the majority of Chinese people's English names are taken from cartoon characters. She told me her husband worked with a Chinese guy named -- get ready for it -- Chewbacca! I kid you not. Can you imagine having to say things like, "Hey Chewbacca, can you send me that report when it's ready?" Or listen to the guy answer the phone every day, "Morgan Stanley, Chewbacca Ling speaking."

My friend surmises that Chinese kids are allowed to choose their English names in first grade. It's the only thing that can explain why people would have such queerball, juvenile names. Although let's be honest, even if I HAD picked a name like that in the first grade, I would've made sure it was changed to something more sensible later on in life. And who are these parents that allow their kids to choose such silly names? I guess you can't really inject reason into something so insane.

Lest you think I'm making all this up, I took a picture of a real estate circular we got in the mail recently. Check out the name of the agent (it's under her picture).

Ice Ho. She is one tough bitch!

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