1. There is also the additional level of confusion when you add the differentiation between the mandarin and dialect pronunciation of chinese names.

    Like in Singapore, my Christian given name is Daniel, my chinese name is Chee him and my family name is Leong which follows the Cantonese dialect of pronunciation.

    However, in mandarin (the official/imperial language), my family name is Liang, my chinese name is Zhi qian.

    While there is no difference of spelling in the chinese language, the difference in english stems from the difference in pronunciation in Cantonese and Mandarin.

    Hence, my I.D Card has both. “Daniel Leong Chee Him” and “Liang Zhiqian”. The 3 syllables of my name spelt 2 different ways in english. I’m sure Junwen has it too, based on his dialect group, I just can’t remember his. Hee…

    P.S: Hi you 2! *wave*

    • The Dutchinese Couple

      *Waves back* Hi there Daniel! Thanks for explaining even more complexities to the name “issue”! Since Singapore is leading much of the world in the merger of East and West, it’s interesting to see how it handles differences as seemingly small as names and identification—but which actually have a big impact on an individual!

      So interesting that your “name order” is “Christian Given Name + Family Name + Chinese Given Name”. I imagine if you traveled to a Western country, ignorant people might call you “Mr. Him”, but in Singapore, I suppose because people know this is a standard naming scheme (and because they would recognize “Leong” as a surname), there wouldn’t be the confusion.

      Junwen did tell me about the different spellings for the dialect vs. Mandarin, but I never imagined your I.D. card having both Anglicized spellings on there! Do you actually use the different spellings for different situations? What I did learn was that our surname (Lin) is the Mandarin pronunciation of 林, but the Hokkien pronunciation of 林 is “Lim”, so Junwen’s dad’s surname is actually “Lim”. By the time Junwen and his brother were born, however, the naming scheme had switched over to Mandarin spellings…thus “Lin”. THEN, I learned that our friend with the Anglicized surname “Lam” IS ALSO 林!

      Like I said, it’s super interesting to see how Singapore is handling the meshing of East and West, since it (alongside Hong Kong perhaps) is really at the forefront of merging cultures! ^_^ Thanks for sharing!

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