I was deciding which name I should use while opening a new account on an English-interfaced self-management service just now:
When I typed Susan Hsu in as my Name, I faltered. Really? Am I gonna live by an English name which has nothing to do with my identity for my whole life whenever I am in a Western environment? It occurred to me that I should put my works aside for a while and probe online to see what others opinions on this matter are.
While I have long known the argument mentioned in this article written by ZhePing Huang on Quartz — CALL ME PING: After being James, Peter, and William, I decided to stick with my Chinese name — it managed to pour a big bloody freezing bucket of water over my head.
My first job outside my conventional educational field has required me to use a nickname to make it easier for everyone to familiarize with, instead of my actual name (I never had any nicknames because I actually grow up hating being called anything besides my Chinese full name, 徐逸珊), and I was clearly blinded by the ecstasy of getting the job and didn’t think much then, thus simply introduced myself to my colleagues as "Susan" ( which has since stuck; but that was beside the point.)
I have used Susan as my English name since as early as I could remember, however it has never identified with me. Now I wonder whether it's because I feel best sticking to my given Chinese name, which carries my parents’ expectations and good wish, or it’s due to the Chinese culture deeply rooted in my bones, and no matter how well my understanding of Western culture has developed, I identify with being a Taiwanese through and through.
I understand the means of adopting a foreign name when learning a new language — one could immerse oneself in the environment and accept said language easier when do so. However, a lot of companies/corporations/clubs seem to carry this idea a bit too far (at least for me) so as to calling everyone by their English names even when there is no English speaker among the group.
Does called by English names really boost overall self-evaluation? Make people feel like they are working for an IB or MNC? Or is it inferiority complex that spurs people to do so? The reason behind this whole name issue might not be that complicated or deep, but it still might give practisers mental hints.
Well, my name, YiShan, could be pronounced as a combination of the long E in Easter and the San in San Francisco, so the problems mentioned in the quoted article does not apply to me, and I would be more than happy to introduce the accurate pronunciation as well as the meaning behind each Chinese character to foreigners. With this affirmation in mind, I confidently switched back to the registration page and put down “Yishan Hsu” in the name column happily.
Please do comment if you got any thought on this matter and is willing to share it with me!