This week’s Chinese-language column will be about my (thus far unfruitful) efforts to pick a new Chinese name. I had originally planned to write something about leaving Philadelphia – basically, a Chinese version of a post I’ve been meaning to write on bokane.org for the last 6 months – but have decided to put this off, partly because I’m now unhappy with English and Chinese drafts I’ve written of the entry, and partly because it’s been a while since I’ve been funny in the column, and I suspect that people are getting sick of me writing about city life.
Premise for the piece: my existing Chinese name sucks; I’ve been wanting to change it, but have yet to find a name that doesn’t sound ridiculous, generic, gay, nerdy, like a martial arts novel character, or Taiwanese. The title will be 正名, “On the Rectification of Names,” thus allowing me to give a shout-out to Confucius in the first line:
“子曰: ‘名不正，则言不顺；言不顺，则事不成.’ — 怪不得迄今为止我一事无成!”
(The Master said: ‘If naming is not correct, speech will not be in accordance [with reality]. If speech is not in accordance [with reality], then nothing can succeed.” No wonder I’m such a loser!)
(Well, it’s kind of funny in Chinese, if not funny ha-ha.)