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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.)

Any suggestions?

One Comment

  1. Chen1 wrote:

    Man! If you want a good name that at the same time resembles the pronounciation of your real name, that’s gona be hard. That is: 鱼与熊掌不可兼得。Anyway, you do know what Confucius said that you quoted is not really about names, right?

    Thursday, August 3, 2006 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

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