What’s your name?

I hesitate every time people ask me this question the first time I meet them.

So many times when I told them my name is Alice, they would then ask, “No, I mean, your REAL name.” Like Alice is a fake name… well, kind of… But it’s for YOUR convenient! I know they are referring to my Chinese first name. I know they want to show respect to me by calling my “real” name. (but some are just curios, I know!!) And actually I don’t find calling me Alice is ignorant. It’s just a way how people identify me… If I tell you I am Alice, that means that’s how I want you to call me. It’s not “not” respecting me.

Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate when people remember my “real” name, which is my Chinese romanized first name, and they DO call me every time with this name. (I said they, but that’s only one or two PR professors at BYU and a couple in my ward!)

I thought about going by my Chinese romanized name, never use Alice again. But I gave up this thought when I saw people’s confused faces. Maybe, in their mind, I am just another Asian girl, and they won’t remember my name for another good six months.

And the romanized names are just the romanization of my REAL REAL Chinese name. But it IS on my birth certificate, so it also counts as my real name?

Now that I am married, a problem comes up pretty often in church. My name used in church is Alice + my married last name (1). That’s the only place I would use my married last name, since in church we are a couple. Not that we are not in other places… But you know what I mean?? It’s VERY annoying to change my last name in ALL my documents. So many government documents and school document. Too much $$ and hassle. So I am Alice +maiden name in all other places. When people need to write a check to me for whatever reasons, I always need to tell them Alice 1 is not my legal name… and blah blah blah (Alice wasn’t my legal bank name, but it’s my nickname… yea… nickname.)

And then they would ask why I picked Alice as my English name. Haha… because I needed one, so my teacher gave me one. I don’t think my parents care about that haha. And yes, they would be amazed by how a teacher can choose my name. And they would be even more amazed by how I can just change my name NOW!! I can be Mary this week and Joyce next week!

I am actually pretty happy about this. I don’t mind people calling my “fake” name! My true identity will be forever hidden. None of a part of my Facebook name is my legal name!! And at work, when annoying customers ask for my name, I can always give them different names.

What do you think?


3 thoughts on “What’s your name?

  1. Ah yes this old problem! I’m lucky that my parents gave me a Christian first name and Chinese middle name. I only ever really got questioned a lot about that as a child but then I was the only Chinese person in an all white class… My dad was given his name by his teacher too! He’s got the hassle of the legal name biz and has a notarised document to say both names mean him. It’s a hard life!

    Liked by 1 person

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