Friday, August 17, 2007

Wasai--- Making a name for yourself in Taiwan

Years ago, as an English teacher in Indiana, I learned to quickly memorize the names of students from four points of the globe. I couldn't pronounce them worth beans, but I could remember a basketful of Chinese names like nobody's business. Then, I had my first Taiwanese students. A joke going around the teacher's room at that time was, "My name is Bing-wang Flung, but you can call me Bob" referred to the Taiwanese fashion of adopting a Western name to make it easier to make friends with Westerners.

The trend can be traced back to te British colonial period in Hong Kong and the arrival of Christian missionaries. Some names, then, came from the Bible, such as Matthew James, Luke, Ringo. . . while others come from a dictionary. Some are chosen because they just sound cool.

Here is a list of some of the students that passed through our school this summer:There was, Silence, a quiet college student with a beautiful sounding name. Equal, a pudgy second grader; Clear, a bright-eyed young girl, and Juice a young college student who sat next to a girl named Apple.

One session, there was a girl named coconut who came back the next session named Mistubishi, and returned for a third shot of English with the name Computer.

I've given placement tests to Adonis, Neptune, Shiva, Orange, and Shagya (Oh be-Have). There were Yo-Yo, Ya-Ya, and Shoo. Shopping, Siting, Sing and Sting.

No idear where these came from: Sard, Bluce, Pevis, Junith, Chims, and Torocee.

There was Tangent, whom I never met, and Nomad who didn't stay around for too long. Septum was another one who deviated from the norm.

It could be worse. There was a noodle shop downtown called King Wang.

Paul Batt

For Expats

For Taiwanese

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also have a self-chosen English name and i like it a lot. Having a western-like name actually leads to some degrees of convenience, especailly when it comes to introducing self to foreigners.