This week’s post is a very thought provoking dissemination of common Asian naming conventions by none other than guest writer Vannie Sung! Hopefully, we as a SAPL community can help shed some light on this topic. Take it away, Vannie!
Secretly, I like to think that having a second alias makes me sort of an undercover agent, which functions as the “James Bond” link to my identity. As a first-generation Asian-American (born here in the United States to immigrant parents), my genes (hypothetically speaking) make me a hybrid of both cultures. Yet, I’m more known to my family and acquaintances by my American pseudonym. Although my Chinese name holds more meaning (each character translates separately), ironically it means less to me since I identify with “Vannie” more (whereas “Vannie” is just…”Vannie”.) In addition, I’ve tended to notice that most Asian-Americans I know introduce themselves as “common” names (Christine, Jonathan, etc.) while the international students I meet simply flip their names- stating their last, then their first.
Upon their attempt to settle in this country, my parents changed their names so that they sound more “Americanized”; their explanation is that it’s easier to pronounce for foreigners. I know that they’re not the only ones (at least, I hope not), so why do we do this? Is it because when we are mandated to make ourselves known- such as filing tax returns or even simply filling out a raffle form, we’re automatically profiled? (Once again, this relates to my previous entry on racial profiling) Through this act of assimilation, why do we consciously conceal our identities? And besides, once our last names are revealed, the jig is up anyway.
As double agents, it’s typical behavior to avoid being discovered for who we are. But should we have reason to be afraid?
Last 5 posts by Peter
- #144 Donnie Yen (Ip Man 3 DVD Release) - April 27th, 2016
- #143 Managing Restaurants (ft. Professor Chen) - July 20th, 2015
- #142 "Lindorsements" (Being Linteresting) - October 2nd, 2014
- #141 - The Colbert Report / Conan O'Brien Show - January 23rd, 2014
- #140 Linsanity (The Movie) - January 2nd, 2014