Given free reign to do whatever they want, Chinese people sometimes choose the weirdest names. One of our friends has a guy in his office named Elvis, another has a student who calls himself Valerie (and yes, he knew it was a girl’s name when he chose it). Now two authors, Valerie Blanco and Ellen Feberwee have written a 176-book on the cultural ramifications behind the strange names you see.
Called In China, My name is…, the book seeks to answer the question of why Chinese people adopt English names in the first place and how they choose them. As they explain to Fauna (speaking of weird names) on ChinaSMACK:
We asked a simple question: “Do you have an English name?” But behind this question lay many answers and insights ranging from China’s past to its future. This fascinated us, so we decided to hit the streets to see whether our analysis was right. We did our research in Shanghai.
We spoke with Chinese from different provinces and “social layers”; poor street workers, visitors off the Millionaire fair, religious monks, students and so on. Shanghai is a melting pot, attracting people from all over China. This gave us the chance to provide a broad perspective on this subject.
One of the people they found named himself Jessie Potter because he likes Harry Potter, but admitted “it’s hard to say if I have some kind of connection with him. I just like him. I use an English name because I have a lot of foreigner friends so it is very convenient for me.” Head over to ChinaSMACK to read more and win a book. And don’t forget to share your stories of fun names you’ve come across in comments here.