"the evolution of asian names"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Living in Malaysia, we have a large majority of chinese residents (such as myself) and generally, chinese names are not very easy to remember, and there are many names which are incredibly common.

For example, Tan Sue Ann can have variations of Yeoh Sue Ann, Lim Sue Ann, Wong Sue Ann, etc. And other common names include Mei Ling, Yen Ling, Mei Yee, etc. Hence, understandably, why so many of them are inclined to christen themselves a first name. I am one of the few who have been given an English name at birth, so I didn't need one.

But for the rest who do need an English name to be more memorable, some of them just don't know how to pick a NORMAL name. By normal names I mean like Michelle, Brian, Richard, Stella, Mary, Sam, Brandon, etc. Even names inspired by seasons and calendar dates are considered alright (June, April, Summer, Winter, etc).

In Malaysia (and I'm pretty sure most of Asia as well) we have some pretty weird and ridiculous choice of names. To avoid offending anyone, I'll be using my surname 'Lim' to pair with those ridiculous names. If you happen to share my surname, then too bad. Here are some of the categories found in self-christened Asian names.

**Names are based on people I've met, seen or heard about. These are not made up. Surnames have been changed to mine (Lim) to protect the individuals' privacy.

Rationally, colors are much easier to remember, which is why I think they chose to name themselves this way. I have met a range of Violet Lim, Red Lim, Blue Lim and also Maroon Lim (inspired by Maroon 5 perhaps?). I've yet to meet or hear about other colors.

I think these are the most commonly used – something to do with feng shui perhaps? There's Skyblue Lim, Cloudy Lim, Sunny Lim, Wind Lim, Woody Lim, Hill Lim and Songwind Lim. The last name is really ridiculous. To be fair, Woody is sort of a cowboy name. However, Woody Lim sounds ridiculous and perhaps that name only sounds legit when it's something like Woody Wallace. As for Skyblue Lim,  he sounds like someone I could go to for the weather forecast.

I've yet to meet people named Steak, Cauliflower, Cookie or Pomegranate; but will keep looking. The ones that do exist; Lemon Lim, Orange Lim, Apple Lim, Milky Lim, Sushi Lim (but spelt as Sooshi), Candy Lim, Taufoo Lim (taufoo means bean curd), Soya Lim, Pepper Lim, Cocoa Lim (spelt as Coco),   and Egg Lim.

I guess names like Candy and Coco are more acceptable (e.g. Coco Chanel - which obviously sounds more posh than Coco Lim.. hahaha) But fruity names like Apple is extremely overused here. Why not something more Malaysian, like Durian Lim.

I guess asian geeks have a say in names too. Some existing examples; Cyber Lim, Iceblue Lim, Mafex Lim, Faxkey Lim, Orion Lim, Xerxes Lim, Alien Lim, Mars Lim, Jupiter Lim, Vortex Lim, Zark Lim and so much more which I just can't remember. Some are passable names, and some are just downright ridiculous. Like Faxkey – wtf? You guys missed out on Monitor, Keyboard, Flashdrive, etc.

I guess if we can have food, there shouldn't be any surprise when the animal category comes up. Names like Tiger Lim, Lion Lim (Leo is acceptable, Lion is not), Cheetah Lim, Mouse Lim, Cat Lim (spelt as Kat, which is fairly acceptable), Kitty Lim, Gator Lim (Alligator?), Wolf Lim, Eagle Lim, Spider Lim, Bee Lim, Dragon Lim, Phoenix Lim, Cobra Lim, and so on.

From animals to insects to mythical creatures – we have it all. Someone once told me about a person named Chimpanzee, but I don't know how true that is. Can you imagine, a guy named Chimpanzee? Imagine introducing this dude to your dad, "Hey daddy, meet my boyfriend Chimpanzee." LOL.

This group of people are fans of trees, plants and minerals. They are; Stone Lim, Oak Lim, Tree Lim, Bamboo Lim, River Lim, Copper Lim, Iron Lim, Silver Lim, Pebble Lim, Herby Lim (Herb?), Leaf Lim, Grass Lim, Flower Lim, Nectar Lim, etc. I personally think Silver is a beautiful name, but names like Oak? Really?

Because there's just no other ways to categorize these – they're a mix of words and adjectives. They are; Happy Lim, Shiny Lim, Sad Lim, Murder Lim, Hero Lim, Legend Lim, Journey Lim, Zig Lim (zigzag?), Orient Lim,  Xylo Lim (xylophone?), Dandy Lim, etc.

I have to say, Orient Lim wins the round here - can't get more asian than that. And well Murder Lim, she was someone my aunt spoke to on the phone – Murder was working as a over the phone service person, can you imagine that?

I guess that about all I can think of for now. What are the other weird names you've come across?

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  1. I can't stop laughing here Michelle! i hope i am not in one of those categories LOL

  2. Hahaha, your name is Jessy, so obviously you're not one of them. :)

  3. Your blog really made my day! Dictionary group is the most funny among all. Personally i have seen people who name Murder in Facebook (one of my friend's bf), kinda different with yours because is a HE. Maybe we can conclude Murder is an unisex name. Wish to see more from you :D

  4. I just read this post and found this utterly hilarious yet true. I've met an Icecream, a Stallion, Power, and Snowflake in my life and I find it really hard to stifle a laugh but you can't help but give them credit that it makes them really memorable.

  5. Hahaha! Power?! That's hilarious. Someone told me about a person named Rabbit – but because they can't pronounce properly, she calls herself Labbit. Hahahahaha!

  6. Nice one Michelle! Got me laughing non stop when reading all those names.. Haha!

  7. My old flatmate from uni was called Seven. :| Maybe he's the seventh son and his older siblings are one, two, three, three a (cos he's from china so 4 should be suay), five and six.
    Also heard of Sunday also. :| And Eiffel... Fish... lol! I guess that's what I can think of at the mo :P good post this one!

  8. Seven is fairly acceptable but Three A?! That's so sad.
    Hahaha, Fish is the worst name one could ever name themselves. The amount of jokes I can make, if only I know someone with that name. :p


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