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Old 24.05.2008, 14:35
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Re: Racial frustrations

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The main reason why Asian people (or Chinese) find it easier to adopt a "foreign" name is because it's easier for non-Mandarin speaking people to remember and to pronounce. It's not that we are ashamed of our culture or language (although a small handful of us are) but for the most part, it's out of convenience. It's honestly much easier to pronounce "Tarik" or "Taufik" than "Zhuang" or "Xuan" correctly. So rather than let our names be verbally mutilated, it's easier to adopt an English name for convenience. For me, "Lee" is easy. So I often introduce myself as "Lee". So I would like to suggest that you consider it from that angle too. With all due respect, I honestly find your comment/question about Asians (about us adopting western names in general) rather distasteful and mildly offensive.
Well, no offence was intended on my part. I'm not sure which part of my comment was offensive, but I apologise if I offended anyone.

My comment was that, Asians tend to adopt English names, and I think it is ok for non-Asians to be curious about that fact. But the curiousity should not be confused with racism.

The topic you have raised is why Asians tend to adopt English names.

I think these are two different issues.

The issue of Asians adopting English names has nothing to do with racism; it has to do with what one culture is doing in order to assimilate into another culture. And my general observation is that it is more common for Asians to adopt an English name than it is for any other culture. Hence, I can understand why a Swiss would ask an Asian person why they have an English name because it is not common in other cultures.

But to answer your request to consider things from your angle (and to look at why some people adopt English names), I think this is a personal choice.

Perhaps you didn't read all of my post, because I, too, am Asian and I have an Asian name. As you have put it (but not in such strong words), my name is often "verbally mutilated". Though, I don't feel the need to adopt an English name "for convenience". For who's convenience?

Perhaps this comes down to what experiences we have had with people mispronouncing our names and how we have reacted in such instances. If you feel more comfortable with a western name, then that is a personal choice.

For me, if one has to learn how to pronounce a Swiss name, a Swiss should not feel put out if they have to learn how to pronounce a Chinese name. The world would be a boring place if everyone had an English/western/anglo name.