Yesterday over lunch my colleagues and I discussed weird English names in Hong Kong – this is a common and such a lighthearted topics for a Friday lunch, you won’t believe it.
I had written about Chinese names a long time ago, I guess a post of English names was long overdue!
In Hong Kong, almost every Chinese person has an English name, and a lot of official forms will ask you for both, your Chinese and your English name. The English name is either picked by the parents, or it could also be chosen by the child him/herself.
I’ve come across several food names in Hong Kong, which usually apply to a girl: Apple, Ginger, Milk, Sugar, Candy, Strawberry, Chili and even Oreo!
Then there are weather and season names: My colleague is called Summer, I’ve met a Rain (girl), a Sunny (boy) and a Cloud (boy). Apparently Rainbow and Snow are quite common too.
Some boys have interesting names too. So far I’ve met a King, a Stone, a Wing… and there must be many more. Some just added ‘Son’ to the name, I met a Mikeson and a Jamesson through the hiking group (I guess Nelson doesn’t count, that’s actually an accurate historic name).
There are so many examples that one blogger keeps a list titled HKSAR Name of the Day on the HKSAR Blog, which has almost 1,500 entries in the list.
My colleagues told me that you could also give a colour as a name to a kid: Blue, Green, Red and Purple are all colours/names they’ve come across. I’m not sure if these names would actually suit a boy or girl, what do you reckon?
I’m really curious why all these ‘strange’ names exist. One reason might be that the people of Hong Kong want to be unique and have a name to stand out. Another reason could be that some people do not 100% understand English names. In Hong Kong, Chinese names have a meaning – so they may think that naming their child “Pretty” or “Strong” is a normal thing.
The Atlantic featured an interesting article about this topic too, you can read it here.