Friday, April 25, 2008

Should I adapt a French name?

I'm not talking about last name.

It has been 4 weeks I started working, and there are only two coworkers who manage to call me by name. One of them is my manager. The rest, they would say excuse me before continuing with their business.

All because I have an Asian name which is not so common in France. Since they don't use batch and the door is broken, there is no visual object to display my first name. So, I brought a name tag with my full name to the company, still they couldn't recall, and was afraid of the wrong pronunciation I guess.

I got by in US by letting them call me Bee instead of Bee Ean. In my master class in France everyone managed to call me by Bee Ean after several weeks. I know it is very painful, but I have resisted to adapt a Christian name all along. Now, I'm seriously thinking about make everyone's life easy, by simply calling myself Jennifer, or Catherine or something like that.

What do you think? Any suggestion on name?

PS: We are heading to Brittany this weekend to meet with a bunch of cousins whom we have never met or only meeting them once. Great food on the way...


  1. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Hi Bee Ean,

    How about Eana :-)

  2. Anonymous12:27 AM

    its difficult for the europeans to remember asian first names, just like I can't remember well everybody's first name in Europe except those I work very closely with. As there are 2 Nathalie in the office, so they tried to call my Chinese name, with pronunciation mistake and I correct them if it's wrong. I would accept if they call me Nathalie or Chui Fung, ça m'égale.

  3. Hi Bee Ean,
    I have the same dilemma like you too, most of my colleagues had difficulties remembering my name at first, but I'm glad they took the effort to remember and now it's not a problem anymore, I resisted the temptation to adapt any Christian names.

    Although my German lecturer coined me a German name, it's Felicitas :) .

  4. Bee Ean,

    It is so interesting you should blog this topics :).

    When I was in Australia 30 years back, no body knew how to call my Chinese name Lay Hoon, while I was working in the factory during summer holiday, there were a lot of older European like Greek, Italian , Yugoslave, and Chez, they decided to name it Jamy. I went along with them. Then the name got stuck and I used that the 15 over years I was in Australia.

    When I moved to US, I was very surprised that most of my teachers, coworkers, classmates, friends think Hoon Tan is cooler than Jamy Tan. They kept asking me why don't you want us to call you Hoon Tan than Jamy Tan, I said if you can pronounce it, by all means, so in Amreica, I am called more by Hoon than Jamy :).

    Our city is pretty cosmopolitans as far as diversity is concern because of the student population in University of Florida. It has the biggest international students throughout the S.Eastern United states. I think out of the 60k students, at least 1/2 of the students are international.

    We have so many cultural festivals here from Indian, Chinese , Latin Americans to European.

    No I decided to use back my Chinese name cos most of them thought it is a cool name :):).

    I think Jennifer and Catherine are too corny, why not chose something leaning towards Chinese tune like Mindy (Chinese would be Ming Lee), Mandy (Chinese would be Man Lee), or even Amy (Chinese would be Ai Mei) , or even BeLin (sound like Bee Ean), sound cool ? :).


  5. BE,
    In fact, Mandy is Amanda in short. Not all Angmo names are Christian names lah, a lot of Angmo are ethiast lah. Just because they are white does not mean they are Christians lah. Like just because you are born in the car garage does not guarantee you are a car :):):).

    Ai Casper,
    Wow, Eana eh ? Like the latin american revolutionist kah ? he he he.


  6. Anonymous3:34 AM

    I have the same problem here in Australia & yes I do use a Christian name just so they know how to address me but it's not my name & never will be.

  7. I will try to use "Bee" now, see how it goes. Actually people start to realize that the weird name who sent emails to them is actually that Asian girl. :-)

  8. Anonymous2:30 PM

    well i don't think most French would think that asian names are weird unless they are from those really ulu ulu places. Most of my colleagues call me with my chinese name and some of them even ask me what it means. I think that they do have some sense that we are named different ways.

  9. Bonjour, my name is Bee Ean.. call me Bee!

    Yeah! I would think Bee is nice!

  10. Anonymous7:12 PM

    You should be different.if you're chinese let them call u by your chinese name.
    if they really is honest being friend with you and respect you in a way that have different name and have a meaning to that, they would be able to call you by your name. same goes to u calling their names.