On second thought, let’s not.
I have been sick for a week. Really sick. I felt fatigued for about 3 days, then last weekend I ached severely all over and developed a fever in the evening. It has only gotten worse from there. Top that with some girly-issues, unexplained disappointment, vomiting, and a cough that could peel paint off the walls…well, let’s just say I’ve had better weeks.
I thought that I would try to make up for the lack of attention to my site by offering you a bit of Hong Kong Fact.
I don’t know how many of you ladies out there feel about giving up your surname when you get married, which is tradition in the U.S. as well as many other countries, but I have to say that I struggled with it.
I guess I am proud of my own surname. It is who I am, from whence I came, and the name I have carried throughout my life so far. I know most guys when asked if they would forfeit their name for the sake of marriage would respond with an emphatic “Hell, no”.
I feel the same way, which is why I did not give up my name when I got married. I did compromise with Cybr by taking his name, but I was not willing to part with my own name. This process involved a lot of paperwork and a day in court to get it done the way I wanted it (I didn’t want to be hyphenated, I am personally not a big fan of the hyphen. Parenthesis I could have accepted, maybe even a semi-colon, but no hyphen).
Anyway, I am not sure that Cybr understood my decision but he certainly backed me up. I asked a female friend who is actually from Hong Kong (not just passing through) how names and marriage worked here and this is what she said:
Specifically, I asked her if women are expected to give up their surname and take their husbands’ name and she responded with a face distorted with shock and appall, “No WAY! No Hong Kong woman would give up her name, that is crazy”.
This is how it works here. Surname comes first, then given name (example: Cheung Lai-ming) and it is not appropriate to address someone by their given name unless you have been asked to do so or you are very close to that person, therefore making it assumed to be okay. It would be appropriate to address a woman as Miss Cheung. When a woman marries she takes her husbands’ name, keeps her own as well and is not to be addressed by her married name, it would be considered rude to do so. She would still be addressed as her maiden name, Miss Cheung (yes, Miss or Ms.), in day-to-day business, although her full name would now read Wong Cheung Lai-ming. It would also be considered rude to mention or dwell on her marital status.
Then the Western names come into play in Hong Kong, since English is the second language here. Then my make-believe persons name would read Lisa Wong Cheung Lai-ming and it would be okay to address this person by her Western name. It would also be more likely for a Hong Kong person, most especially the younger generations, to have a more outrageous Western name such as: Gforce, Milk, Polaris, Napoleon, White, Open, Cream, Jackal, or even Hitler.
I am totally serious about the outrageous Western names. Milk is actually on the name-tag of the young lady at the local FotoMax that prints a lot of my photos for me. See? Not making this up.
It is also perfectly acceptable and very common for a Hong Kong person to change their Western name periodically, as they have the free will to do so as often as they please as long as it isn’t registered with the HK government. If I were from here and could change my name at will, I would totally be sporting the name Kitty…yes, then everyone would see me and say, “Hello, Kitty!” and this would make me smile every single time it was said.
I just thought it was interesting how different something as simple and common as a name can be depending on region and culture.