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Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Three Words

No, not that one...not about expressing love to someone else.

This is about a Chinese name, well at least according to our "local Chinese' tribe".
Our local Chinese' names are always comprised of 3 words for everyone. First name at front is the family name (as opposed to European family name at the back), the middle name is the generation and the given name at back.

For example, a girl whose name is Ho Tan Yin means her given name is Yin, her family name is Ho and her generation is Tan. Generation name is useful to find out how she wants to call someone from the same family name, in the sense does she call this person auntie/uncle, brother/sister or grandpa/grannie. For instance, there is another person called Ho Sen Kuan. Sen is considered 2 generations older than Tan, therefore Yin has to call Kuan as grandpa.

According to the oldies in my family, the generation name is taken from a poem, which is usually written on the tomb of our ancestors. Presumably this is in China, therefore for those who want to get a complete poem for all generations in their big family trees, they have to look around the villages of their old ancestors. Not an easy thing to do to complete those three words.

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