No one knows my birth name anymore
They call me Mary
The name means bitter
Bitterness imposed by the nuns
Who cannot pronounce Serene Orchid in my tongue
Bitterness will do
I’m not an orchid
I am not serene
(c) Mary Tang
About names: At Good Hope School in Hong Kong almost all of us Chinese girls had English names. Some were given at enrolment; others, as for my friend Brenda were suggested by teachers at school.
Hong Kong was a British colony then and Chinese language was demeaned as secondary. Britain handed the colony back to China in 1997, so the world may see less Chinese with English names – who knows? Some of my Chinese Calligraphy students (Australians) took Chinese names and sign their work with them. The world evolves.