Articles

what’s in a name?

In stories on August 25, 2004 by carinasuyin

Up till aeons ago, I used to believe that my Chinese given name was bequeathed by Ah Kong who wanted his first granddaughter to be named Shiyun. However, Atah laughed it off as some tall tale as there was never such a thing according to him. My name was chosen by my dad, as simple as that. “Then, how do you explain that the next two granddaughters in the Ong family were named Tze Ying and Xiao Yun respectively? Don’t those two names sound a tad too similar to mine?” I asked. “Haiyah, your uncles all have no ideas of their own. They also like your name so they copylah. But the one I gave you is the best; original, of course.” Atah answered with a grin. Ah Kong passed away long before I was even born, so my story was never clarified. Figment of my imagination or not, I’d like to keep the story because it is my only link to the grandfather I never got to know.

Shi[1] means poem/poetry/verse and Yun [4] means rhyme/rhythm. Loosely translated, my given name means the `rhythm of a poem’. Su Yin is the English or Bahasa Malaysia spelling of my name. Growing up, I can’t recall ever being addressed as Shiyun. It was always Su Yin. I have a strong suspicion that Atah chose the English spelling of the name before the Chinese characters. Otherwise my name would be spelt Shiyun or its dialect derivative. Carina, my baptismal name was chosen by me from a book of saints’ names. I had simply loved the sound of the name. The fact that there is an entire constellation by that name helped too! I didn’t really search for the meaning of the name or about the namesake patron saint. Anyway, put together, my initials spell COSY which delighted silly me to no ends.

Intrigued by what other possible meanings or attributes my name might have and whether they concur with each other (yes, I am that bored and that sampat!), I did a simple search through some online websites and found the following:

Suyin
The name of Suyin has given you an appreciation for many beautiful and refined aspects of life–music and art, literature, drama–and the outdoors, where you find much peace and relaxation, but it creates a far too sensitive nature. You sense and feel much that you do not understand, and sometimes you are alarmed at your thoughts and wonder about their origin. You rarely experience the tranquility that comes with stability of thinking or emotional control. At times, you are very inspired, desiring to be with people and to entertain others as the “life of the party,” while at other times you are aloof and choose to remove yourself entirely from association. You crave understanding and affection but your intensity of desire and your self-consciousness prevent you from finding the happiness you desire. You have suffered many disappointments and misunderstandings because of your inability to express your inner thoughts.

Shiyun
The name of Shiyun creates a happy, versatile, and expressive nature, with good business judgment and a fine sense of responsibility, which should enable you to establish congenial relationships in positions of trust where you are dealing with the public. You have a clever, quick mind, with the ability to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time, although it is not easy for you to systematize your efforts. This name could allow expression along musical and artistic lines and gives you the desire to entertain and to meet and mix with people of refinement and culture. It also brings out your love of home and family, and in close association you are able to show understanding and affection. Others are attracted by your generosity and your consideration of their interests. Although this name is well balanced, if it is combined with a surname that is not harmonious, you would tend to worry and find it difficult to organize your efforts.

Carina
The name of Carina creates a friendly, sociable, charming nature, but causes you to be too easily influenced by others. While you find it easy to meet and mix, and can appear agreeable and compromising in conversation, you can become dogmatic and forceful if pressed too far. Others learn that you cannot be told what to do and you seldom change your mind once it is made up. You prefer situations that allow a degree of independence, but are reluctant to take on a demanding work-load or responsibility. In a position dealing with the public, you could do well because of your friendly personality, interest in people, and desire to please. When asked, you are able to give others good advice that you would probably not follow yourself, but must guard against being too opinionated in controversial matters.
……….

How interesting… It is weird how something that was probably randomly generated from some database and pieced together by some software could actually be quite accurate. Made me wonder had Mama or Atah truly considered the meaning of my name, they would be more accepting of my desire to pursue the performing arts. Gosh, if these descriptions had even an ounce of truth or reliability in them… my parents had inadvertently put me on the very path that they so strongly disapprove of. As much as I struggle to take the parental-endorsed-well-traveled road, my heart journeys not with me and only an embarassing lack of courage is stopping me from turning away completely. Alas, that’s another story altogether: conviction vs. courage. Well for all it’s worth, I do love my name and am honoured to carry it. Whether my name is an accident of fate, a predestined choice, or simply a matter of personal preference, destiny is in my hands, isn’t it?

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