What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?


My parents never gave me a Chinese name. My grandfather who was influenced by the British somehow didn’t think it was necessary. My brother Brian, however, was given one because Mum said he was a boy – and it won’t do for boys to have no Chinese name because boys are supposed to carry on the family lineage. So no Chinese names had my sister and I. -(

I asked a friend to create a Chinese name for me some years ago. She wrote 許 for KOH and gave me the characters 安 宁 (Ān Ning) based on the sound of my name Angeline.

Angeline or Angel for short means “Messenger of God” or “Bringer of Good News.” It was given to me by my grandfather although I am not sure if he believed in God. I guess “Messenger” also explains why I love to tell stories.

In Japanese calligraphy my name is written (in katakana) or (in hirakana) and (in kanji). (Katakana is the standard way names are translated to Japanese and is how names appear in Japanese dictionaries)

KOH 許 OR (shortened form) is my family name.

許 when combined with different words carry different meanings. For instance, 许愿 means wish and 应许, promise. 许… 很多 or 许多 means many. It also means praise, perhaps, promise, allow.

The name my friend gave me is 安 宁. The two characters are derived from the words 平安 peace, 宁静 quietness and 安宁 tranquil.

So my name 安宁 translates peaceful, quiet, and mostly serene, even if that’s really far from where I am but where I want to be.

Today I discovered that in Japanese is read KYO or YURUZU. It means forgiveness.

Although someone else chose my names for me, it was my Father in heaven who gave me my names. John 10:2 says “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” I love my name and pray that I will live up to what Father created me for.

Written 11 July 2011