What’s In a Name?

It’s hard to come up with a name. It carries weight, hope, and dreams. In ancient times, it reflected the moment  of the times. It will be what he’ll be called, it’s our first gift to him.

His English name means “Light-giving” or “light-giver”.

  • to illuminate the darkness
  • to bring insight in confusion
  • to bring levity/happiness/joy to a situation
  • to uplift in heavy world

We wanted to find a name that included a K and a L as references to his parents if possible. We didn’t want a name that was difficult to pronounce for our parents and families. We wanted a name that didn’t have the traditional meanings of power/strength/king/warrior but one that reflected where we are at in our journey in life with an emphasis on connection and faith. That proved to be a bit of challenge but this is a name that came back around a few times and only confirmed by K after seeing him for the first time.

His Chinese Name:

His Chinese name Lok Sin is 樂善 but there’s a bit more behind the name. It’s inspired by how my Chinese name came to be.

My name, 君 洋 (Kwan Yeung), tells a story:

尹 + 口 = 君

The first character 尹 is my mom’s name and the second character (口) is a mouth. In having me, they added a mouth to the family and this combination actually is real Chinese word Kwan. This became the first or generational part of my name.

Refers to the Pacific Ocean (太平洋) in that my parents crossed the Pacific Ocean to immigrate to America where I was born. Thus the name 君 洋 tells the story of adding a mouth, birthed from my mother, with the surname of my father as both crossed the Pacific Ocean for the American dream.

His Name

A few years ago, I came across this peculiar story of this word 義. Chinese words originate from pictographs so this word is amalgamation of 2 other words:

羊 + 我 = 義

The first character (羊) is sheep or lamb and the second is the word for ‘me’ (我). This word means ‘Righteousness’ and has been around for a long time. It’s interesting because it points to the possibility that the imagery of a lamb over me = righteousness has been around way before Taylor Hudson brought the gospel to China. If so, then where did this image come from? A mystery for another time but I’ve always loved that interesting tidbit.

So as seen above my name has a 洋 which has the sheep (羊) character so it got me thinking how I could unite my name + K’s name for our child’s name.

洋 + 心 + 口 =

When I take a part of my name and drop the radical (羊),  a character from K’s name (心), and now add a mouth (口) to our family, we form his new name. This character 善 (closer to pronunciation “seen”) means “virtue” or “goodness”. *K’s name isn’t exactly translate into the final word, it’s directionally/visually pretty darn close.

Now like my name, this could have been the second character of the 3 characters but my dad once told me that each generation of a Chinese clan usually follows a naming convention. There’s a book somewhere in some rural Hakka village that lists it out. I guess my dad knew what my name was supposed to be but instead chose 君 for me and my sister. The real name or the next generation’s name was supposed to 樂 which means ‘happy’ or ‘joyous’, most often seen in the lunar new year greeting 新年快. So as an homage to my dad and to his installation in me of fascination with Chinese lore and history, that’ll be his second character.

Since our last name can be used in to mean “a lot of ” as in 許多. Then his full Chinese name can come to mean ‘a lot of joyous virtue’.

His name reflects the Asian American identity that we as parents have had to navigate and he will have to navigate as well. His blended cultural name is a light-giver that brings a lot of joyous virtue. A fitting compliment for a complete name.

And the cherry on top: His middle initials give a nod to a certain light-bringer to the galaxy in EP IV, V, VI.