Chinese Name - Variations - Diaspora

Diaspora

Among Chinese Americans, it is common practice to be referred to primarily by the Western name and to use the Chinese given name as an often-omitted middle name.

In Malaysia and Singapore, it is equally acceptable for Western names to appear before or after the Chinese given name. Thus, the Singaporean President Tony Tan might see his name written as "Tony Tan Keng Yam" or "Tan Keng Yam Tony". Individuals are free to register their legal names in either format on their identity cards. In general use, the English name first version is typically preferred as it keeps the correct order for both systems; however, for administrative purposes, the government agencies tend to place the English name last to organize lists of names and databases more easily.

The Hong Kong printed media tend to adopt the hybrid name style – for example, Andy Lau Tak Wah – although some people prefer American-style middle names, such as Steven N. S. Cheung, or simply use English names like Henry Lee. On official records such as the Hong Kong Identity Cards, family names are always printed first in all-caps and followed by a comma for all names, including Chinese ones. Thus, the examples above would have identity cards that read "LAU, Tak Wah Andy" or "CHEUNG, Steven Ng-Sheong", with the position of the given names determined at the time of application. Non-Chinese names are printed in similar style: "LEE, Henry".

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