Changing your name


#1

My wife just changed her name. I know that it’s a chinese tradition to change your name, but how normal is it? do any of you have any experience of your friends etc doing that?

Right now, my daughters and I have found a new way of annoying her. we just use her old name :smiley: :smiley:


#2

Holger, is it really traditional? Apparently one of my students did the doubleheader, and changed both his english and chinese names over summer break!


#3

I have a friend who just recently changed her’s as well. She stated her name had brought bad luck and to the disapproval of her family changed it, family name and all! :shock: Hopefully the new ringer changed more in her life than the work she’ll be doing to pay off that credit card bill (heard it’s rather pricey to go through such a process).

I’m keeping mine, but just today added “PC” and “asshole” to the list. :laughing:


#4

[quote=“Holger Nygaard”]My wife just changed her name. I know that it’s a chinese tradition to change your name, but how normal is it?[/quote]Did she legally change her name, or did she just request that others call her by a new name? If it was a legal name change, how was it romanized? How much did it cost? How long did it take? What’s the process?


#5

I thught that they had a law against changing family names. Now, that would be interesting. Moreover, if you want to piss that person off, just use the old name… 8)


#6

A Taiwanese friend told me recently that you can get your name changed legally once free of charge. It just involves going to an office and filling in a form. They will then take care of all the paperwork.

They have “deed poll” that allows you to change your name in Australia. Why not something similar in Taiwan?


#7

re this subject, a few weeks ago, Steve Crook in Tainan wrote a very interesting article about this for the China Post’s weekend section. It was a cover story, entire page. I think Taiwanese are allowed by law to change their names just twice, and it is usually done for have better luck, with job, with bosses, with husband or wife, with stock market or with illness. Changing the name does the trick, sometimes. It costs around NT$6000 for a Chinese name, NT$12,000 for an English name change, according to the Post article. Look it up in the library there in Yangmei if they keep the Post backissues.

WHY did your wife change her name? Just curious.


#8

The article talked about fortune tellers, not the law. Anyone here know anything about real, official, legal name changes, or are we going to be talking about Auntie Huang’s fortune-teller who exchanges one stupid name for another for the bargain price of 12k?


#9

My boyfriend’s brother changed his name. His surname, because a fortune teller told him it would deter his bad luck…(he’s still a loser, so I doubt this superstition holds any water). And I’ve known several others who’ve changed their names for the same reasons…
I also know an American who changed his name to sidestep passport/legal problems years ago, but I’m not naming names!
Just asked a couple colleagues and they say it’s free to change your name. I asked them about filing charges and they said maybe $20NT. I don’t know if this is correct info, though, and I reckon that even if it is free, there are still paperwork fees.


#10

I just asked a Taiwanese colleague of mine, and he says it is definitely impossible to change one’s full name, that is, it’s not allowed to change your family name (surname).

I’ve asked this question before, but never got a satisfactory answer, so I’ll try again:
If my father’s name were romanized P-e-r-n-g, could I have mine romanized as the more standard P-e-n-g? Would that involve a legal name change procedure? If I wanted to romanize my name according to a Hakka, Hoklo, Guangdong or aboriginal romanization, would that be kosher? Would I have to follow any particular romanization system? Would Wade-Giles, Gwoyeu Romatzeh, Tongyong and Hanyu Pinyin all be available to me? What about church pinyin for one of the less spoken dialects on the island? If I wanted, could I romanize the name 陳 (normally spelt C-h-e-n) as S-m-i-t-h? Does anyone know?


#11

I’ll have to ask again, because I just asked colleagues about changing surnames and they said NOT SO EASY as well, although I know for a fact that XS’s brother’s surname is DIFFERENT from his own and they have the same father…
Colleague did mention there must be an extremely well-documented rationale for surname changes and that fortune teller advice is not a good enough reason.


#12

I’m not sure about details either, but know that my friend changed her name, the entire thing, and did it legally. She said it required a substantial sum of money but it’s been done.


#13

So… its possible yet impossible, cheap yet expensive.

Thanks, Segue, you’ve enlightened me. :wink:


#14

Maoman,

As it turns out I just had this experience last week.

The long and the short of it was that you can change your given name, but not your family name.

I wanted to change my name to my wife’s name (chinese) so that my daughter would not need to get a new passport. My daughter has her mother’s name at present. On our house hold registration form however she has my name.

When I asked if it would be possible to change my family name the answer was No! However, I think for the average foreigner it would be fine to change your family name as long as you are not logged on a household registration form anywhere. That seemed to be the crux of it.


#15

[quote=“Fox”]I wanted to change my name to my wife’s name (chinese) so that my daughter would not need to get a new passport. My daughter has her mother’s name at present. On our house hold registration form however she has my name.

When I asked if it would be possible to change my family name the answer was No![/quote]
Are you a Taiwan citizen? if not, then wouldn’t you apply for a name change in your home country? Then your name would have to be accepted here, because it would be your new identity. You say your daughter has her mother’s name at present. Where? On what documentation? Isn’t the household registration form the defining document? Is your daughter a dual national? Does she have the same name for both countries?

Sorry for so many questions - I’m trying to make sense of the whole situation here.


#16

Maoman,

Good questions. My wife and I had a baby before we were married. Hence my daughter had to take my wife’s name. Which turned out perfectly as we had planned it this way so that now she can have dual nationality.

After we had her Taiwanese passpot issued we registered our marriage. Once our marriage was registered my wife had to fill out my name on the household registration. She registered my name as it is and then the clerk immediately change my daughter’s name to my name. The wierd thing is that her birth certificate has her name as my wife’s and her passport has her name as my wife’s, but it’s the house hold registration that counts. That’s why I tried to change my name to my wife’s thinking what do I care, but it was a no go.


#17

Interesting. Changing your given name is easy and cheap according to my wife.

Making sure that yur children get your wifes surname seems to be tougher. I would argue that I don’t have a chinese surname in the sense that the chinese have it. In chinese, my name is He Er Ge (the transcription of Holger). Making sure that my daughers get a surname originally chosen to resemble the first sullable of their fathers first name is hardly logical or sensible by any other yardstick than the one used by the local “authorities”. However, getting them to accept children having their mothers surname would appear hard. :cry: :cry: