Some essays, some thoughts

What Is In Your Name?

When we were born, our parents were overjoyed (I presume) at our arrival and decided to give us our name a unique name to be identified with. Our name consists of the hope and wishes they have in us thus names incorporating beautiful cloud, sweet flowers and gentle characters are popularly given to girls while boys would be given names containing Chinese characters that signify discipline, power, strength and the like. For most Chinese, we only have a three-character name by which we are known and are happy about. Some may have Christian names by virtue of their religion or otherwise. In any event, by the time we joined Yung Kong we are commonly known by our Chinese name or Christian name. This is the story of names in Yung Kong.

Chinese are accustomed to calling people as Ah-this, Ah-that. Thus we have Ah Leng and Ah Soh, Ah Doo, Ah Kaw, Ah Huat and so on. Sometimes we identify people with surname, such as Lee, Sia, Aw, Wong, Tiong etc. Now the problem is when we have more than one person having the same surname or common name, we will mix them up unless we can differentiate them by unique name. But how? Do we call them Ah Doo No. 1 and Ah Doo No. 2 or Wong A, Wong B or Wong C? To the speaker, it is clear in his or her mind who is being referred to but to the listener, the perception may be different. The listening mind may be thinking of another person by the same name. Hence miscommunications often arise due to mistaken identity. In most cases, delay in getting the message across is the only problem, but in more serious cases, a whole assignment may be given to a wrong person!

Here at Yung Kong Holdings (YKH) we favour Christian name instead of Chinese name, part of Chinese name, surname or the Ah-name. One of the first things we bestow on the new member of our team is to christen him or her with a Christian name, if there has not been one. I will dwell on the case of people who already has Christian name later, but for now, we are giving well-chosen Saints name to our new member. The Saints name serves two purposes, first, to give a positive identification and secondly to place the member under the heavenly protection of the Saint!íK Henceforth thou shalt be know as Josephine, Catherine, Matthew or Teresa. All our new members who were given a new name are happy to be known by their new name by joining YKH team they are starting a new chapter of their life.

In the case of new member who already has a Christian name such as Audrey, Ruby, Karen or Michael, a new name is not necessary except if your name had already been taken by an existing member of the team. If you intend to join YKH and your name is Audrey, Catherine or Michael, consider accepting a new additional name, otherwise it will be pretty confusing. Here is the story concerning the name of the great Archangel Michael. You see, my Christian name is Michael, it was given to me as I was baptized when I was 1 month old at St. Peters Church, Padungan, Kuching. The name follows me wherever I go. It was engraved in my IC, my school certificates, University certificates, Tax files, EPF files etc. Everybody calls me by the name Michael. So, if you are looking for Michael in Yung Kong, it will be automatically directed to me. Here is an example, once a telephone call was connected to me. Michael your T-shirts are ready, came a sweet ladys voice on the phone. I stopped breathing for a while, puzzled, when did I ever order any T-shirts? Was I overworked so much lately that I forgot the order? Could not be, there must be a mistake. But I didnt order any T-shirts from you. I protested. Are you Michael?. Yes, but I didnt order any T-shirts. The T-shirts are printed with YK logos and it was ordered by Michael of Yung Kong. It must be you!. Only after serious logical analysis was the mystery solved. They were ordered by another Michael from another company of our group!

Soon after YKH started operation, We were happy to add a new luxury to our office: a messenger boy!. One of our boys we had was named Michael. This luxury of mine brought big headache to me. It was absolutely disruptive and disturbing to my busy schedule when I received phone calls from Mrs. Michael looking for Michael. To solve the problem, we added another name in front of his name so as to positively identify him. Henceforth ye shalt be known as Matthew Michael or Matthew for short. That solved the problems. From then on, no two persons working at YKH could have the same name. This has become an unwritten rule of the office. However, we have no control over the names of staff of other offices. In May this year, I recruited a new staff for another office. He happened to have the same name as the great angel. I thought about it, as he did not have any Chinese name but just a Christian name and his Chinese surname, surely he would use his full name around here. I was proved wrong as soon after he joined us, a group of advertisers came to my office looking for Michael regarding some advertising. My bewildered secretary discovered the truth only after some lengthy investigation into the mystery. This kind of incidents is non productive and very wasteful of our precious time and resources. To avoid similar occurrence, each person should be identified by a unique name.

You probably wonder this name giving custom may not be fair to the people who join YKH late. People may like their name so much that they may not wish to be known by another name. Well, there must be a way in identifying a person distinctively, maybe the new comer will have to be contented with a mouthful of full name instead of just a convenient Christian name. One way or the other, we need to identify a person positively.

A rose will smell as good by whatever name you give it.

- Ir Michael Hii, 1996


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