Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's in a Family Name?

News that "about 200 people in a village in Shandong province who share the surname Shan" have "been forced by the country's unbending bureaucracy to change their family name as the character is so rare it cannot be typed" and "is so unusual it does not exist in standard word processing programmes" — Chinese villagers forced to change untypable name.

"Zhang Shuyan, a researcher and language expert at China's education ministry, said all Chinese family names were worthy of being protected as part of the country's cultural heritage," the report informs us. Also, this reminder: "Some early Communists wanted the notoriously complicated script done away with and replaced with an alphabet."

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Because computerised records are more important than hundreds of years of tradition, right? Oh, okay, I get it now.

4:11 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Another sacrifice to the god Modernity.

5:22 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

If the villagers care, they can always use the traditional name and spelling locally, which is what everyone else does whose name is regularly mispronounced or somehow changed from the traditional.

6:07 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

No doubt they will. Just as "hidden Christians" preserved the Faith as best they could in families here in the Orient for generations while seperated from the priesthood and the sacraments, these villagers will remember who they are.

7:39 PM  

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