From Yu-Ping to Alice: the Story of my Name

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My Chinese name is Yu-Ping, translated to English it means jade apple. Yu (jade) is our ancestral name, all the girls in my generation share this common middle name. Ping (apple) is uniquely mine.

In elementary school, my teachers suggested giving me an English name would help me fit in and make more friends. My family, not too fluent in English or American culture, decided to call me Apple Chen to match my Chinese name. Luckily my teacher somehow managed to convey to my family the importance of names and how it identifies the individual’s personality and role in life. My teacher wanted a name to help me in life and a fruity name like Apple just doesn’t convey a person of substance. Back then, the English dictionary was used for everything to figure out how to deal with Americans, in this case we turned to the wise book to pick out a name. I recall my parents, determined to keep the connection to our ancestral name, ‘A’ for Apple to them ‘A’ for Alice was a good fit.

I didn’t have to keep this name, but a name stays with you and after college I found it useful using Alice Chen to find a good job. Logistically jade apple to Alice doesn’t make sense but this is the story how I came about my name.

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