Saturday, May 2, 2009

About my name

The other day, I went to a local MVA to renew my driver license. What assumably a 20 minutes precess ended up taking me nearly two hours. The reason? My name!

The name on my to-be-renewed driver license was "Xiang J. Lu", which was inconsistent with my passport and SSN card, "Xiangjun Lu". So I had to go back home to collect an additional id to get by name "corrected" to "Xiangjun Lu". Ironically, four year ago, when I converted my MD driver license (which had name "Xiangjun Lu" on it) to a NJ one, the MVA changed my name to "Xiang J. Lu". I argued that it was inconsistent with my SSN card etc, to no avail -- it was the way how the system works, I was told.

People familiar with my scientific publications would notice that my name is "Xiang-Jun Lu", i.e., with a hyphen in between my first name. This is intentional and follows one of the conventions of writing names in English for people from mainland China. There are far too many names corresponding to X. Lu!

Moreover, my last name is 律 in Chinese, corresponding to pinyin Lü, i.e., with two dots over u. Since ü does not belong to one of the 26 English letters, Lü becomes Lu. Put it Chinese way, my name is 律祥俊, i.e., Lu Xiangjun literally, with last name first. More information about Chinese name can be found in wikipedia.

There is an old Chinese saying from Confucius: 名正言顺. With my name clarified, it should become clear that this is Xiang-Jun's Corner on the Internet: all views are mine, and I am opinionated. I have thought about blogging for quite some time, but did not get started until today, with this one as my first blog post. Now the ball is rolling, and only time can tell where the destination will be -- but surely it will no longer stand where it was!