Knowing me through my multiple names and faiths

By Ooi Kee Beng

September 2012 EDITORIAL
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The history of naming is an extremely interesting one that varies greatly from culture to culture. In some, surnames are important, in others, they are not even existent. In some, personal names are important, in some, less so.Let’s take the Chinese case. In ancient villages, children could be known as Old Number Three, or whichever happened to be their order among siblings. The higher classes, on the other hand, would have a surname (xing), a personal name (ming), an adult...

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Ooi Kee Beng

is the Executive Director of Penang Institute. His recent books include The Eurasian Core and its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (ISEAS 2016). Homepage: