Stories of Why East Asians Change Their Names

Wing Yun Au

Wing Yun Au is a freshman at the University of Washington currently pursuing a degree in bioengineering. Outside of academics, she likes to take photos, learn different languages, and write short stories.


Wing Yun Au’s abstract for her project:

There are a lot of reasons why one might decide to change their name—maybe it holds bad memories or there’s another name that holds more meaning. For a certain demographic, specifically East Asians who come to an English-speaking country, the reasons begin to relate more to a connection with culture. This video explores the experiences of East Asian students who are at different relationships with their name. While some have openly adopted an English name, others have decided to continue with their ethnic name in a new country. A focus is placed on a name’s connection with family and ties with personal culture and identity. From the compilation of interviews, the piece takes the side that the name change occurs mainly due to forced assimilation and the need to be accepted and survive with as few hardships as possible in an unfamiliar culture and society. Catered to those who are experiencing the decision of whether or not to adopt an English name, the video helps present different perspectives to help with this decision.