What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

So at Purdue one module I have taken is Asian American studies. I thought it would be highly informative and interesting to take and I was not wrong. Each and every week we’re set a weekly reflection and this week I based mine on the film The Grace Lee Project (2005).

I personally found the documentary The Grace Lee Project (2005) humorous yet insightful. Considering the amount of people that share that one very name is astounding and it is understandable that the director would feel that she was not as special or unique as she had previously felt. I found it quite ironic also that all the perceptions of “Grace Lee” were all similar to one another. The Grace’s they knew were all “petite, smart, softly spoken, reserved and quiet” and I agree with the director when she asks if in reality they mean passive? For if she really was all of the above, why have none of them kept in contact with her?
During the discussion, one person asked if anyone disliked their own names…personally I can I don’t dislike my names individually but together it is an absolute pain to write. My surname has three components plus my first, second and Chinese name makes six! Trying to learn to write this as a child was absolute torture!! It took me years to learn how to write Tseung. But I think what is more annoying is people miss pronunciation my name. Even though they don’t mean to, I can’t help but get irritated but its a daily feature of my life…and I know for sure other people experience this.

The question of what is in a name and if it defines your personality to an extent has truth. I personally think names have an influence on a person’s character. Even though my first name is Jessica and my second is Melissa, I personally feel more like a Melissa and have a stronger association/ connection with this name. Likewise in terms of surnames Lee seems to be a highly common name among the Asian community, just like my own. Sometimes I feel a bit too common of a name. I remember once when I told someone my surname was Wong, they’re reaction was literally, ‘Oh another Wong?! What makes you different to any other Wong I know?!’ Even to this day I feel it’s a very good question to ask myself. Out of the all the people with my name, what makes me stand out from the crowd? Will I blend in like Grace Lee and be known as the “petite, smart, softly spoken, reserved and quiet girl that always got good grades?”  I would like to think I’m different than all the others who share my name, but who really knows?

Lee. G, (2005) The Grace Lee project, A LeeLee Films Production


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