1. Who gave you your name?
Traditionally, in Vietnam, the names of new-born children are given by one of their relatives, usually their grandparents. However, in my case, an acquaintance of my parents came up with my name, and mom and dad just instantly agreed, because neither of them had any idea what to name me.
2. Does your name have any particular (or, special) meaning?
Most Vietnamese names do, I suppose, and mine is not an exception. My name can be interpreted as a river in Autumn. In my country, anything related to Autumn is considered beautiful and calm, since this season is the most comfortable one out of the four. So, I assume my parents did have somewhat an expectation when they named me that.
3. Do you like your name?
Answer 1: In the past, no. I used to blame my parents for giving me such a boyish name. I even had a deep, warm voice, just like a mature man, which is why all of my classmates made fun of me back in primary and secondary school. However, as I’ve grown older, I just don’t take these jokes so serious anymore, so I guess it’s fair to say yes.
Answer 2: Yes, of course, I do like the name my parents gave me. It’s not only a part of my identity but also symbolizes the love from my beloved parents.
4. In your country, do people feel that their names are very important?
There’s no doubt about it. In Vietnam, names are not only a means of identification. They also deliver parents hopes and expectations when a new child is born. Besides, many Vietnamese believe that names are blessings for newborns, so most people would consider their names a lucky charm for them.
5. Would you like to change your name?
No, I wouldn’t do that, because there are tons of things I would have to do and all kinds of forms to fill in to get a new name. Besides, this thing makes no sense to me. Unless somebody’s a criminal and wants to change their whole identity, there’s no point getting a whole new name.
6. Is it easy to change your name in your country?
I would say you can change it, but I’m not very sure if the procedures are easy because I’ve never known anyone who tried to do such a thing. However, I do think the paperwork required would be quite complicated and the whole process may cost you a lot of time.
7. Who usually names babies in your country?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, in most cases, grandparents would name their children’s babies. Sometimes, a name is also given by a person who’s done a special favor for the baby’s family, or a close relative.
8. Do you have any special traditions about naming children?
Well, I can’t come up with anything, honestly. Maybe there were some in my grandparents’ generation, but we millennials don’t seem to acknowledge any of these traditions.
9. What names are the most common in your hometown?
I’m definitely not an anthropologist, so I have no statistics on names. But I would say names that start with an M are, for sure, very popular. It’s easy to explain. The first word a baby can make is, in most cases, ‘momma’, so I bet the M sound is very easy to pronounce. That’s why people tend to unintentionally name their babies like that.
10. Is your name common or unusual in your country?
If someone shouts my name on any crowded streets at any time of the day, I’m sure more than 5 people will turn their heads back to find out who’s calling them. So, basically, my name is very popular in Vietnam.
11. Does your name have any special meaning?
Yes, it does. Well, you know, almost every name in Vietnam has a meaning behind it. Mine is the South. My father named me after the loss of the Southern Vietnam regime. Besides, it can be also used for someone who is really manly.
12. What kinds of names are popular in Vietnam?
I don’t know much about preferences when giving names to babies in Vietnam, but I guess some neutral names that can be used for both men and women are pretty trendy these days.
13. Are there many Vietnamese people who have the same name as you?
I guess so. You know, since my name is very easy to think of, it is suitable for some parents who are struggling to find the perfect name for their offspring.
14. Is there any tradition about naming babies?
Well, normally the father will name his child, but in some cases, grandparents also want to join in the process of naming. Apart from that though, the family name of newborn babies must follow their father’s family name.