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December 8 2013 , Written by Wing-Fai Thi

I received a feedback about my blog. My blog is too depressing. The blog is about real events. I cannot really change what actually occurred. But I can ensure you that I am not particularly looking forward to a depressing day when I wake-up, on the contrary. The subjects are certainly biased towards my “bad” experiences. This is because they tend to inspire me more.

Recently a colleague made an announcement. He mispronounced my first name and called me “WiFi”1. “WiFi” may sound funny but is not really my first name, off-course. Should I feel annoyed?

For years I was using my second first name David. My parents had this dream of integration, this vague concept that the French politicians advocated. David was easier, everybody can pronounce it, and nobody will make fun of it. It does not mean that kids did not make fun of my origins. Kids can be cruel for whoever does not belong to their group. My signature is David T. I had no reason to use again my Chinese first name. I was using it again at University but without much pride. Then in 1998 when the French won the World Cup, I felt than I can be proud of my origins and being French. This was only a small moment of euphoria. Nothing has very changed since. Having a non-occidental first name in France (and probably in the rest of Europe) is still an handicap (http://www.observatoiredesdiscriminations.fr/spip.php?article6).

Both my Chinese and occidental first name point to the same meaning. Maybe my parents did it on purpose. Back to the question. Am I annoyed when someone who supposes to know my name mispronounced it? Not really, it happens quite often. If I have to get annoyed each time someone mispronounces my name or have a stupid racist remark, then I will be angry too often. I do care anymore. Maybe I should.

1I should also mention that the same person also mispronounced the name of a famous Dutch female astronomer. As a chairman at a conference or a seminar organisor one should have the politeness to ask the speakers the way to pronounce his or her name. 

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