What’s in a name?

My full name is Samantha Wing-Sam Lui. It says so on my health card.

When I was little, my name would always be registered as “Wing-Sam Lui” and it really grinded my gears when students and teachers called my name out for attendance.

“My name is SAMANTHA!!” I would say, forcefully correcting them as if they had committed a huge mistake.

Of course they didn’t know any better. But whenever I heard this, I would fear embarrassment having a Chinese name amongst my peers who had “normal” names.

Having been called “Sam” or ” Samantha” my whole life, I guess you could say being called “Wing-Sam” made me feel out of place. After all, I grew up in Canada so why can’t I have an English name like everybody else?

Little did I know, the issue of neglecting my Asian name ran much deeper. I did this because I wanted to fit in. My rejection of my Chinese name was just the start of many things of my culture that I decided to push aside.

In fears of appearing “fobby” (FOB is the acronym for ” Fresh Off the Boat”…which is pretty horrible and racist, by the way) I started rejecting things like speaking Chinese in public, bringing rice for lunch and wearing overtly cutesy outfits to school because I thought it would make me seem “too Chinese.” Thankfully I didn’t dumb myself down on my studies because that would have driven my parents crazy.

Thinking back on this, I believe that I was being absolutely ridiculous. Why did I ever reject all those things in order to fit in? Being Chinese is awesome! It’s a part of what makes me who I am. The only regret I have is quitting Chinese school because I am quite illiterate when it comes to reading and writing. However, I am slowly trying to pick things up again.

Growing up, I used to think getting made fun of for being Chinese was a hindrance. But now that I’m older, I realize that those who laugh at a certain culture are ignorant or bringing about a negative agenda.

I’ve decided to include the initials of my Chinese name on this URL, partially because Samantha Lui was taken and “Sam Lui” seemed too informal.  But after doing some thinking, I’ve realized this goes a bit deeper. Call me sentimental, but it’s because I have finally accepted my full name.

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