From an early age, children in Hong Kong are given ‘English’ names in addition to their Chinese names. I am told that it’s to increase their chances in making it in the world; that having an English name will make it easier in the future for them to make and do business with foreign companies, that it will be too confusing for foreign customers to have to deal with a Chinese name (which part of the three word name is the surname? which do they like to be called by?). In part I can understand this, though I don’t necessarily agree with it. However, this being so, unless the family have had much exposure to foreigners and foreign names already, some of the names they choose for their children leave a lot to be desired and would actually surely hinder the progress of their children in the future, rather than elevate it to the position they would hope for. Some, it seems, just open the dictionary and choose a cool word from inside, regardless of meaning.
Here is a (genuine) list of some of the names of people Helen or I have met or taught whose names are out of the ordinary!