Hong Kong Culture

Naming

  • In Hong Kongese names, the surname comes before one or two given names (e.g. LEI Kwong Ming). The first name is the father’s and the middle is one’s personal name.
  • If you are at the point of moving to a first name basis, a Hong Konger will tell you which name to refer to them as.
  • In China, people address one another by their full name, but if they want to denote respect, they use the one’s surname and their appropriate title.
  • Only close friends and relatives may address each other by nicknames.
  • Hong Kongese names are hard for westerners to pronounce as the tones of Cantonese are very specific. They take this (and the pressure to conform to Western standards) into consideration. Upon moving to Australia, many Hong Kongers adopt a Westernised first name. They may keep one of their original given names as a middle name, but essentially adopt a new name and format it in the Western way (e.g. Jackie Kong-Sang CHAN). This new name is only used in Western and international contexts; they revert to using their Cantonese name when returning to Hong Kong. However, first generation Hong Kongese migrants living in Australia usually give their Australia-born child a Western name instead of a Cantonese one.
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