Fate & Names

Max’s Chinese name is Lan Shen 蓝 申。 We chose it after extensive consultations.  ‘Lan’ is a close enough match to ‘Land’ my husband’s family name, while ‘Shen’ seems over determined, fated to be right. Shen 申 is the symbol for the year of the monkey, Max’s birth sign, and it is also one of the signs for Shanghai. It is associated with the character 伸 meaning ‘spirit or soul’. All the native Chinese speakers we have asked agree that the two characters go together well, an important criterion in choosing a name.

Nevertheless, at school Max is still known as ’Ma Ke Se’ 马克瑟 the three syllables Chinese use to pronounce the name Max. The sounds are easy and familiar since – how were we to know – it is also the Chinese name for Marx.

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