View Full Version : At least his last name wasn't Kahk.

1/17/2006, 10:30 AM
Fuk King Kwok was waiting for his driver's license to be printed when his name was called and a chuckling Illinois secretary of state employee offered some advice.

"She [said] this is a dangerous name," the Chinese immigrant recalled. "She [said] the name translated is not so good, maybe I should change [it]. The word I hear is not so good."

Not so good, indeed.

That clerk, like so many other Americans who have said his name since he came to Chicago in 1999, didn't pronounce his first name the proper way -- "fook."

Instead, she and the others would pronounce his name with an "uh" sound instead of the "oo" -- in other words, like the granddaddy of all swear words.

"And my middle name is terrible, too," he admitted. "That combination becomes very terrible."

Last month in Cook County Circuit Court -- three years after that clerk offered the advice -- Fuk King Kwok changed his name.

He's now Andy Kwok.

"Before I came to United States, no problems," he said, before nervously laughing. "But in translation to English, it sounds like . . . the word . . . you know ... sometimes language is not so convenient and sometimes I'm embarrassed, you know?"

Best part about U.S.? Privacy

The process of legally changing your name is simple enough. Kwok paid the $328 and filled out the one-page form himself.

A judge's signature made it official and ensured the only time Kwok will hear that word is if he's near someone foul-mouthed.

DePaul University language professor Yingcai Xu said problems like Kwok's aren't common -- and even he gave a slight laugh after writing Kwok's name.

"It could very likely cause a problem," he said, adding it's a Cantonese name that "could mean 20 or 30" things in that language -- none of them vulgar.

"This is a very special case," he said, "because there are not many names, even pronounced wrong, that would lead to any bad sense."

Kwok said that in China, his name translates to "a very good meaning" and nothing at all like that embarrassing pronunciation.

He said he's always liked the name Andy -- "Andrew" even better -- and while living in Hong Kong, sometimes went by it.

The 38-year-old mechanical engineer said he came to the United States for work reasons and "to try to experience different culture."

Despite the pronunciation trouble with his name, he said he likes America, especially Chicago, but most of all, he likes his privacy.

Aware of the potential for "jokes on me," he initially declined an interview request, but remained adamant about declining a photo.

"I'm not public at all," he said.


Also on that page, Mrs. Porn reverted to her maiden name and Michael Heard became Godlordkingchrist Heard. :D

Red October
1/17/2006, 10:44 AM
I remember on Letterman a few years ago, the top ten list was people who had names like Mr. Kwok's. One Oriental guy's name was Harry Dong, and one other guy's name was Curly Pitts.