Monday, October 6, 2008

Wong (surname)

Wong is the romanization of two common s; Huang and Wang .

The logograph for Wong / Huang consists of the radical characters for "twenty", "fires" and "fields," all representing the colour of these images combined.

As a result of late 17th to 18th century colonial activities, where speaking colonists transcribed the family name as "Wong" in south China, we find this version of the family name following the migratory routes of the early migrant Chinese from this southern region to places such as Canada and the United States. As a result, one can often determine a multi-generational non-native Chinese persons whose surname is Wong back to this historic artefact - usually as "Cantonese" Wong, inferring to the fact that the person's ancestral is from south China.

To the Chinese mind, this colour relates to mother Earth. In fact, the Chinese character for Wong is based on parts that relate to this colour - in reviewing the derivative characters that form Wong , we see "Bright" + the character "farm fields" inset between the characters "twenty" and "fire" .

The use of Wong as a surname started in 648 BC when the Huang Kingdom located in Henan Province of China was sacked. The citizens chose to adopt the name of the Kingdom as their surname in remembrance of their origin. From Henan, they dispersed all over China and eventually to all corners of the globe. It is said to be among the top seven most common surname in China and one of the most common surnames in the world.

The process of Anglicizing Chinese names follows geopolitical history. Anglicized names in Hong Kong and Singapore come from the vernaculars of Cantonese, , Teochew, Fuzhou , Hakka, Hainan, etc. In Taiwan, Anglicized names follow the Yale system instead of the Wade-Giles system. In China proper, known as the People's Republic of China , romanization into alphabets follows an originally invented system called "Hanyu Pinyin," which translates all Chinese characters from the Mandarin vernacular for standardisation.

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