Monday, April 30, 2012

false identity?

i was at the wake service of my colleague's father-in-law last nite. at 76, he had been leading an active life till the heart attack took its toll on him.

one of his friends who stood up to speak of him, said he was very surprised that for the 6 years he had known the deceased, it was only recently that he found out the latter's son-in-law is a heart specialist. in other words, he had lived on his own identity, & not by whom he knew or was related to.

that impressed me a lot. how often these days do people like to boast of whom they know & who their friends/relatives are, just to gain a bit of recognition? i suppose you get that a lot in corporate dealings when agreements/contracts needed to be inked asap.

even some of the wives of my colleagues have forsaken given up their surnames & introduce themselves as mrs so-and-so. in the west, a married women is expected to take her husband's name, & some still keep them even after divorce, eg. ivanka trump, bianca jagger. however, i doubt if we are ready to relinquish our asian values at the current moment. furthermore, is there any place or a valid reason for a change in our identity cards, driving licences, passports, EPF, or income tax forms?

anyway, i speak for  myself & all these years, the wife is still known by her maiden name.


Small Kucing said...

True. Some would love to name drop when in conversation. Can't stand those type.

doc said...


always thought they have low self-esteem, hence the name dropping.

Sy said...

I know the name-changing-to-follow-husband's thingy is also very popular in S'pore. I thought it was plain weird for regular chinese asian to do that! ( Aren't the chinese particularly 'pantang' to have the same surname for both husb & wife?) Can the married women change their surname in M'sia too??

doc said...


that chinese "pantang" applies to couples who have the same surnames, & doesn't include women who change their surnames voluntarily.

actually, they don't change it legally here, hence it is not legally binding; perhaps, it's just a matter of convenience. besides, there's no provision nor necessity for married women to change.

sy said...

yes, i know the pantang applies to couples who "originally" have the same surnames. casual introduction as mrs so-and-so is nothing compared to legally changing it!

maybe it's bcoz i had met a few chinese singaporean around here with wives having same (legal) surnames as their husbands and it made me wonder "is that your fake legal surname or did you really have the same ancestors as your husband??"

and of course, in order to take up the husband's surname you need to have an english/christian name (to add to the glam?) i personally feel this is mindless parroting of the west when there is no need for it in the first place, unless maybe the woman is married to a westerner.

my dua kupang.

doc said...


eg. in UK, the wife automatically takes the husband's surname & it's acceptable practice. in bank accounts & bills, the wife & husband share the same surname, although i'm not sure if this is the case in their passports.

i do admit a lot of western practices has found their way into our lives, but you are right - we should follow, as you put it, mindlessly.

thanks, your dua kupang is worth 10X the traditional 2 sen.

Yvonne Foong said...

I had thought that it's the Asian culture that requires wives to change their surname to their husband's surname... I only realized it's the west recently.

Tha was because the Chinese have a lot of ancient proverbs about differing to our husbands.

Cara Lim said...

I think this idea of legally changing one's name to that of the husbands is fast disappearing. I reckoned it's 'coz alot of modern women are financially independent and for some even, they prefer to keep the maiden names esp if you have created your name as a personal brand. But the funniest things I've seen here in Msia is the extent to which some people would go to include all the honorific titles of their dad's into their own names. Hence, we have something like Alyiah Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr something something.

kc said...

mostly ppl who are not 'real' be it really rich / established / successful name drop?