Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: (CBC): Eor part of his time in Canada, Holland College student Thinh Nguyen was known as Andy.
Nguyen recently wrote an opinion piece in the Charlottetown Guardian newspaper about reclaiming his original Vietnamese name. CBC’s Island Morning invited him and two other immigrants to discuss what it means to anglicize your name when you come to Canada.
For Nguyen, that anglicization came before he even left Vietnam. He was in Grade 6 when an English teacher from outside the country came into the classroom and asked everyone in the class to choose an English name so he could easily pronounce them.
“I was a kid so I didn’t know anything better. I just went with the name Andy for so long without realizing that it doesn’t really sit right with me,” he said.
For years it just seemed like a normal thing to be Andy sometimes, but eventually he came to feel he was not Andy at all.
“My name Thinh, it’s my Vietnamese name, and it’s part of my identity. When I went to Canada to study I started to realize that. My identity kind of gradually goes away with my English name,” said Nguyen.
“It feels good to, kind of, reclaim my identity.”