The Meaning Of TangBu

While on a business trip to China, I asked some Chinese friends how my name would be translated into Chinese. The Blair part was easy, after English Prime Minister Tony Blair, but they had a bit more difficulty with my surname. Chinese surnames being written first, they came up with "TangMuShen BuLaiEr" for my Chinese name. Now since most Chinese names are only two or three syllables I thought I'd better shorten it, and it seemed to make sense to take the first syllable of each word, hence, TangBu.

Apparently "Tang" means "soup" and "Bu" means "cloth", so my "name" means that I've spilled soup on my clothes or something. I guess that means it's not really a great name, but I like it anyway.

These characters are written in simplified Chinese. I now know how to write "my" name in traditional characters as well, at least the TangBu part.

Tang Mu Shen

Bu Lai Er

In 2004 I finally decided to go to China to learn to speak Mandarin. For nearly four months I attended Beijing Language and Cultural University where I spent 4 hours a day in the class room and at least that amount studying. At the end of that time I could read and write around 500 characters, although it's easy to forget them if you don't practice, and I'm now down to about 100 characters. Still, it was a lot of fun and I now have adopted a "better" Chinese name:

Tang Bo