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Christina Chin
Sunday, Aug 10, 2014

Malaysia

Different naming conventions lead to an identity crisis for many Malaysians

The Star/ANN | Christina Chin | Sunday, Aug 10, 2014

PETALING JAYA - Forms asking for first, middle and last names can be a headache for Malaysians because of the unique naming culture here.

And it gets trickier when terms like surname and given name are used.

Pang Khee Teik (pic), 40, is battling protocol to correct his name on a graduation certificate issued by a university in London.

Unlike most Western and European societies that place their surnames at the end, Chinese surnames come first.

"The name printed on my certificate is Khee Teik Pang - which is not my name.

"Is (British tycoon) Richard Branson the same as Branson Richard?" asked the arts advocate, who wanted the university to issue a new certificate.

He said an official had insisted that it was "protocol" to write the surname last.

"The order of my name cannot be changed just to suit British culture.

"My naming convention must be respected," he said, adding that there had been many "perversions" of his name because of forms that did not accommodate different naming cultures globally.

Public relations officer Haikal Amir Hamzah Muhammad Hasnul Ariffin, 22, only uses his first three names when filling out forms.

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