36 Auspicious Singaporean Chinese names to name your baby in 2019
Some of these Chinese names are so beautiful, they're almost like scenes from a classic novel.
In Chinese culture, especially in Singapore, Chinese names are more than labels. Singapore Chinese names are imbued with meaning and qualities parents desire for their child. You might have heard a parent say, “Wow, that child has such a strong name. They’re going to go up to be very dominant.”
After all, the popular Chinese saying goes:
(cì zǐ qiān jīn, bù rú jiào zǐ yí yì. jiào zǐ yí yì, bù rú cì zǐ hǎo míng)
Meaning: “Instead of giving your child gold, teach him a skill. Instead of teaching him a skill, give him a good name.”
Singapore Chinese names: then and now
If you ask your parents and grandparents about Singapore Chinese names, you’ll find that a LOT has changed since their times. No longer will you find Chinese Singaporeans called Ah Kow, Char Bor or other dialect-based names.
Yup, after roughly 40 years since the Speak Mandarin Campaign from 1979, Chinese given names deriving from dialects have begun to die out.
Instead, the youth of comprising Singapore’s Chinese probably call themselves Wei Jie or Hui Min.
Why is this so?
Singaporeans now are much more educated than they were in the past. People now favour unique names – those with sophisticated, unusual names, or uncommon characters. For instance, parents could tweak a small component of the usual character for wei (“great”) into a different character, such that it now means “precious”.
Nowadays, a lot of young Singaporean Chinese names reflect a the melding of east and west. The names are often part dialect surname, part mandarin given name part Western name. A good example would be actor Aloysius Pang Wei Chong.
More and more Chinese Singaporeans also modify their names so as to not be confused with that of Chinese immigrants.
The usual alteration includes two things: putting a space to separate the given name, and changing a pinyin surname into its dialect version. For example, Zhang Haiming, turns into Chong Hai Ming.
Do locals still consult geomancers for Singapore Chinese names?
Lee Cher Leng is an Associate Professor in the National University of Singapore. She teaches in the Department of Chinese Studies and has a wealth of experience in educating students through a module called “Bridging East and West: Exploring Chinese Communication”.
According to Lee, parents of 27% her students gave their children names after asking geomancers for advice.
Geomancers who provide naming services or advice still remain in high demand in Singapore nowadays. For instance, Huaxia Taimaobi Centre has experienced a 5% rise yearly within the last five years when it comes to parents seeking guidance with baby names.
Geomancers have said that there may be two reasons why this demand persists:
- people are becoming increasingly cautious when selecting names for their children, and
- that younger parents nowadays aren’t as fluent in Mandarin. Several clients at Huaxia Taimaobi Centre alone are unable to print their Mandarin names without taking a quick look at their identity cards.
36 Singapore Chinese names for the next generation
But if you’re not willing to make a trip to a geomancer, we’ve compiled a list of Singapore Chinese names that are meaningful and modern.
The top 25 popular Singapore Chinese names
- 王芳 (Wang Fang), meaning “aromatous”
- 安褀 (An Qi), meaning “happiness/peace & safety”
- 秀英 (Xiu Ying), meaning “elegant & brave”
- 李娜 (Li Na), meaning “elegant”
- 秀英 (Xiu Ying), meaning “elegant & brave”
- 张敏 (Zhang Min), meaning “quick”
- 李静 (Li Jing), meaning “quiet”
- 张丽 (Zhang Li), meaning “beautiful”
- 王静 (Wang Jing), meaning “quiet”
- 王丽 (Wang Li), meaning “beautiful”
- 张静 (Zhang Jing), meaning “quiet”
- 李敏 (Li Min), meaning “quick”
- 王敏 (Wang Min), meaning “quick”
- 王艳 (Wang Yan), meaning “glamorous”
- 刘洋 (Liu Yang), meaning “ocean”
- 张伟 (Zhang Wei), meaning “Great”
- 王伟 (Wang Wei), meaning “Great”
- 李强 (Li Qiang), meaning “strong”
- 王磊 (Wang lei), meaning “rock pile”
- 李伟 (Li Wei), meaning “Great”
- 刘伟 (Liu Wei), meaning “Great”
- 李军 (Li Jun), meaning “Army”
- 王勇 (Wang Yong), meaning “Brave”
- 张勇 (Zhang Yong), meaning “Brave”
- 李杰 (Li Jie), meaning “Hero”
10 unusual, but beautiful Singapore Chinese names
- 芷若 (Zhi Ruo), a female name made up from zhi (angelica) and ruo(pollia), two Chinese herbs. The name is beautiful as it represents herbal plants, is pleasing to the ear, and even further popularised when Jin Yong, a Wuxia-novel master, used it in one of his characters.
- 语嫣 (Yu Yan), another name that is well-liked after Jin Yong’s female character. Yu Yan comes from yu xiao yan ran, a phrase relating to women who possess charming smiles.
- 徽因 (Hui Yin), the name of a renowned female Chinese poet and architect, Lin Huiyin (1904-1955). Initially, she was given the name 徽音, which was obtained from the Shi Jing, or The Book of Odes. In the book, 徽音 (Hui Yin) means ‘excellent fame’. However, she modified it to 徽因 so that people wouldn’t mistake her for another male author who uses similar characters in his name. “因”, in chinese, means “cause’”.
- 映月 (Ying Yue), another name suitable for females, represent the “reflection of the moon”. This given surname is particularly graceful when paired with the surname 江 (Jiang), which means ‘river’ in English.
Singapore Chinese names that work for both boy and girls
- 望舒 (Wang Shu) is one of the several Chinese names that are gender-neutral. Looking at ancient Chinese Mythology, “Wang Shu” refers to a god that steers the carriage for the moon.
- 风眠 (Feng Mian), a name which paints the scenery of leaves entering a slumber, surrounded by leaves gently dropping within the woods accompanied by a breeze. A renowned painter, Lin Fengmian took up this name.
- 莫愁 (Mo Chou), which translates to “free of sadness”. The name became popular when WuXia novelist Jin Yong gave it to a cold-blooded killer that’s deep in love with an unfaithful man.
- 飞鸿 (Fei Hong), a name which brings the image of Huang Feihong, a notable martial art master. Fei Hong directly transaltes to “a swan goose soaring high in the sky” – symbolising the parent’s hope at their child’s promising future. The name is common with boys, but Chinese girls may pick it up as a female actress has also adopted the same name.
- 念真 (Nian Zhen), which means ‘a belief in truthfulness’. A good celebrity using this name is the well-known Taiwanese director, Wu Nianzhen.
- 青山 Qing Shan & 如是 Ru Shi. Naming twins or siblings isn’t so hard when you start with a pair of Chinese names like Qing Shan and Ru Shi. Qingshan expresses the beauty of blue-coloured mountains. It is also frequently embedded in a saying that means ‘persistence’. Rushi, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the prominent Chinese poet Liu Rushi. Her name comes from the verse of another poet, Xin Qiji, whose original meaning suggests Xin’s yearning for a soulmate.