Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How Confucius made it harder for me to write my surname in Chinese!

It has been an interesting journey into the past for me. For now, I have just one more question: How did the Khoo (Qiu) surname emerge?

Qiu = Hugh (at least in Jamaica)?

According to (the not always reliable) Wikipedia:
Qiu is the Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of the Chinese family names 丘, 邱, 仇, 秋 and 裘. They may be transliterated in various forms, as:
  • 丘, 邱, 秋 as Qiū, 仇 and 裘 as Qiú (Mandarin, in Pinyin)
Chiu or Khew (Hakka, in Wade-Giles)

It went on to say that the surname has several historical origins:


Here's an interesting "Qiu trivia":

  • When Hakka people from Guangdong migrated to Jamaica in the 19th and 20th centuries as indentured servants, the name 丘 was transliterated "Hugh".

Confucius, why you so like that? Because of you, I am a 'radicalised' Khoo!

One blogger, Eddie Khoo, gives a pretty neat summary, including how the variation as found in my family's version of Qiu has a radical (some call it an "ear") on the right:



Thaksin, are you a long-lost relative?

This other blogger claims that Thai fugitive politician Thaksin is a Khoo! (I hope he has fact- checked; he seems to have wrongly attributed the issuing of the edict to "radicalise" the Qiu surname to the Han period instead of the Qing period):


Anyway, at least one academic text has corroborated the Confucian connexion:

Emma Woo Louie, Chinese American Names

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