My name means something. Here’s what it means. Visually explaining what my first name See-ming means, as an infographic.
思 (pronounced ‘see’) is composed of two parts: 田 and 心.
田 is a pictogram and it means an agricultural field. 心 is a pictogram as well. It means the heart.
Together, it means putting your heart on your field. The character 思 means to analyze and to think.
明 (pronounced ‘ming’) is composed of two parts: 日 and 月 日 is the sun, and 月 is the moon When you place the largest light sources together, it’s bright, so 明 means bright and clear. It also means to understand.
Chinese names are poetic by nature, and their meanings are best interpreted poetically. 思明, See-ming, can best be translated as to think clearly, to have bright thoughts — to understand something after thinking about it.
I hyphenate my name because too many people in the west tried to separate the characters. In English, it’s customary to shorten names — Andy for Andrew, Pete for Peter, etc. But you see, you can’t do that with Chinese names. If you do, that special meaning is lost — that poetry is now left with only one half, and it means something completely different.
Hence why I have always hyphenated my name. It’s not a middle name. It’s not a last name. It’s not a nickname. It’s my name. Sometimes I would even remove the hyphen and just go by
Seeming instead of
See-ming so there is no confusion that the two characters are meant to be together.
I made this infographic originally in 2007. I’ve updated it in 2023 to make it clearer.
You’re absolutely right, except that these characters are thousands of years old — at least 5000 years old. They predate modern science. You can’t change an existing character just because of science.