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My Chinese name

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“He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own.” 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kunst and Alterthumt

“The name of a man is a numbing blow
from which he never recovers.”

Marshall McLuha.

In September 2002 we made a big trip to China, we flew to Shanghai, traveled around, on to Beijing, by train to Chengde, back to Beijing, 12 hours by train to Taiyuan, a flight to Xi’an (Terracotta army !!), next Guilin and on to Hong Kong. 

I decided to have my name translated in Chinese, so that I could have a Chinese business card. I had a lot of fun, finding a translator and designing the card. On the way I learned a lot about the Chinese writing and the Chinese surnames. Chinese will want to exchange business cards with you when they meet you.

How you treat their business card is a direct extension of the respect you have for that person. You should accept your colleague’s business card with both hands between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Similarly, when giving your card you should present it with both hands holding it in the same manner. 

Don’t take your colleague’s card and put it in your pocket or briefcase right away! Instead, study it for a moment (this is a good time to make sure you remember your colleague’s name and position) and then either keep holding it, or if sitting set it politely on the table in front of you. 

Be very careful not to wrinkle it or spill something on it; treat it with respect as you would your colleague. Later, when it is time to go carefully place it in your briefcase or notebook rather than shoving it in your pocket. 

The Chinese surname is very different from a Westerner’s first name. The Chinese surname is placed before the person’s name while the latter is placed after. Like most Asian surnames, Chinese surnames are passed down from generations and hold the family history in perpetuity. Chinese surnames tell others about the person’s history and are always retained even though the name may change. The surname is often looked-upon as a symbol of a man’s pride and honor. It depicts the past glorious deeds the ancestors have achieved through ‘blood and sweat.’ 

My surname “Kloosterman” is a combination of two dutch words. 
The first word “Klooster” means cloister. 
The second word “man means “man”. 
So “Kloosterman” translates as “man from the cloister“.

So my Chinese name is:


Sì Kâi
Prorounced as: “ssshoe cai”

” means “Temple” and is also used as a Chinese family name.
Kâi” means “en lighted” or “the one who can show you the path”. 
It is is also used in Chinese as a name and has somewhat the same sound as my first name”Cees“.

Sì Kâi translates then as “the man from the temple, who can show you the path.” 

On my buseniss card my name “Sì Kâi” is followed bij “yêxuå bïshì” which means “Medical Doctor (M.D)” 
I put the Coat of arms of the city of Dordrecht on the card, looks very impressive! 
The background of the card is in a gold gradient, symbolizing prestige, prosperity, wealth and good fortune!


“The Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well
if it had been called The Old Sailor.”
Samuel Butler