Friday, February 20, 2009

Korean Goodwill--Confering Korean Names to Foreigner VIPs

When the first Anglos arrived in Korea more that 100 years ago, many were given Korean names. One method is purely phonic using the native Hangul language. Another more prestigious method crafts special names using Hanja, Korean Sino-derivative words based on Chinese characters. This takes  expertise, since the name have great significance. With Hilary Clinton's trip to Korea, she will receive a Korean name. How the name was crafted is insightful. BTW My name Su Dong, translates as "to awake; the East."  蘇 東

Korea Times notes:
On the occasion of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Korea, the Republic of Korea (ROK)-U.S. Alliance Friendship Society announced Wednesday that it would confer the Korean name of “Han Hisook” on the former first lady and senator of the United States.

The society will send a plaque containing a description of the name to Secretary Clinton in time for her return to Washington from the Asian tour.

“It is our sincere hope that the conferment of the Korean name ‘Han Hi-sook’ to Secretary Clinton will not only promote bilateral friendship but also solidify the blood-shared alliance forged by our countries during the Korean War,” said Suh Jin-sup, who heads the society, in a statement.

The surname “Han,” meaning Korea, is derived from the Korean pronunciation of the letter “H” in the name “Hillary.” With the conferment of the surname, Clinton will become the founder of the “Sejong Han” family. Secretary Clinton is the first “Han” from “Sejong-ro” or Sejong Street, the main street in central Seoul where the U.S. Embassy is located.

The name “Hi-sook” is a combination of two separate Chinese characters. “Hi” stands for “Shining,” while “Sook” is for “Clear.” “We believe that these are the attributes that have led to the appointment of Hillary Clinton as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State. Her clear vision and politicalinsight will make important contributions in setting the stage for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” added Suh.

In the past, some U.S. officials serving their country from Korea have accepted Korean names conferred on them in a gesture of friendship and goodwill.

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