What’s In A Name?

In September 2014, I participated in an interesting forum with a group of educational leaders. They hailed from different parts of the world.

The topic of the forum was essentially about “What’s the story behind your name?”

Simple theme but it opened up a good door to understand each other.

More importantly, it helped us to appreciate how our name might have influenced us in more ways than we could possibly imagine.

Whether our name was given to us or chosen by ourselves, it played an important part in shaping and moulding our personality, behavior, and aspiration.

Please allow me to share with you the story behind my name. I shared about it with my group of friends at the forum.

My name to many people is Patrick Liew. Actually, my full name is Liew Siow Gian Patrick.

To help my Hokkien friends to remember my Chinese name, I tell them that when you turn my name the other way around, i.e., “Gian Siow,” it will tell you in Hokkien that I love to be crazy.

I’m better off than my brother. His name is “Siow Kee.” He has gone crazy – that’s what it sounds like in Hokkien. Lol!

“Liew” is my family name but please don’t ever call me Mr Liew.

Whenever my wife calls me “Mr Liew!”, it means I’m in big trouble. Ha!

Therefore, if you call me Mr Liew, it may trigger fear throughout my being. I may just shudder right in front of you. Ha!

“Siow” (绍) is a name to represent the generational difference between members of my tribe.

Actually, my middle Chinese name should be “Wan” (萬).

My grandmother and father decided to skip the “Wan” generation. They named my male siblings and me after the next generation which is “Siow”.

The reason is because my elder sibling passed away when he was a baby.

Out of superstition, my grandmother and father named us after the next generation.

It may sound interesting to many people that when I meet another male member of my tribe, just by knowing his middle Chinese name, I will know if he is my grand uncle, uncle, cousin, nephew, or grand nephew.

“Gian” (园) is my Chinese name. It means complete, balance, or wholesome.

The English word that best describes the meaning behind my name is integrity.

Perhaps because of my name, I’ve always held the essence of integrity as an absolute organising principle in my life.

Integrity is at the first and last part of everything that I do.

I strive to live by my words and will do what I say I will do.

To use a financial trading maxim, “My word is my bond”.

You can count on me to deliver according to our agreement.

The western name “Patrick” was given to me by my father.

He was in awe about the British Empire, arguably the greatest empire in history.

He adopted British names for his children, including names of different members of the British Royal Family in time past.

I did not fully appreciate the meaning of “Patrick” until I became a born again Christian on 1 March 1972.

Subsequently, I did some studies and found out that the root word of “Patrick” is patriarch. It also stands for nobility.

Now you know why I look so grand and have so much class. You may knee in front of me and kiss my ring. Ha!

I’m not sure how I can live my life with nobility. If there is a word that’s a close cousin to nobility, it should be honour.

To me, being honourable is to live at a higher plane than even fulfilling legal, moral, and ethical obligations.

It is to uphold a respectable image and reputation through one’s thoughts, words, and conduct.

In closing, I want to say I’m happy to be given my name. I’m also proud of the meaning and significance behind it.

I endeavour to live up to it throughout my life.

Question: What’s the story behind your name? How has it influenced your life?

Please share with me. Thank you.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/ For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/ Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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