Keeping my name

Sacha Chua. It’s hard to pronounce, hard to spell, and frequently changed into Sacha Chau, Sacha Chu, or Sasha, or Sascha, or even the occasional Sachua.

But it’s my name, and I’m keeping it when I get married in two months.

I’ve published a lot as Sacha Chua: articles, papers, blog posts, open source code… If I change my name, it will be harder for people to make that connection. It helps that I’m the only Sacha Chua on the Net (at least, according to Google). There’s already a Sacha Y-.

It’s a lot of paperwork to change my name and update all my records. I don’t see why the woman should be the only one who traditionally goes through all that fuss. ;) I don’t want to always carry marriage documents to justify my name change. For example, the entry form for Singapore asks if you’ve ever entered the country under a different name, and to provide supporting documents if you have. It’s easier if I keep my name.

I like my name. It’s a small reminder of the diversity of this world. If anything, it would be cooler if it was even more Filipino. (For example, Kidlat Tahimik has a really cool name.)

Keeping my name means taking one small step towards greater equity. =) Isn’t it fantastic that I can consider this choice? Likewise, I’ll probably keep Ms. instead of Mrs. if people insist on courtesy titles. (Why isn’t there a male equivalent of that?)

There are worst-case scenarios to think about, too. If we split up, I’d rather not have to go through the fuss of changing my name again.

Will people be confused? Maybe. But my friends Joey de Villa and Wendy Koslow are doing fine, as are Michael McGuffin and Alice Servera.

Will I get addressed as Mrs. Y-? Maybe. But it’s a good opportunity to say, “It’s Sacha Chua, actually. Ms., if you insist.”

Will W- get addressed as Mr. Chua? Maybe. That’ll probably be amusing. <laugh>

Many people change their name, and it works out for them. That’s great. =) Me, I’m keeping mine.

  • Hey Sacha, just so you know my wife does the same — she still uses her maiden name and I don’t mind at all. Of course my daughter though has my last name but that’s the default. :) Congratulations in advance too! :D

  • Will J- take on a “double bunger” name as we call it Australia? I friend of my daughter has the surname of Irwin-Faulks … her mother is surnamed Irwin and the father is Faulks … it certainly makes the name special!

    I used to work with a Karen Chong who was married to an Australian (Caucasian). I asked why she didn’t take her husband’s name – she said “If I use the name of Chong, then people know what to expect!”.

    All the best for your upcoming marriage.

  • J- will keep her name, as it is just as much part of herself as my name is part of me. =) We haven’t decided what the naming scheme will be for future kids, although I’m okay with them having Y- as a last name (and perhaps Chua as a middle name, like the way middle names are handled in the Philippines?). Kids will start with new identities, after all. =)

  • Alvar Ojeda

    Sacha. I am a latino, you know we are a very macho oriented society, but let me tell you, I could never understand why women in America have to actually CHANGE your names, when married.

    Here in Mexico, if a woman chooses to, she can ADD the husbands last name to hers (Sacha Chua de (last name) or not use it at all. Kids carry two last names, father’s and mother’s.. Everyone knows who comes from who.

    I enjoy your blog so much!!! And congratulations on your future wedding…

    Alvar Ojeda-Castro

  • Tom

    I heard that if you hyphenate your last name on the document then you are legally allowed to go by either last name. Not sure if that is true or not.

  • Hi

    I think keeping your name means a lot like your identity in the business. But If I remember correctly I read an article/essay by a female writer and she said that it is more than just about business, it’s about her right to be called by her birth name.

  • btw,

    congrats on your future wedding.


  • It’s more like people’s right to be called by the name they want to be called. =) In this case, in fact, people call me by my nickname.

  • congratulations! this reminds me of my filipino aunt, who kept her maiden name after she got married. she said it was common in canada, but it would certainly be unusual in the philippines. but you may want to bring your marriage docs if you go visit the philippines. i think there was a bit of a hassle at immigration when she went back to manila and said she was married, but the authorities were suspicious because her passport showed a different last name from that of her husband.

  • So I guess I’ll have to carry the paperwork either way. <laugh> Still, it moves us closer to a world where this is ordinary. =)

  • OK Sacha. compromise. how about change your cat’s last name then….?

  • Heh, we keep things simple. None of our cats have last names. =)

  • @sachac My wife retained her maiden name. We buried her surname in our sons middles names (i.e. most people would recognize one middle name, and then there’s three names after that … for two Chinese syllables and her surname).

    It’s been inobtrusive, except for one incident when we wired money to Beijing, and discovered that Chinese bank clerks can’t parse names, so Eric’s ID was all of the characters smashed together.

  • Hi Sacha, I found this post in your “this day in other years” link roll, nice feature.
    Back to the point, I’m totally favorable to everyone keeping their names, but if one needs to change, the other should change too. At least here in Brazil this is possible (this law changed approximately 10 years ago to allow that), the husband can change his name too. Anyway, it’s much easier each one keeping theirs, no paperwork, no hassle and no male dominant stupid rules (even if both change their name, she’ll be Mrs Husband_surname, he won’t be Mr Wife_surname). Also, why the kid carry father’s name to the grandchildren, but not mother’s name?

    • Yeah, “On this day” is a pretty good time machine. =)

      Aside from a brief hullaballo near the wedding, everything else has been just fine with my keeping my name. Yay Canada – it’s totally acceptable here. Come to think of it, I haven’t used Mrs. on anything. If I have to select a salutation, I pick Ms., which covers both cases. I don’t have a strong opinion on the naming of kids (as long as the names aren’t going to get them into too much trouble on the playground), so if we have kids, we might go with convention when it comes to last names. W-‘s last name is easier to spell.

      I’m quite happily and sappily married (as W- can probably attest), so it turns out gender equity and relationships can coexist. =)