this blog post was inspired by the beautiful Reina Villanueva’s blog post at Mary Musings of a Martha. after reading her blog, i felt compelled to answer the question she poses 

Who are you?

Names are important.

When it comes to my name, sometimes I’m intimidated by all that my name(s) encompass. It’s daunting. But as Reina says, there is a certain power in names, and why they were given to us. Especially if they were carefully thought out & sort of a word of prophecy that your parents bestow onto you. I have many names. My parents are ambitious, I would like to say, because I have a full English name (first, middle, last) and also a Chinese name.

For my first name, I looked it up in the “etymology and history of first names” website that Reina suggested, and was kind of disappointed because the details was so sparse. But who am I kidding? Why do I even need to look Symphony up? It’s kind of self-explanatory. Synonym for orchestra. Music stuff, etc. The only thing said on the website was “Simply from the English word, ultimately deriving from Greek συμφωνος (symphonos) “concordant in sound”. So I looked some more into what “concordant in sound”, in other words, “sounds that blend well together”. Upon examination of my life, how have I exemplified this? Being a “symphony”, has allowed me to empathize with others – to understand them even though I’m not always in the same situation as they are. With my friend groups, I think I am able to mix with a variety of people.

Middle Name: sometimes I’m more proud of this than the first, mainly because there’s biblical basis to it. Found in Matthew 21:9, Hosanna is an Aramaic religious expression הושע נא (Hosha’ na’) meaning “deliver us” in Hebrew.


It is quite interesting to see how two Chinese immigrants gave their daughter a Greek/Hebrew name! Then again, the Chinese comes in my other name.


The first character (aka my last name – Chau in English) is the family name. According to Wiki, it’s the 10th most common surname in China. I mean, it’s not super special, besides the fact it means “bye” in Italian, but that’s besides the point. more important is the second & third characters, which are “yee sum” in Cantonese. The bible verse they come from is Philippians 2:5, and both characters appear in the Chinese version (你們當基督耶穌的心為). In English, the verse says “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (NIV).  My parents gave me this name with hoping that my heart can be just like Jesus. Pretty amazing to think back upon and great expectations.


With all this name stuff in mind, am I living up to the names my parents gave me?

I’d like to think that I’m going towards that direction. Not only having these names as my foundational makeup, but allowing them to permeate through my life, shaping and transforming how I live life and presenting myself towards other people. Meshing well with others, not quite “delivering people”, but bringing that praise to others around me, and lastly, trying to formulate an attitude that follows J.C.


One thought on “names

  1. Awww I love your middle name and Chinese name! I’m kinda tempted to do a response to your response (connection!) with a full analysis of my name… Hmmm… After this paper…

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