My name is not David Pat in Chinese. My family name is actually Bi but my parents had to go to Hong Kong where the Cantonese pronounciation made it sound like Pa. The only reason my parents had to go to Hong Kong was because the US was not accepting immigrants from Shanghai but Hong Kong was under British rule so the entry process was different. Immigration officials chose an Americanized version of my Cantonese family name and that’s why you all think it’s weird that my last name doesn’t sound Chinese 😅. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and my birth name is very American because Chinese Americans want to fit in. Shanghainese are very practical and a lot of them know the history of the Japanese internment camps during WW2. You will rarely see Chinese Americans with a Chinese sounding name because we were taught to fit in and the consequences that happen when you don’t. When I learned the history of my family in America, I thought a lot about the discrimination my family has gone through but also the great life I have now. One of the reasons why our family loves working with ethnic minorities is because we feel the struggle of new American families. We have friends who just arrived in Southern California and are learning about what it means to live in this country. I feel hurt that immigration has made me lose a piece of my identity but I am thankful that God has made me a person of many names. My family struggle has taken away a part of me that has existed for generations but this journey has allowed us to write new chapters in a story my ancestors would not believe possible.

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