Angela Chung

Naming Revolution

For some Asian American activist parents, naming their kids is a political affair.

UNLIKE LONG DUK DONG in Sixteen Candles and my childhood classmate Kil-Her, I was spared the angst of having a name that invited peer torment. Nor was I saddled with a name that, like Gogol Ganguli's in The Namesake, was inherently non-conducive to sexual foreplay.

I was named Angela, supposedly after my aunt's Italian American best friend from Philadelphia. My Korean immigrant parents, who arrived in the late 1 970s, also gave me a Korean middle name - Megyung, meaning "pretty landscape" - which I embraced only upon joining a radical leftist organization in college.