Adopting Ke Erwen 柯而文

Nicholas Quirke was exited to finally adopt a Chinese name on 24 March 2021. There had been a few suggestions from Peng, his cousin and now his parents had added to the mix. He had already decided that his surname would be Ke (pronounced Ku) and echoed the last syllable of his own , but a first name had proved more difficult to settle on. When Quihui and Lianzhuang proffered 而文(Er Wen). It had a depth and significance that he really liked and wanted to be associated with. It’s from the Chinese character “斋”(Zhai) which, 斋 has two components in the writing: Top is 文 and Bottom is 而。 “斋“ itself has the following meanings:

  1. Vegetarian/vegan (mainly indicating buddha vegetarian or strict vegan for monks)
  2. Study room (the room filled with books is called 斋 in ancient China)
  3. Solemn, Dignified, Respect
  4. Neat and clean

It was a good feeling to have another identity and Peng alerted the family to the christening and from here-on he would be referred to in China amongst his friends as Er Wen. The decision was made over lunch at Side Street, yet another western style establishment, serving vegan Burgers and while he admitted that the burgers and sweet potato fries were delicious It was not exactly a treat. The location however was in a side street and he was amused by the its name and decor. They continued through the Hutong it was situated in to a tea rooms where they comfortably sat till its was time for him to go to work. He was amused here by the litttle socks that had been put on some of the chair feet. The class that evening was his last ever with Yuda and the twins Anthony and Alexander. They were disappointed, as was he that they would not have any more lessons together but it was a good class and a nice goodbye. Er Wen traveled home on the subway where he found himself somewhat cramped by the passengers and their suitcases either side of him. At home there was debate about what film to watch as downloading subtitles was proving problematical for Ema and by the time he had showered and had a massage in the chair time had run a way and he started to watch ’Dead Pigs’a film by a Chinese American Cathy Yan which was for some reason not liked by the indigenous Chinese but. Almost as a reminder to himself that despite assuming a Chinese identity he was still very much a westerner, he found the movie quirky and very appealing. The newly dubbed Er Wen was satisfied with the day and went to sleep easily in his new persona.


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