Hinson Cheung Tsz-hin, producer, G.V.A. Creative (video production company), Hong Kong
Name Category: Creation; Son-suffix
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 September, 2015, 4:22amUPDATED : Sunday, 06 September, 2015, 11:12am
English soccer giants Manchester United's self-proclaimed biggest fan has legally changed his name to that of his beloved club, and he doesn't care what others think.
Speaking to the media for the first time, diehard Hong Kong supporter Law Man United Dick - previously known as Dick Lo Kin-fung - said his commitment to the club was unwavering, even if the Red Devils' English Premier League performance has been less than stellar.
The super-keen fan changed his name through deed poll, which he had to do through a lawyer at considerable cost.
Law then registered the change with the Immigration Department, which will issue him a new identity card on Wednesday. The department stipulates that English names have to be no longer than 40 letters and six Chinese characters, which puts Law well within the limit.
The 27-year-old, who works in the insurance industry, is one of only two known people in the world to legally change their name to include the team's name.
Bulgarian Manchester Zdravkov Levidzhov-United, a 52-year-old construction worker, last year won a partial 15-year legal battle with authorities to include the club in his name. However, he eventually aims to change his name to just Mr Manchester United, dropping his own name.
Asked if he would consider changing his name back to the original, Law was adamant: "Never, never, never. I'm serious about keeping my name." He added that he had the "guts and balls" to change it in the first place.
Six months in the planning, Law considered tattooing the club emblem on his body but "not everyone will know how much I love the club. Changing my name has much more impact," he explained.
Law said his girlfriend, family and friends had been supportive, even if internet users were dismissive. Given his new name, he is also changing his email address and company business cards.
Law revealed he was currently writing a 100,000-word "fan" book to share his passion for the club.
The book, which he hopes to complete within six months, is about "me and Manchester United" as he explores themes drawing upon "Why I love the club, and why I'm crazy about supporting the club," and he hopes other passionate fans will contribute to it.
However, perhaps one of the biggest ironies is that the official Manchester United supporters' club has yet to accept Law's new name.
"I dream of recognition from the club as the most loyal fan in the world. I want everyone to know I love this football team," he said. His next goal: making his first visit to the club's stadium, Old Trafford, next year.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as What's in a name: everything for Law Man United Dick
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 August, 2015, 8:41am
The GuardianUnder different circumstances, Anastasia Lin might be a shoo-in for Miss World. A vocal human rights activist with prominent cheekbones, the Canadian candidate for the crown is also an accomplished piano player, a Chinese calligrapher, and an actress with more than 20 credits in film and television.
But the contest takes place in Lin’s native China.
And, as Lin revealed in an interview, she is a practitioner of Falun Gong.
Adherents say Falun Gong combines moral philosophy, meditation and qigong exercises, and emerged out of ideas prevalent in alternative Chinese medicine. Beijing has branded it an “evil cult”.
Falun Gong followers have been detained and killed in Chinese labour camps in their thousands, according to activists. The religion was outlawed in China 1999, following a silent demonstration by thousands of Falun Gong practitioners outside Communist party headquarters, who were protesting attacks on its members.
Lin, an outspoken advocate on human rights and religious persecution, had refrained from publicly disclosing her faith. As recently as August 9, she demurred when asked by Canada’s Maclean’s magazine if she was a practitioner: “I started doing the exercises. I don’t know why people give the title of ‘Falun Gong practitioner’. It’s just a meditation practice…If it weren’t for their persecution, people would probably view them as fancy yoga practitioners.”
But having gained a wider platform thanks to winning the Canadian crown, Lin has now revealed her faith, hoping it would help stop the demonisation and give voice to other Chinese people who are persecuted for their beliefs.
“If I don’t, the oppression will never stop,” Lin said.
Though she has kept her faith out of the public eye, she has been an outspoken advocate for minority religious groups she says are persecuted in China, such as Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Christians, as well as the Falun Gong.
But it is for her outspoken advocacy work that she says the Chinese Ministry of State Security is trying to silence her by intimidating her father.
Lin has only set foot in China once since moving to Canada in 2003, but she says her father, who still lives in Hunan province, has been visited by security agents at least once. According to Lin, he is not affiliated with Falun Gong or any religious group.
Just a few days after winning the Miss World Canada crown on 16 May, Lin began receiving text messages from her father asking her to stop her advocacy work. She had highlighted her human rights work in a video and speech at the pageant.
“Do you know the security forces actually came to see me,” Lin said, recounting a text from her father. She said he warned her that if she continued to do her human rights work, she would risked turning her family against each other. “When I asked him more details, he just pleaded that I allow him to live peacefully by not bringing up rights abuses in China again.”
She doesn’t know if agents have visited him again as she said he refuses to talk about it during their brief phone calls. “Nowadays, he always mentions how great the Chinese president is,” she adds. “I think he believes that his phone is being tapped.”
Lin’s case is a classic example of how Beijing tries to bring Chinese expatriates to heel through the harassment of loved ones left behind, said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
But Lin continued her activist work, by writing a Washington Post op-ed in June and by testifying to the US Congress in July about religious persecution in China.
By coming out now as a practitioner of Falun Gong, Lin has become its highest-profile follower in the western hemisphere.
“It’s not an organised religion,” she said. “The teachings - established by qigong master Li Hongzi in 1992 - are about finding our authentic self. And this is what I’m trying to do by speaking up. If I don’t, the oppression will never stop.”
Lin has also felt ostracised by segments of the Canadian Chinese community, despite the backing of the Canadian government for her activism. She said she stopped being invited to events by community leaders tied to the Chinese embassy and consulate since her crowning. And to those community events that she is invited to, she is “monitored” by the Chinese consulate.
“They send officials to all social events,” said the actress, who also believes that her phone is tapped.
Whether China will allow her to compete in the Miss World final on December 19 in Sanya, on Hainan Island, is uncertain, as many Falun Gong practitioners have been denied entry to the country in recent years.
“My aim is not to put an anti-China slogan on the stage,” she insists. “After all, it’s a beauty pageant. But I feel that my presence in that country alone would give people hope. The regime would show itself worthy of hosting the [2022 winter Olympic] games by allowing me to enter China freely.”
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