My Name is 張麟發 Tommy Lan Phat Truong

Tommy (a.k.a. 張麟發, Jason, Timmy, Tammy, Tim Tam, Lan Phat and T Truong) reveals the story of his many names
Available on CBC Gem

My Name is 張麟發 Tommy Lan Phat Truong

Short Docs

In the animated short My Name is 張麟發 Tommy Lan Phat Truong, Tommy (a.k.a. 張麟發, Jason, Timmy, Tammy, Tim Tam, Lan Phat and T Truong) reveals the story of his many names by exploring their etymology, evolution and script.

The film explains how each of these names came to be and the reasons they kept changing (for example, microaggressions, cultural denial and the limitations of writing a Chinese name in the Roman alphabet). With humour, it explores the struggles of a Canadian-born Chinese Vietnamese child trying to define his cultural identity while assimilating into Western culture.

Our protagonist’s parents gave him the name 張麟發, which, when transliterated, became Lan Phat Truong.

When Truong was in kindergarten, his teacher suggested to his parents that they give him a “proper” English name. He was unsure why his teacher thought his name was improper, but all the same, his parents asked his older sisters to help him.

They sat him down, opened a big book of English baby names, and started reading them one by one.

Ultimately, Truong identified with “Tommy.”

Maybe it was because the name resonated with the four-year-old on a deeper level. Maybe it was because Truong was watching a lot of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at the time. Whatever the reason, he uses the name Tommy to this day.

The film follows the evolution of Truong’s identity over the years and explores how we’re shaped by both the names we’re given and those we choose for ourselves.

Directed, animated and narrated by Truong himself, My Name is 張麟發 Tommy Lan Phat Truong thoughtfully and succinctly (although it still takes 11 minutes) answers the question “Where are you from?”