TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid the "salmon chaos" that is gripping Taiwan, a Taiwanese man changed his name to "Salmon Dream" only to later realize it was his last allowable name change and would be permanent.
The popular Japanese conveyor belt sushi chain Sushiro, which has 20 branches in Taiwan, on Monday (March 15) announced on its Facebook page a discount for people whose Chinese names are homophonic with the word "salmon." Though the offer was only good for March 17 and 18, over 100 people rushed to have their names legally changed to salmon and printed identification cards with the new name.
Eager to get his share of free sushi, a student surnamed Chang (張) at the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine at China Medical University legally changed his name to "Chang Salmon Dream." However, he soon faced a nightmare scenario when he received his new ID card and was informed by the household registration office that he had reached the maximum quota of three name changes and would not be allowed to change his name again, reported UDN.
When he realized that he would not be able to undo the name change, he was horrified. Since he had changed his name without first notifying his parents, he said he did not want them to know for the time being.
On Thursday (March 18), attorney Lin Chih-chun (林智群) said on his Facebook page that he has often had to come up with creative solutions for clients stuck in such conundrums. Lin pointed out that Article 9, Item 2 of the Name Act (姓名條例) states that a person may change their name if they have "the exact same given name as an elder relative within three degrees of kinship."
Therefore, Lin postulated that if Chang's father or another close relative changes their name to "Salmon Dream," Chang will then have another opportunity to change his name. This assumes, of course, that the relative has not exceeded their quota of name changes or has only one left.
Name reads: "Chang Salmon Dream." (Photo from reader)
Lin said the fact that Chang has not informed his family of the name change will delay any attempt to rectify the situation. Lin warned that although the administrative cost of changing one's name is relatively low, such a change should be made with extreme caution.
He said that if a legal dispute occurs and reaches the court before the original name is changed back, the court will list all the names before and after the change. This means that in the future, the use of such names will become a matter of public record.
The household registration office in Taichung stated that a total of 46 people had changed their name to "Salmon." At 10 a.m. on Thursday, the last day of the sushi promotion, Chang completed his name change, and it was a household registration official who informed him the name would be permanent when handing him the new ID.
Chang said he felt remorse when he entered the restaurant to get his free sushi. "Everybody was changing their names, so I did it too, but it was totally not worth it," lamented Chang.
Thinking about the long-term repercussions, Chang was on the verge of tears. He said he is not sure how he will introduce himself to others in the future and that he dares not tell his parents.
According to the rules of the promotion, if part of a customer's Chinese name was salmon, the whole table would receive sushi for free, with tables limited to six people. He decided to make the most of his one shot at free sushi by inviting 30 people to pay him NT$200 (US$7) to NT$300 each to sit at his table and partake in the raw fish.
Since the table could only hold six people at a time, he said he would have them eat with him in shifts.
On Wednesday (March 17), the Taichung City Civil Affairs Bureau called on the public to "think twice before changing your name." It exhorted people to not make impulsive changes because they will be recorded in the household registration office permanently and "these records will follow you for a lifetime."