Shengliver’s Note: What is in a name?


My online name Shengliver sounds strange. And it has puzzled many friends. “How should I pronounce your name? What does it mean?” they asked.


My real name is Shengli, meaning in English “victory”. My paternal granddad gave the name to me upon my birth in the hope that I would be a success. When I was a kid, he told me that the time I was born was when the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) was supposed to flourish and bear fruit.


Shengli incurred shame, though, for my performance in the world did not match the well-intentioned name. I still have a vivid recollection of my arithmetic teacher in primary school sneering at me because my low score in a quiz contrasted sharply with my name Shengli. “Why do you boast the name Shengli if you cannot work out the simplest arithmetic problems in the world?” she mocked.


Anyway, I am grateful for the name my granddad gave to me. I have kept reminding myself to work hard to live up to my name and to honour it over the years. In middle school I asked my father a number of times to have the name changed but father insisted I hold onto it. When I was a teenager, a sense of honour towards the name was one of my strong motivations for progress.


I bought my first PC in 2003 and went wired in 2004. Virtual reality is not the real world and I had to come up with a name for my presence on the web. I changed Shengli into Shengliver and adopted it as my cyber name. Of course, as you can see, my reader, it originates from my real name Shengli. But is there a meaning behind the three English letters VER?


Yes, there is. I have had a long-lasting interest in the English language. I majored in English language education in college, but it was only a two-year programme. I stayed in college for two years and graduated with an associate degree. Though two years was brief, it was those two years’ work that laid a firm foundation for my English learning and that gave birth to my lifelong interest in the language. My academic excellence in those two years earned me a teaching position in one of the most prestigious high schools in the area. VER has something to do with the English language.


V stands for victory, which is the English for my Chinese name, E for English, and R for research. Put together, VER is Victory English Research. I am serious about the English language and research into the language being used in the Chinese context.


When I was coining an online name back in 2004, it occurred to me that VER, added to Shengli, would make the combination Shengliver sound anglicised. Hence the name.


The stress falls on the second syllable. The name sounds like sheng-LI-ver.


There has been some misinterpretation from my friends on the net. One friend said that Sheng is a Chinese name of an animal organ “kidney” and that liver is an English name of another organ. He concluded that the name Shengliver suggests that I am either a surgeon or a butcher. That interpretation sounds logical but it is not Shengliver’s original meaning. It is WRONG.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. YiChin Fu
    Oct 29, 2014 @ 10:42:51

    I’m very much impressed with your English writing ability, and also talking ability.
    You’re also a great talker, talking about Chinese matters in English. This led me to turn to and reread random parts of Lin Yu-tang’s works. Reading Sheng makes me just feel like reading Lin, who expensed his whole life focusing on presenting Chinese scenes in English for the benefit of readers of all over the world. So, it seems to me, that you may just be regarded as the Lin Yutang of Yunxian.


    • shengliver
      Oct 29, 2014 @ 21:59:52

      Mr Fu, your comments made me feel uneasy, for the name Shengliver is a dwarf compared to the name Lin.

      Though we have not met each other physically, I have a feeling that the distance between you and me is being shortened. Reading your words, I can feel your presence, so concrete on the other end of the Web.

      Over the years I have read various comments on the blog. Yours displays language of the highest calibre, which has aroused my curiosity about your identity. Seldom do I meet someone from Yunyang whose English rivals yours.

      I will take inspirations from your words and urge myself on. During the course of my endeavour, friends like you invigorate me, especially at moments when things are not going as expected.

      I have no intention to be nosy, but still if you like, please give me an idea of yourself. There are so many questions crossing my mind right now. How did you ever stumble upon this blog of mine? If it is not convenient to write on the blog, you could send your messages to my email address, I would appreciate it very much indeed.

      I am looking forward to learning more about you, sir. Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2014 02:42:53 +0000 To:


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