LiWei       Li Wei


Most Chinese people who deal with foreigners will adopt an English name because it is easier for foreigners to pronounce. Since the Chinese find my own name very difficult to pronounce I thought for some time I could adopt a Chinese name. It turns out I found one by chance and here's how it happened.

One day I was sailing with some friends and we were talking about China and my travels there. I was not paying as much attention to my navigation as I should and several times I made the comment that we were making too much leeway.

For those who do not sail and do not know what leeway is I should explain: The wind blows across the boat and the forces it creates on the sails can be divided into two components: one force tends to push the boat forward and this is the useful force which we try to use to maximum advantage. The movement forward of the boat is called headway. Another force tries to push the boat sideways but movement in this direction is unwanted and so the boat has a keel underwater which presents little resistance to movement forward but much resistance to lateral movement. Movement in this direction is called leeway because lee is the direction towards which the wind blows. So making leeway is unwanted and the sign of a bad sailor.

The joke came up that I was Captain Leeway because of my navigation and because it sounded like a Chinese word so I thought it would be a good Chinese name for me to adopt. There are several Lis and Weis in Chinese and I adopted these two signs mostly because they were simple.

Traditionally Chinese is written from top to bottom and from right to left (so to me it seems a Chinese book is written backwards) but now you can it written horizontally and then it is written from left to right and that is the way you can see it here.

The first sign, Li, means power or strength so I found it appropriate. The second character, Wei, means mast so I also find it appropriate.


Autor: Alfonso Gonzalez Vespa