A Fan Letter to All the “Ian” Out There

Discover humor and opportunities in your name

Ian Fan
5 min readAug 1, 2022


Photo by Magdalena Smolnicka on Unsplash

Let me introduce myself, “Hi, my name is Ian Fan.”

Hi, my first name is Ian

When I was younger, I asked my parents, “Why did you name me Ian?” They wanted to name me John or Jonathan but there were already so many Johns and Jonathans in our circle of friends and family. Instead, they went with Ian.

Have you looked up your name on Wikipedia before? Out of curiosity, I Wikipedia-ed the name Ian and discovered that it is another name for John.

Ian from Wikipedia. Photo by author

I pride myself on carrying a name that is of Scottish Gaelic and Hebrew origin.

Uncommon name

The name Ian is a rare (first) name; even for an English first name. The more common English first names for guys are Eugene, Jonathan, Sean, Kevin, Jason, Bryan, etc.

Even though rare, the name Ian is also popular. Whenever I hear the name Ian Fleming, I feel all is not lost for the rare name of Ian as he authored the popular James Bond series.

Then, coming from the Chinese community, to even pronounce Ian is a challenge. This is due to the movement of the tongue and the linguistic nature of Chinese pronunciation.

My name has been mispronounced countless times. I’ve been called:

  • Iron
  • Ion
  • Yen
  • I-yen
  • Ean

Don’t get me started on Sean, Shawn, and Shaun.