Last week, an Australian man went viral after his passport photo—bearing his name, Phuc Dat Bich—made the rounds of the internet. The reason his name garnered so much attention? Facebook thought it was fake and shut his account down over and over. Now, Bich is thanking his supporters for recognizing that naming practices vary from culture to culture.
According to the BBC, Bich’s full name isn’t uncommon in Vietnam, nor is it pronounced phonetically like one might read it (see here for a full pronunciation). That, however, hasn’t stopped anyone from thinking it might be a joke. In fact, Facebook was so unamused by Bich’s actual last name that they shut his account down because of it.
Here’s what Bich wrote in a post in early January, accompanied by a picture of his passport photo:
I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it. I’ve been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive. Is it because I’m Asian? Is it?
Having my fb shut down multiple times and forced to change my name to my “real” name, so just to put it out there. My name.
Phuc Dat Bich
A few days ago, the post resurfaced and went viral through Reddit and Imgur. Bich’s post has now been shared over 200,000 times. Presumably, Facebook will never shut his account down again—nor will he change his name, as some advised him.
In a post written yesterday, Bich doesn’t mind that his name is funny:
I’d like to mention that I am very grateful to those who have been supportive of certain names that populate in different cultures. [...] I am glad and honoured to be able to make people happy by simply making them laugh at something that appears outrageous and ridiculous. Much tragic events have happened all over the world, out of it all only happiness can mend. As an individual I hope I have played a part in brightening your days!
Facebook hasn’t responded to Bich specifically, but come on, they know what they did.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Facebook