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Many cultures, many challenges

Why I’m an intercultural trainer
My name is Rana Singh Johal and from my name you should be able to tell quite a lot about me, even though you may never have met me. My first name is a contraction of my actual name but may suggest that either I am a woman of Arabic background (as in the writer and broadcaster Rana Kabbani) or perhaps a man of Indian or Pakistani background. Further detail about my heritage is identified by my middle name, Singh. This is a middle name (or surname) common to males from Sikh families, but were I a woman of such origin my middle name or surname would be Kaur – so you can tell I’m not a woman, but a man of Sikh heritage. Finally, my family name is Johal and Johals are a Sikh clan from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. From knowing my name you get clues to my gender, my religious affiliation and my ethnic and cultural origin. Names still have meaning and purpose in many parts of the world, but not so much with Western names. For example, my brother in law is called Clive Frankson – how much could you glean about him from that?

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