An American man has piqued the curiosity of Hongkongers after a video showed him with a tattoo of former lawmaker Emily Lau’s name on his arm.

In a clip entitled Swoldier Nation – Trainer Edition – Arms with Mike O’Hearn, a man is seen explaining how he tore his pec. As he lifts the sleeve of his t-shirt, he reveals Lau’s name in traditional Chinese characters.

The man with the Emily Lau tattoo (R). Photo: Youtube screenshot.

Originally uploaded in 2013, the video resurfaced on Tuesday after a report by Stand News. It found that, using Google Translate, the fourth alternative English-to-Chinese translation for the name “Emily”  is the name of the former Democratic Party lawmaker: Lau Wai-hing.

According to Google, the alternative translation feature is designed to give users a better understanding of ambiguous and confusing phrases.

The fourth alternate translation for the name “Emily” is the name of former lawmaker Emily Lau: Lau Wai-hing. Photo: Google translate screenshot.

Internet users tested Google Translate to see if other English first names would yield the names of the city’s lawmakers and politicians. The name “Priscilla” translates directly to the Chinese name of DAB lawmaker Priscilla Leung: Leung Mei-fun.

The direct translation of the name “Priscilla” is the Chinese name of DAB lawmaker Priscilla Leung: “Leung Mei-fun.” Photo: Google translate screenshot.

HKFP used the software to translate Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan’s first name. The first result to come up is the Chinese name of Singaporean singer-songwriter Tanya Chua.

The translation of the name “Tanya” is the Chinese name of Singaporean singer Tanya Chua. Photo: Google translate screenshot.

In an interview with Apple Daily, Lau said that she was calm when she found out about the tattoo.

“To be honest, I’ve seen it all before,” Lau said. “This is probably the first time [someone has tattooed my name on their body] – it’s curious, because even I haven’t gotten that tattoo, so I don’t know why he would!”

Lau said that if reporters found the man in the video, she would not mind taking a picture with him. She said that it was likely that the man in the video knew someone else in the world with the same Chinese name.

“I think he would be scared to death… the best thing would be to find the ‘Emily Lau’ he is talking about, because there are many ‘Emily Laus’ in the world.”

Emily Lau Wai-hing (center). File photo: HKFP.

One commenter on YouTube said: “The name he put is a politician in Hong Kong. Now everyone in Hong Kong is making fun of it. Don’t put [a] tattoo in [a] language you don’t know. Poor guy.”

One commenter on online forum Golden said: “Maybe this is how they fall in love.”

Another commenter said: “At least it’s Emily Lau – I really wouldn’t know what to do if I found out I had Priscilla Leung’s name tattooed on my arm.”

Jun Pang

Jun Pang is an independent writer and researcher. She has previously worked in NGOs advocating for refugees' and migrants' rights in Asia and Europe.