Whoa, check it out - tôi víêt tíêng vịêt. Cảm ơn Doan Thuc và Thông.
Vietnamese folks have a hard time pronouncing and remembering "Chris," so I've chosen a Vietnamese name. It's "Lâm" (pronounced like "lum"). It means "forrest" in Vietnamese and is a good fit because that's my middle name in English.
I've taken to introducing myself as "Lâm" because it's just easier. Naturally, Vietnamese people think this is hysterically funny. I usually get a variation of "What? But that's a Vietnamese name! You're not Vietnamese!" delivered between giggles. I like to shoot back "Không. Tôi là người vịêt. Tôi không hiểu tiếng anh. Tôi nói tiếng vịet." (No. I'm Vietnamese. I don't understand English. I speak Vietnamese.) More laughter ensues.
Vietnamese names are pretty interesting. Women's names are all gentle and/or beautiful, like Hoa (flower), Bình (peace), Phượng (phoenix) and Trinh (chaste). Men's names are all manly and strong, like Quân (soldier), Dũng (valiant), Thông (pine tree) and, of course, Lâm (forrest).