Tsui to Tssui: Why I Changed My Name

Architect Eugene Tssui at his home in Emeryville, Calif. on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015.


On December 21, 2010 (Winter Solstice,) I was sleeping in my cold, 17th floor, architecture office in Shenzhen, China, and just before dawn, I began to hear a voice.   It was not a voice of sound, but rather, a kind of spatial dialogue that reverberated in my body and mind.  It was very matter-of-fact with no expressiveness–as if to deliver an announcement…I just listened to what this voice had to say.   It identified itself as Temujin, which I knew from my past studies of Chinghess Khan and from Hollywood movies, as the birth name of Chinghiss Khan.

The voice told me to pay attention and remember clearly what it says.  It went something like this:

“I am Temujin and I want to tell you three things that you must do and you must never forget these three things.  First, you must add an “S” to your last name because the double “S” has magic powers.”   I  remember thinking what people I know have a double “S” surname; Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Cyd Charisse, and Vidal Sassoon.  This seemed like a rather contrite command.  The voice continued to describe the second item I must remember.  “You will find a way to link the east and the west together.”  Well, that’s quite a challenge, I thought to myself.  “The third thing you must do is to study my book, the Yassa.”  I remembered that Chinghiss Khan was illiterate so, by this point, I didn’t take this “encounter” very seriously.   To end, the voice concluded by saying, “I will not come this way again, and you must remember what I said, and never forget.”

After that farewell, I went back to a quiet sleep and woke up some hours later, and decided to immediately go to my computer where I typed in the word, “Yassa.”  Sure enough, eight scholars around the world had bits and pieces of the original text and an English translation had been done of the entire Yassa, or “Book of Laws.”  The book was  created by Chinghiss Khan as a series of mandated laws that governed all armies, culture, and behavior in Mongolia, and everywhere that Mongolian people traveled.

In 2014, I returned to Mongolia and Ulaan Bataar and befriended a travel guide who had arranged for me to visit and consult with a Mongolian Shaman famous in Mongolia.  When I arrived at the shaman’s quarters, I was introduced to his wife, who acted as translator from ancient Mongolian language- which only the shaman spoke- to modern Mongolian, which was then translated by my travel guide to English.

The shaman was dressed quite a shocking outfit!   (See attached.)  His face was hidden behind a black mask which was covered with snake-like strands of snakeskin and other reptile and animal skins.  Underneath this layer of “snakes” was a layer of animal skins and wool fabrics of varying colors and textures.   He wore a skirt of similar fabrics and animal skins, heavily clothed, with no way to see the human figure behind the elaborate layering of exotic and pastoral animal skins.

After a period of introduction, I introduced my story of the dream of hearing Temujin (Chinghiss Khan) and the edicts that were given.  The shaman asked if I thought I myself was capable of fulfilling the commands of Temujin?    I thought for a while and replied, yes, I think I am capable of such things.  The Shaman replied that I will need protection, protection from disbelievers, protection from jealousy, protection from forces that will challenge such goals.

The shaman asked me if I wore anything on my body 24 hours a day and I replied that I do not like wearing anything such as rings, earrings, or anything that is binding.  So, he said we must meditate and chant and search for an answer.   After about 5 to 10 minutes of chanting, in which the shaman had a rattling shaker, suddenly, a metal ring fell to the ground from his shaker.  The was the sign, the talisman, that
we needed!   What a strange situation, I thought, and what can you do with a ring?

The shaman found some bright red cotton string and wrapped and knotted the string around the ring so that it became a necklace.  I put it over my head and onto my neck and it hung quite comfortably.  The shaman told me I must wear this 24 hours a day for protection.  After this shamanic experience, I was filled with wonderment as to whether this simple dangling ring had any real powers of its own.  As time, passed I began to ask myself if any person’s spirit had any protective reality, wouldn’t the spirit of Chinghiss Khan be the most powerful and reliable?  Who could out-do Chinghiss Khan?

From that moment on, in December of 2010, I began to spell my surname with a double “S” and, aesthetically, it looked a lot better to me that the single “S” spelling.  Since my English name is derived from my Chinese name, 崔Cui 悦Yue 君Jun, (Chinese meaning:  Mountain Prince- Bringer of Happiness) the spelling of my English name can be decided upon by me, and the Tssui spelling has more substance and aesthetic appeal than the Tsui spelling.  I have done a search world-wide and the name spelled, Tssui, has not existed before my creation of it.  It is absolutely a one-of-kind name unique in history, and it has no history, which appeals to me.

Shortly after having this “dream” meeting with the spirit of Chinghiss Khan, I was curious about what other persons I knew thought of this event?  I approached the Dean of the Harbin School of Science and Technology architecture school, in China, where I was teaching at the time, and told him the story.  He thought about it and replied, in China, this kind of dream is not to be taken lightly and I should take its message very seriously.  Throughout the years, I have told many people this story and either they are dumbfounded by it or they say it is important that I do what is stated.

I look back upon that winter solstice event and remember that it happened in 2010.  Since that time I have studied the thoughts and military strategies of Temujin/Chinghiss Khan and know that he plans things in groups of ten.   The number ten is common to the logistical structure of his thinking.   My event happened in 2010 and perhaps the number, ten, has some significance in this?

Studying the principles of Chinghiss Khan’s Yassa (Book of Laws,) I have deciphered 12 principles that can be applied universally:

1)  Have No Pride

2)  Have Discipline

3)  Remember Generosity

4)  Reward Loyalty

5)  Adapt New Ideas and Think Innovatively

6)  Find the Sacred

7)  Value and Live with Austerity

8)  Practice Self-Control

9)  Oppose Cruelty

10)  Believe in Devine Intervention

11)  Respect Freedom

12) Have Goals

My question is; if these principles are the platform of Temujin’s (Chinghiss Khan) thoughts, values, and behaviors, then how can they be instrumental in the development of an outlook that links the cultures of the east and the west together in a seamless and mutually beneficial way?

I search for answers…


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