Naming Keyuan garden

The eminent Dongguan landmark Keyuan [可园] was almost named “Yiyuan” [意园] a long time ago, because “Yi” [意] in Mandarin means “manyi” [满意] or “he xinyi” [合心意], which are similar to satisfaction or contentment. So how was the name “Keyuan” decided upon after all?

It was a non-intended coincidence. When all construction was finished, the owner of Keyuan, Jingxiu Zhang, prepared food and invited friends to look around. After giving the tour, he asked for opinions from his friends—some of which were very drunk after the banquet—to which the response was “Keyi! Keyi!” [可以] instead of a specific adjective or sentence. “Keyi” in Mandarin means “not bad/pretty good.” It’s hard to figure out whether they said so due to the alcohol or because at that time they couldn’t find the words to describe the beautiful garden.

The “yi” [以] from “keyi” [可以] and the “yi” [意] from “yiyuan” [意园] do have a similar pronunciation. And obviously, “ke” is in front of “yi” when you say “keyi,” which means “keyuan” is beyond “yiyuan.” Therefore in the end, Zhang decided to use his merged name “keyuan” inspired by a jolly and drunken evening with friends!