Yeah, actually I meant that people change it out of convenience because it gets mispronounced so often.
It might be "shu" in some parts of China. Things get pronounced differently in different regions. I lived way up north. The only letters that created something close to an "sh" sound were (romanized) "x" as in "xiu" and "sh" as in "Shanghai." Down south though I seem to remember some of the people saying "si" like "shi" now that you mention it. It's just not "proper" Chinese. Mr. Hsu very well might pronounce his name like that.
From what little Mandarin I've learned, the "sh" sound like "shoe" is not exactly correct. There is a curling of the tongue toward the roof of the mouth to get the proper sound. Not easy to do if you're not used to doing it.
I'd pronounce it, roughly, "soo", though this is a Westernized form. Ferinstance, I'd be inclined to to pronounce Danny's last name as "tSee" (almost like "see", very very very slight "t"), but in Mandarin I'm guessing it's "xie", and in Cantonese probably roughly "jie" (jeh) - with the requisite tones of course; this is nothing like the western pronounciation.
For a long time the common Vietnamese surname "Nguyen" was a puzzle to me, until I actually met someone with it. The funny thing is I have another friend who married a guy with that last name, and despite knowing the proper pronunciation pronounces it "na-wen" instead of "wen." I guess he just grew up pronouncing it that way and can't change.
I was there for just shy of a year in 2001-2002. I lived in Changchun in the Jilin province (borders Russia and Inner Mongolia). Changchun is full of car factories, Chinese students that come there to study and foreigners who are car factory execs and teachers. I was there as a teacher at a small private college. I also spent a summer down in Hefei, Anhui in 1996 as a student at Univ. of Science and Technology of China. I travelled a lot to other cities as well the last time I was there. I had a blast both times.
Great discussion....being from Hong Kong, the pronounciation of "Tse" is similar to "Jeh". However, once I arrived in the US, people here pronounce "Tse" as "See". I sometimes hear "T-see" and just "T".
I've gotten into the habit of spelling my last name, Yee, whenever it's requested (my full response being "It's spelled Y-E-E."). Funny thing is people sometimes start writing a "W." I'm sure a brain expert could explain that crossing of wires.
I've also noticed I sometimes have a hard time saying my own last name - can't seem to get a strong enough "yuh" sound, making it sound like "EE." This has made me consider going with the alternative spelling of "Yu" but that would really require a name change. And I can't tell you how many times it's been mistaken as "Lee" despite the obvious.