Posted by: mel | December 4, 2009

Indonesian-sounding names adopted by Chinese Indonesians

Wapedia | accessed 4 December 2009

A large number of ethnic Chinese people have lived in Indonesia for many centuries. Over time, especially under social and political pressure during the New Order era, most Chinese Indonesians have adopted names that better match the local language.

1. Colonial era to 1965
2. 1965 to 2000
3. 2000 to today
4. Examples of Chinese names and their Indonesian versions
5. See also

1. Colonial era to 1965

During the Dutch colonial era until the Japanese invasion in 1942, the Dutch administration recorded Chinese names in birth certificates and other legal documents using an adopted spelling convention that was based primarily on Hokkien(Min), the language of the majority of Chinese immigrants in the Dutch East Indies. The administrators used the closest Dutch pronunciation and spelling of Hokkien words to record the names. A similar thing happens in Malaya, where the British administrators record the names using English spelling. Compare Lim (English) vs. Liem (Dutch), Wee or Ooi (English) vs. Oey (Dutch), Goh (English) vs. Go (Dutch), Chan (English) vs. Tjan (Dutch), Lee (English) vs. Lie (Dutch), Leung or Leong (English) vs Liong (Dutch).

Hence, Lin (林, Mandarin) is spelled Liem in Indonesia. Chen (陈) is Tan, Huang (黄) is Oey, Wu (吴) is Go, Guo (郭) is Kwee, Yang (杨) is Njoo. And so on. Further, as Hokkien romanization standard did not exist then, some romanized names varied slightly. For example, 郭 (Guo) could sometimes be Kwik instead of Kwee, and Huang is sometimes Oei instead of Oey.

The spelling convention survived well into Indonesian independence (1945) and sovereignty acknowledgment by the Dutch government (1949). It is even still used today by the Chinese-Indonesian diaspora in Europe and America, by those Chinese-Indonesians courageous or famous enough during Suharto’s regime to keep their Chinese names (e.g., Kwik Kian GieLiem Swie King), or by those too poor to bribe Indonesia’s civil court bureaucracy.

The Indonesian government changed the Latin spelling twice, first in 1947 (Ejaan Suwandi), and again in 1972 (Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan, literally “Perfected Spelling”). According to the Suwandi system of spelling, “oe” became “u”, so Loe is often spelt Lu. Since 1972, Dutch-style “j” became “y”, meaning Njoo is now spelt Nyoo.

2. 1965 to 2000

After Soeharto came to power, his regime created many anti-Chinese legislations in Indonesia. One of them was127/U/Kep/12/1966 which mandated that ethnic Chinese living in Indonesia adopt Indonesian-sounding names instead of the standard three-word or two-word Chinese names. The Chinese Indonesian community was politically powerless to oppose this law. The Suharto regime wrongly but intentionally cast the ethnic Chinese as supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI),[citation needed] which he brutally defeated in a power struggle to succeed Sukarno’s government in 1965-1970. By doing so, the Suharto regime – a coalition of the Golkar bureaucrats and the armed forces – extracted unofficial taxes from wealthy Chinese businesspeople in exchange for protection from occasional but deadly pogroms, such as the Jakarta Riots of May 1998.[citation needed]

Some Chinese Indonesians adopt western names as first names, such as Jonny or Albert, and Javanese names for the family names. The adopted Javanese names were often based on their phonetics, but it was not always the case. Although two Chinese individuals shared the same Chinese surname, they may adopt different Indonesian-sounding names. For example, one with the surname 林 (Lin) may adopt “Limanto”, and the other may adopt “Halim” as Indonesian-sounding names. “Limanto” and “Halim” both contain “lim” that corresponds to the 林 surname (Mandarin: Lin, Hokkien: Liem or Lim = forest). Some translated their names. For example, the famous 1966 political activist and businessman Liem Bian Koentranslated Lin to old Javanese “wana”, meaning forest, and added the male-suffix “ndi”, resulting in the new clan name Wanandi.

The Indonesianized names – basically Hokkien syllables with western or Indonesian prefix or suffix – resulted in so many exotic sounding names, that people can tell accurately whether a person is an Indonesian Chinese based only on his/her name.[citation needed]

3. 2000 to today

After Soeharto resigned as president, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia are again allowed to use their original names. Most no longer cared and kept their Indonesian names. Some reverted to Chinese names. Some decide to re-adopt the original Hokkien names of their grandparents or to use the more standard pinyin romanization, pronunciation and spelling.

4. Examples of Chinese names and their Indonesian versions

Chinese surname Hokkien Example of Adopted Indonesian-sounding Names
陈 (Chen) Tan, Tjhin Tandubuana, Tanto, Hertanto, Hartanto, Tanoto, Tanu, Tanutama, Soetanto, Cendana, Tanudisastro, Tandiono, Tanujaya, Santoso, Tanzil, Tanasal, Tanadi, Tanusudibyo, Tanamal, Taniwan, Tanuwidjaja, Tanuseputro, Tanaya, Tanjaya, Tandika, Tanandar, Hartanoeh, Tanesia
郭 (Guo) Kwee, Kwik
韩 (Han) Han Handjojo, Handaya, Handoko
洪 (Hong) Ang Anggawarsito, Anggakusuma, Angela , Angkiat
黄 (Huang) Oei, Oey Wibowo, Wijaya, Winata, Widagdo, Winoto, Willys, Wirya, Wiraatmadja , Winarto
江 (Jiang) Kang/Kong Kangean
李 (Li) Li, Lie, Lee Lijanto, Liman, Leman, Liedarto, Rusli, Lika, Aliwarga, Nauli
梁 (Liang) Nio Neonardi, Antonio
林 (Lin) Liem, Lim Halim, Salim, Limanto, Limantoro, Limijanto, Wanandi, Liemena, Alim, Limawan, Linus, Ruslim
劉/刘 (Liu) Lau, Lauw Mulawarman, Lawang, Lauwita, Leo
陆 (Lu) Liok, Liuk Loekito, Loekman
吕 () Loe, Lu Loekito, Luna, Lukas
司徒 (Situ) Sieto, Szeto, Seto, Siehu, Suhu Lutansieto, Suhuyanli, Suhuyanly
苏 (Su) Souw, So, Soe Soekotjo, Soehadi, Sosro, Solihin, Soeganda
王 (Wang) Ong, Wong Onggo, Ongko, Wangsadinata, Wangsa, Radja, Wongsojoyo, Ongkowijaya
温 (Wen) Oen, Boen, Woen Benjamin, Bunjamin, Budiman, Gunawan, Basiroen, Bunda, Wendi, Unang, Boentaran
吳/吴, 武, 伍, 仵, 烏, 鄔 (Wu) 吴 (Go, Gouw, Goh, Ng) Gondo , Sugondo, Gozali, Wurianto, Gunawan, Gotama, Utama, Widargo, Sumargo
许 (Xu) Kho, Khouw, Khoe Kosasih, Komar, Kurnia, Kusnadi
謝 (Xie) Cia/Tjia Tjiawijaya, Sjiariel, Tjhia, Sieto, Sinar, Sindoro
杨 (Yang) Njoo, Nyoo, Jo, Yong Yongki, Yoso, Yohan, Nyoto
叶 (Ye) Yap/Jap Yaputro, Yaputri
曾 (Zeng) Tjan Tjandra, Chandra, Chandrawinata, Candrakusuma
张 (Zhang) Thio, Tio, Chang, Theo, Teo Canggih, Setyo, Setio, Susetyo, Sulistio, Susantyo, Kartio, Chandra
郑 (Zheng) Te, The Suteja, Teja, Teddy, Tedjokumoro, Tejarukmana, Tejawati

5. See also


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