Chinese Indonesian surname

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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][2]

Colonial era to 1965[edit]

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. Oei or Oey (Dutch), Goh (English) vs. Go (Dutch), Chan (English) vs. Tjan (Dutch), Lee (English) vs. Lie (Dutch), Leung or Leong (English) vs Liong (Dutch).[1]

Hence, Lin (林, Mandarin) is spelled Liem in Indonesia. Chen (陳) is Tan, Huang (黃) is Oei or Oey, Wu (吳) is Go, Wei (魏) is Goei or Ngoei, Guo (郭) is Kwee, Yang (楊) 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, Que, Kwek instead of Kwee, and Huang is often 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 Gie, Liem 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.

1965 to 2000[edit]

After Suharto came to power, his regime created many anti-Chinese legislations in Indonesia. One of them was 127/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 or Sundanese 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 Koen translated Lin to old Javanese "wana", meaning forest, and added the male-suffix "ndi", resulting in the new clan name Wanandi.[2]

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.[1][2] Without the Chinese name it's hard to tell if a person is of Chinese origin, Indonesian Chinese ID cards' number contain a certain code such as 01 to distinguish that they are of Chinese origin for discriminatory purposes. In spite of protests, this "01" still remains.

The government also modified a person's name without consent from time to time, such as adding a corresponding Chinese surname to more accurately describe someone's ethnic origin. For example, Junedi Santoso may be changed to Junedi Santoso Liem, Junedi Liem, or Liem Junedi. People whose names were modified this way may have different names in their official documentations. Today, names prefixed or suffixed by a Chinese surname as Tan Meliana Puspita, or Lena Angelina Liem are more common. However, if the surname is a suffix, such as Oen Jayadi Susilo, it is almost certain that the surname is forced to be there by the government. In the past, people were not able to discern a successful athlete's ethnicity as the media would not mention their Chinese name. However, if the Chinese person were to be doing something harmful, his or her name would be mentioned.

2000 to today[edit]

After Suharto resigned as president, the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia are again allowed to use their original names. Many of them no longer cared and kept their Indonesian names. Some reverted to Chinese names. Some still using their ancestor surname and put Indonesian and English name as first name. Some decide to re-adopt the original Hokkien names of their grandparents or to use the Mandarin Chinese pinyin romanization, pronunciation and spelling.

Examples of Chinese names and their Indonesian versions[edit]

Surname in Chinese characters and Mandarin Chinese pronunciation Hokkien Chinese, Teochew Chinese Cantonese Chinese Hakka Chinese Example of Indonesian-sounding adopted surnames
陳 (Chen) Tan Tjan, Chan Tjhin, Chin Tantama, Tandubuana, Tanardo, Tanto, Hertanto, Hartanto, Hartono, Tanoto, Tanu, Tanutama, Sutanto, Cendana, Tanudisastro, Tandiono, Tanujaya, Santoso, Tanzil, Tandi, Tandjung, Tanjung, Tanasal, Tanadi, Tanusudibyo, Tanubrata, Tanamal, Taniwan, Tanuwidjaja, Tanuseputro, Tanumihardja, Tanaya, Tanjaya, Tandika, Tanandar, Hartanoe, Tania, Tjandra, Tirtasana, Wirahadi, Yonatan, Sonatan, Natan, Tandoko, Tanojo, Daritan, Winata, Iskandar, Susanto, Setiawan, other names with the prefixes Tanu- or Tan-
范 (Fan) Hoan, Hwan, Huang Fan, Faan Fam,

Hoan, Hwan, Fan

Handoko, Limantara, Van, Fania, Fandi, Hoana, Hoanoto, Hoanita, Hoanike, Famita
彭 (Peng) Phe, Phi Pang Phang Pangestu
馮 (Feng) Pang Hung, Hoong Fung Fangestu, Fungestu, Pangestu
余 (Yu) Ee, Ie, Oe Yee Yi Iman, Ibrahim, Iskandar
郭 (Guo) Kwee, Kwik, Que Kuok, Kwok, Kok Kuok, Kwok, Kok Kusumawijaya, Kusuma,Kuncoro
韓 (Han) Han Hon Hon Handjojo, Hanjoyo, Handaya, Handoko, Suhandi, Handoyo, Handidjaja, Hanjaya
何 (He) Ho Ho Ho Honoris, Hendrawan, Hengky
洪 (Hong) Ang Hung, Hoong Fung Abraham, Anggawarsito, Anggakusuma, Angela, Angkadiredja, Angkiat, Anggoro, Anggodo, Anggono, Angkasa, Anggraini, Andyanto, Angryanto, Anggriawan, Sanggalo
黃 (Huang) Oei, Oey, Ng, Wie Bong, Wong Wong Darwis, Wienathan, Wibowo, Widiatmo, Wijaya, Widjaja, Winata, Widagdo, Widodo, Winoto, Willy, Wiryo, Wirya, Wongkar, Wiryanto, Wiraatmadja, Winarto, Witoelar, Winardi, Wibisono, Wiryono, Wiranata, Wiyono, Wijono, Wuisan, Wisanto, Wijanarko, Wijonarko, Windra, Jingga
江 (Jiang) Kang Kong Kong Kangean
賴/赖 (Lai) Loa, Lai Lai Lai Laya
李 (Li) Li, Lie, Lee Li, Lie, Lee Li, Lie Lee Darmali, Lianto, Liman, Leman, Licindo, Liedarto, Rusli, Lika, Aliwarga, Nauli, Romuli, Ramali, Ramli, Riady, Liecharlie, Linardi, Listiohadi, Liyono, Leonardo, Ali, other names with the prefixes and suffixes -Li- or -Lie-
梁 (Liang) Nio, Neo Leong, Liong, Leung Leong, Liong Neonardi, Antonio, Rovanio, Nurtanio, Nurjaman
林 (Lin) Liem, Lim Lam Liem, Lim Halim, Salim, Halimkusuma, Lemanjaya/Lemandjaja, Liman, Limanto, Limantoro, Limantara, Limiardi, Limijanto, Limiardja, Limijanti, Limarta, Taslim, Muslim, Liemena, Alim, Limawan, Linus, Baroleh, Ruslim, Mursalim, Linanto, Talim, Talin, Nursalim, Nastalim, Lumenta, Limputra, Suharlim, Satyalim, Wono, Wanandi, Haliman, Limansubronoto, Limandau, Limyadi
劉 (Liu) Lau, Lauw, Law Lau, Lauw, Law Lioe, Liew, Liu Mulawarman, Lawang, Lauwita, Leo, Lawardi, Pahlawan, Lawrence, Lauvin, Lovin
陸 (Lu) Liok, Liuk Luk, Look Luk, Look, Liuk Loekito, Loekman, Loekmantoro
呂 () Loe, Lu Lu, Loo, Loe Lukito, Loekito, Luna, Lukas, Lunardy, Lusanto, Lukmanto
司徒 (Situ) Sieto Szeto, Seto, Siehu, Suhu Lutansieto, Suhuyanli, Suhuyanly, Yosieto, Seto
沈 (Shen) Shim Sam, Sham Shim, Sim Boedihardjo, Yansen, Yatsen
蘇 (Su) Souw, So, Soe, Su So, Soh Su, Soo, Shu Susanto, Suwandi, Soekotjo, Soehadi, Sosro, Solihin, Soeganda, Solikin, Soegihartanto, Sunardi
丁 (Ding) Teng Tang Then, Thien Tenggara, Tengger, Ateng, Tranggono
鄧 (Deng)
王 (Wang) Ong Wong Wong Anugrah, Onggo, Ongko, Wangsadinata, Wangsapoetra, Wangsa, Radja, Wongsojoyo, Ongkowijoyo, Onggano, Wongso, Soemitro, Pranata, Sasongko
溫 (Wen) Oen Wan Boen, Woen, Woon Benyamin, Benjamin, Bunyamin, Budiman, Gunawan, Basirun, Bunaidi, Bunda, Wendi, Unang, Buntaran, Budiono
吳, 伍, 仵 (Wu) Go, Gouw, Goh Ng, Eng Ng, Eng Bagus, Bagoes, Gondo, Sugondo, Gozali, Wurianto, Gomarga, Gunawan, Gotama, Utama, Widargo, Sumargo, Gunardi, Gunadi, Prayogo, Sudirgo
武, (Wu)
烏, 鄔 (Wu)
許, 古, 丘, 邱 (Xu, Gu, Qiu) Kho, Khouw, Khoe (Hioe), Koo Hooi, Hui, Khu, Ku Hii, Hee, Khu, Ku Komar, Kurnia, Kurniadi, Kurniawan, Kusika, Kusnadi, Kusuma, Kumala, Komarudin, Kosasih, Khosasih, Khoosasi, Kowara
蔡 (Cai) Tjoa, Chua Choy, Choi, Tjhoi Chai, Tjai Tjahjana
謝 (Xie) Cia, Tjia Tse Cia, Chia, Tjia Ciawi, Syariel, Tjhia, Tjiasmanto, Sieto, Sinar, Sindoro, Tjahjadi
楊 (Yang) Njoo, Nyoo, Jo, Yo Yeung Yong Muljoto, Inyo, Yongki, Yoso, Yohan, Yorensin, Nyoto/Njoto, Sutaryo, Tindo
葉 (Ye) Yap/Jap Yip, Ip Yap Yapardi, Yapip, Yaputra, Jayaputra, Japutra, Yektiurip
曾 (Zeng) Tjan Tjang, Tjan, Tsan, Tsang Tjen, Tsen, Chen, Tsang, Tjang Tjandra, Chandra, Chandiluhur, Chandrawinata, Candrakusuma, Tjandrakusuma, Tjandrawinata, Candrasaputra
張 (Zhang) Thio, Tio, Theo, Teo Tjong, Cheung Tjong, Chong, Tjen Canggih, Chandra, Setyo, Setio, Susetyo, Sulistio, Sutiono, Setiono, Soewondo, Susantyo, Kartio, Setiadi, Prasetyo/Prasetya, Setiawan
鄭, 戴 (Zheng), (Dai) Te, The, Tee Cheng, Tjeng Chang, Tjang Sutedja, Teja, Tedja, Teddy, Tedjokumoro, Tejarukmana, Tedjamulia, Tedjasukmana
周 (Zhou) Chiau, Chau, Chew, Chou, Chu, Jhou, Joe, Jouh, Jue, Jow Chao, Chau, Djau, Jau, Jauw Chew, Chiew, Tseu, Djeu Juanda, Juano, Juanita, Yuanita
曹 (Cao) Tjo Chou, Tjo, Tjou Chao, Chau, Djau, Jau, Jauw Cokro, Vonco, Tjokro
魏 (Wei) Wei, Goei, Gui Ngoei, Ngui Ngoei, Ngui, Goei Wijaya, Widjaja, Gunawan
姚 (Yao) Lao, Lau Yiu Yauw Joeswanto, Jayawan


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Budaya, Tradisi & Sejarah Tionghoa 
  2. ^ a b c d Sutanto, Irzanti (2004-08-09), Ganti Name di Kalangan Keturunan Tionghoa, Peraturan dan Kebebasan, archived from the original on 2008-01-30, retrieved 2009-01-29