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Many 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][3]

History of Chinese Indonesian surnames

Colonial era until 1965

During the Dutch colonial era, the Dutch administration recorded Chinese names in birth certificates and other legal documents using an adopted spelling convention that was based primarily on the Hokkien (Southern 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 happened in Malaya, where the British administrators record the names using English spelling. (For instance, 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), 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 or Kwek instead of Kwee and Huang is often Oei instead of Oey.

The spelling convention survived through the Japanese occupation (1942–1945) well into Indonesian independence (1945) and sovereignty acknowledgment by the Dutch government (1949). Since the independent Indonesian government inherited the Dutch legal system, it also survived until 1965 in the Sukarno era.

The Indonesian government later began changing Indonesian spelling to harmonize it with the spelling used for Malay in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, first under the Ejaan Suwandi introduced in 1947, and again under the Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan, literally "Perfected Spelling", adopted in 1972. Under the Suwandi system of spelling, "oe", influenced by Dutch, became "u", influenced by English; for example, Loe was spelled as Lu. Since 1972, Dutch-style "j" became "y", meaning Njoo is now spelled Nyoo.


After Suharto came to power, his regime created many anti-Chinese legislations in Indonesia. One of them was 127/U/Kep/12/1966 which strongly encouraged ethnic Chinese living in Indonesia to adopt Indonesian-sounding names instead of the standard three-word or two-word Chinese names.

Many Indonesianized names are Hokkien surname syllables with western or Indonesian prefix or suffix – resulting in many exotic-sounding names. Although two Chinese individuals shared the same Chinese surname, they may employ different strategies for the 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, Cantonese: Lam or Lum, Hokkien: Liem or Lim = forest). The famous 1966 political activist and businessman Sofjan Wanandi (Chinese romanization: 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]

Despite the Indonesianization, the Hokkien surnames are still used today by the Chinese-Indonesian diaspora overseas (mostly in the Netherlands, Germany, and USA); by those Chinese-Indonesians courageous enough during Suharto's regime to keep their Chinese names (e.g., Kwik Kian Gie), or by those who couldn't afford to process the name change through Indonesia's civil bureaucracy.


After Suharto resigned from the presidency, subsequent governments revoked the ban on the ethnic Chinese from speaking and learning Chinese in public. Using the original Chinese surnames is no longer a taboo but only a small minority have decided to re-adopt the original Hokkien names of their grandparents or to use the Mandarin Chinese pinyin romanization, pronunciation and spelling, for example author Maria Audrey Lukito legally changed her name to YU Jia Hui.[4][5]

Examples of Chinese surnames and their Indonesian-sounding adoptions

Surname in Chinese characters and Mandarin Chinese pronunciation Hokkien Chinese, Teochew Chinese Cantonese Chinese Hakka Chinese Example of Indonesian-sounding adopted surnames[2]
(Chen) Tan Tjan, Chan Tjhin, Chin Chandra (Tjandra), Daritan, Hartanto, Hartanu (Hartanoe), Hartono, Hertanto, Iskandar, Jonatan, Jonathan, Santo, Santos, Santosa, Santoso, Setiawan, Susanto, Sutanto, Tanadi, Tanandar, Tanardo, Tanasal, Tanaya, Tandanu, Tandi, Tandika, Tandiono, Tandoko, Tandubuana, Tanesha, Tania, Tanjaya (Tandjaja), Tanjiria (Tandjiria), Tanjung (Tandjung, Tandjoeng), Tanojo (Tanodjo), Tanoto, Tantama, Tanto, Tanubrata, Tanudisastro, Tanujaya (Tanoedjaja), Tanumiharja (Tanumihardja, Tanoemihardja), Tanuseputra, Tanuseputro, Tanusudibyo (Tanoesoedibjo), Tanuwijaya (Tanoewidjaja), Tanzil, Tirtasana, Winata, Wirahadi, Wiryaprawira (Wirjaprawira), Wiryoprawiro (Wirjoprawiro), and other names with the prefixes Tan- or Tanu- (Tanoe-)
(Fan) Hoan, Hwan, Hwang Fan, Faan Fam, Hoan, Hwan, Fan Famita, Fandi, Fandy, Fania, Handoko, Hoana, Hoanike, Hoanita, Hoanoto, Limantara, Van, Vandi, Vandy
(Peng) Phe, Phi Pang, Phang Phang Panganiban, Pangestu, Panghegar, Pangilinan
(Feng) Phang Fung, Foeng Fung, Foeng Fangestu, Fungestu, Pangestu
(Yu) Ie, Oe Yu Jie Ibrahim, Ichwan, Iman, Indrawanto, Iskandar, Iwan
(Guo) Kwee, Kwik, Que Kuok, Kwok, Kok Kuok, Kwok, Kok Kuncara (Kuntjara), Kuncoro (Kuntjoro), Kusuma, Kusumawijaya (Kusumawidjaja, Koesoemawidjaja)
(Han) Han Hon Hon Handaya, Handayani, Handoyo (Handojo), Hanjoyo (Handjojo), Handoko, Suhandi (Soehandi), Suhandri (Soehandri), Suhanto (Soehanto), Suhantoro (Soehantoro)
(He) Hoo Ho, Hoo Hoo HartonoHendra, Hendriawan, Hendri, Hendry, Hengky, Heredero, Herho, Herman, Hermawan, Hermosa, Hernales, Hernandez, Herrera, Honolario, Honoris, Hontiveros, Hortensia, Horus, Nugroho
(Hong) Ang Hung, Hoeng Foeng Andyanto, Angela, Angeles, Angga, Anggakusuma, Anggara, Anggawarsito, Anggawirya (Anggawirja), Anggi, Anggodo, Anggono, Anggoro, Anggraeni, Anggraini, Anggrianto, Anggriawan, Angkadireja (Angkadiredja), Angkang, Angkasa, Angkiat, Angryanto, Sanggalo
(Huang) Oei, Oey, Ng, Wie, Oeij Wong Bong, Wong Darwis, Hartono, Jingga, Ngadiman, Ngadimin, Ngadimo, Ngatimin, Wibawa, Wibisono, Wibowo, Wicaksana (Witjaksana), Wicaksono (Witjaksono), Widagdo, Widiatmo, Widodo, Wienathan, Wijaya (Widjaja), Willy, Willys, Winardi, Winarto, Winata, Winatan, Winda, Windi, Windra, Winoto, Wiraatmadja, Wiranata, Wiranto, Wirya (Wirja), Wiryanto, Wiryo (Wirjo), Wiryono (Wirjono), Wisanto, Witarya, Witular (Witoelar), Wiyanarko (Wijanarko), Wiyonarko (Wijonarko), Wiyono (Wijono), Wongkar, Wuisan
(Jiang) Kang Kung Kong Angkang, Indrawan, Kangean, Kedkong
(Lai) Lua, Loa Laij, Lai Laij, Lay Laiherman, Laimena, Lais, Laiyar, Lasuki, Layaro, Laynes, Layzaro, Llainera, Silayan, Silayon
(Li) Li, Lie, Lee Li, Lie, Lee Li, Lie, Lee Ali, Aliwarga, Darmali (Darmalie), Ledesma, Lehmann, Leman, Leonardo, Leviste, Lianto, Liawan, Libiran, Licindo (Litjindo), Lidarto (Liedarto), Lieberman, Liecharlie, Lika (Lieka), Liman (Lieman), Linardi, Listianto, Listiohadi, Listiono, Liyono, Nauli, Ramali, Ramli, Riady, Romuli, Rusli (Ruslie), Yulianto (Joelianto), and other names with the prefixes and suffixes -Li- or -Lie-
(Liang) Nio, Neo, Nyok Bot Leong, Liong, Leung Leong, Liong Antonio, Neolan, Neonardi, Nurjaman, Nurtanio, Rovanio
(Lin) Liem, Lim Lam Liem, Lim Alim, Halim, Haliman, Halimkusuma, Halimperdana, Laksamana, Laksana, Laksmana, Laksono,[6] Lambina, Lammar, Lamsana, Lanandi, Lantera, Lantiko, Lemarga, Lembata, Lemonon, Liam, Liamarta, Liamarto, Liamono, Liman (Lieman), Limanjaya (Liemandjaja, Limandjaja), Limantara, Limanto, Limantoro, Limardi, Limas, Limawan, Limbara (Liembara), Limena (Liemena), Limiyanto (Limijanto), Limpo, Linanto, Linarto, Linnas, Linus, Lumakso, Lumberta, Lumbao, Lumbo, Ruslim, Salim, Taslim
(Liu) Lau, Lauw, Law Lau, Lauw, Law Lioe, Liauw, Liu Leonardo, Laurel, Laurent, Lauvin, Lauwrel, Lauwrence, Lauzaro, Lauzuardi, Lawang, Lawardi, Lawrence, Lovin, Lovina, Mulawarman, Pahlawan, Palawan
(Lu) Liok, Liuk Luk, Loek Luk, Loek, Lioek Lukas, Lukita (Loekita), Lukito (Loekito), Lukman (Loekman), Lukmantara (Loekmantara), Lukmanto, Lukmantoro (Loekmantoro), Lusanto (Loesanto)
() Loe, Lu Lui Lu, Loo, Loe Lombin, Lomeda, Lopera, Lordes, Loreto, Lubina, Lubis, Lucena, Lucente, Lucero, Luisanto, Luisel, Lukas, Lukita (Loekita), Lukito (Loekito), Lukman (Loekman), Lukmantara (Loekmantara), Lukmanto, Lukmantoro (Loekmantoro), Luna, Lunardi (Loenardi), Lunardy (Loenardy), Lurdes (Loerdes), Lusanto (Loesanto)
(Shi) Shih, Shyr Sze, Shih Shih Sidomulya, Sidomulyo, Sijaya (Sidjaja), Silverio, Simanjuntak, Sinaga, Sinarta, Sinarto, Siregar, Sisjayawan, Sison, Sisson, Sy
司徒 (Situ) Sieto Szeto, Seto, Siehu, Suhu Sieto Sieto, Lutansieto, Suhuyanli, Suhuyanly, Yosieto, Seto
(Shen) Sim Sam, Sham, Shum, Sum Shim, Siem Simolo, Simargi, Sumargo, Sumardi, Samudro, Boedihardjo, Yansen, Yatsen
(Su) Souw, So So, Soh Su, Soe, Shu Susanto, Sudarso, Suarez, Suan, Soberano, Soriano, Soledad, Sotto, Soewarno, Suwandi, Soekotjo, Soehadi, Soeganda, Soegihartanto, Sunardi
(Ding) Teng, Theng Tang Then, Thien Tenggara, Tengger, Ateng, Tranggono
(Wang) Ong, Bong Wong Wong Onggo, Ongko, Wangsadinata, Wangsapoetra, Wangsa, Dharmawangsa, Wongsojoyo, Wongso, Ongkowijoyo, Onggano, Wongso, Soemitro, Pranata, Sasongko, Enggano, Bonggo
(Wen) Oen Wan Boen, Woen Wenceslao, Wenarto, Benyamin, Benjamin, Bunyamin, Budiman, Gunawan, Basirun, Bunaidi, Bunda, Wendi, Unang, Buntaran, Budiono
吳, 伍, 仵, 武, 烏, 鄔 (Wu) Go, Gouw, Goh Ng, Eng Ng Bagus, Bagoes, Gondo, Sugondo, Gozali, Wurianto, Gomarga, Gunawan, Gotama, Utama, Widargo, Sumargo, Gunardi, Gunadi, Prayogo, Sudirgo, Sudargo, Margono
() Kho, Khouw Hoei, Hui Hii, Hie Gunawan, Koman, Komar, Kurnia, Kurniadi, Kurniawan, Kusika, Kusnadi, Kusuma, Kumala, Komarudin, Kosasih, Khosasih, Khoosasi, Kowara, Kasasih
古, 丘, 邱 (Gu, Qiu) Khoe, Koo Khu, Ku Hioe, Hiu
() Chee, Swee, Shui Tsui Djie, Tjhie, Chi, Tjie Dharmadjie, Christiadjie, Djiemantoro
(Cai) Tjoa, Tjhoa, Tjoea, Tjhoea, Tjua, Tjhua, Chua Choy, Choi, Tjhoi Chai, Tjhai Tjahjana, Tjahja, Joakin, Tjuatja, Cuaca, Tjuandi, Cuandi
(Xie) Cia, Tjia Tse Cia, Chia, Tjia Ciawi, Syariel, Tjhia, Tjiasmanto, Sieto, Sinar, Sindoro, Tjahjadi, Tjandra, Tjahjono
(Yang) Njoo, Nyoo, Jo, Yo Yeung Yong, Jong YangMuljoto, Inyo, Yongki, Yoso, Yohan, Yorensin, Nyoto/Njoto, Sutaryo, Sunaryo, Tindo, other names with the prefixes Nyoto- (Njoto-) or Yo- (Jo-)
(Ye) Yap/Jap Yip, Ip, Jip Yap, Jap, Djap Yipman, Djapinto, Yapola, Yapardi, Yapardo, Yapadi, Yapip, Yaputra, Yaputro, Jamin, Jayaputra, Japutra, Yektiurip, Jirajaya
(Zeng) Tjan Tjang, Tjan, Tsan, Tsang Tjen, Tsen, Chen, Tsang, Tjang Tjandra, Chandra, Tjendral, Tjanto, Chandiluhur, Chandrawinata, Candrakusuma, Tjandrakusuma, Tjandrawinata, Candrasaputra
(Zhang) Thio, Tio, Theo, Teo Tjong, Cheung Tjong, Chong, Tjen Teodoro, Theodorus, Thioman, Tioman, Theoman, Theolandri, Canggih, Chandra, Natio, Setyo, Setio, Sudarso, Susetyo, Sulistio, Sutioso, Susantio, 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
(Zhou) Tjioe, Djioe, Tjouw Tjhao, Tjhau, Djau, Djau, Djauw Tjioe, Tjhieuw, Tsieuw, Djioe, Tjeuw, Tjeeuw Tjouwandi, Tjouwanda, Djawanda, Djauwarsa, Djauhari, Juanda, Juano, Juanita, Yuanita
(Cao) Tjo Chou, Tjo, Tjouw Chao, Chau, Djau, Jau, Jauw Cokro, Vonco, Tjokro, Tjondro, Jauwena, Jauwhari, Chouandi, Tjoandra
(Wei) Wei, Goei, Gui, Gwie Ngai, Ngoei, Ngui Ngoei, Ngui, Goei Weijaya, Wijaya, Widjaja, Gunawan, Goeitara
(Yao) Lao, Lauw Yiu, Jioe Yauw, Jauw Yaosono, Jioesono, Joeswanto, Jayawan
(Bao) Pao, Pauw Paw, Baau Pauw, Pouw Paolos, Pauwanto, Baoseno, Pouwardiman, Pouwin, Pualam, Purnama
(Pan) Phoa, Poea Poon, Pun, Puun, Poen Phan Pualam, Pualamsyah, Pandhega, Pansawira, Panduwirja, Pandawa, Panhegar
(Zhān) Tjiam Jim, Tjim Tjam Tjamar, Tjandra, Tjiampea, Jimerto, Jimakta
(Sūn) Sun, Soen Swen, Suen Sun, Soen Sunarto, Sunjoyo, Sundoro, Sunardi, Suwendi, Suwandi
(Fāng) Poey, Poeij, Png Fong Fong Prihandi, Pribadi, Pudjiadi
(Ráo) Djauw, Djiauw Djao Njauw, Njiauw, Nyauw Djauhari (Jauhari), Djajadi (Jayadi), Djajadharta
(Yán) Giam Djim Djen Giamarta, Soegiamwinata, Djimarta
(Zhōng) Tjhoeng Tjoeng Tjoeng, Tjhoeng Tjungdiawan, Purnama, Tjungkoro, Tjungandi
(Zhu) Tjoe Chu Tjoe Tjoemena, Tjoewinata, Tjoegito
歐陽 (Ōuyáng) Auwjong, Auwyong, Ojong, Oyong Auyeung Oyong, Ojong Ojong, Oyong
(Yóu) Yew Yau Yu Youvito, Youvita, Yaulung, Yalung, Yules, Yukatan, Hartojo, Hartoyo
() Yee, Woo, Oe (Û) Yu, Yue, Yee, Eu Yi, Yu, Yue Yusak, Yunarso, Yudanto, Yusono

See also


  1. ^ a b Budaya, Tradisi & Sejarah Tionghoa
  2. ^ a b c 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
  3. ^ Kungbot University
  4. ^ "Audrey's Biography".
  5. ^ (in Indonesian) Hafidz Faza (2017-10-26). "Audrey Yu Jia Hui, Simbol Patriotisme Anak Muda Tionghoa (Young Indonesian-Chinese's Symbol of Patriotism)". Retrieved 2021-02-23. Several years ago I changed my name legally. The reason was that in my whole life I was ashamed to be Chinese(-Indonesian). When I took my Chinese name back, I want to make a statement that I can love both my ancestor's culture and Pancasila/Indonesia at the same time.
  6. ^ "Laksono, Chinese Last Name Facts to Lim/Lam Surname and Meaning Forest/Tree". Retrieved 20 November 2021.