Indonesian culture / Names · 14 April 2022

HONORIFICS

Most Indonesians are ultra-sensitive to differences in rank, age, gender, and formality.

Address your Indonesian business colleagues properly. If you know the title of the person you are being introduced to, greet them and state their title. Else, you can simply say “Pak, Bapak or Bu / Ibu” in conjunction with their names.

Like in the US, for example, employees are accustomed to using titles, qualifications, and referring to powerful connections in ways Aussies would classify as name dropping. The stereotype that arises? The arrogant yank.

LAST NAME

Most Indonesians did not have family names. They’re ‘surname’ was merely another personal name. Usually, men and women have a given name and take the name of their father’s first name. Some married Indonesian women take the first or the last/family name of their husband Therefore, it is not uncommon for married couples to have different last / family names.

DON’T MISPRONOUNCE

In Indonesia, names are considered sacred and must be treated with respect. Make every effort not to mispronounce the names of the Indonesians you encounter.

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