(Wednesday’s Thought) : Beautiful Names and Unique Names

It is based on my experience during teaching at a national plus private school in Tangerang, Banten. I’ve been there for more than one year and I learn many things including personal names. I teach in its elementary school and find many interesting things, particularly names. I think, more than 90% of students at my school are Chinese descendants, but they are same like other Indonesian kids, because we are essentially Indonesian despite of Mandarin and Chinese cultural aspects (including Di Zi Gui) added as part of school curriculum as my school concept is Tri-Lingual national plus school.

About names, after little observation for a while (just based on my little naughty mind), I found three ways on their naming systems. I do not talk about their surnames, just their given names. The first one is surely Chinese names, but it’s only minority of students, the second is Western/Christian names and the third one is Pali/Sanskrit-based Buddhist names. Many of them combined with western, chinese, Indonesian-sounding or Javanese/Sundanese surnames. I was so shocked when I find three ‘Jocelyn’ in one class, or ‘Wynona’, ‘Brian’, ‘Michael’, ‘Michelle’, ‘Nicholas’, ‘Gracia’, ‘Cheryll’, ‘Grace’, ‘Janice’,  ‘Jovita’, ‘Celine’, ‘Steven’, ‘Joshua’, ‘Joshia’, ‘Vincent’ and many more names among the students. The commonest names among my school students names are ‘Jocelyn’ (with all spelling variants), ‘Michael’, ‘Brian’, ‘Nicholas’ and….wait, let me do some more little survey in the future. Hehehehehe..from grade 1 to 6, then. (Some ‘real’ Christian names are also prominent such as Maria, Margaretha, Fransiskus, Anastasius etc).

It makes me dizzy sometimes, as there are so many Jocelyn and Michael in one school, even in one class…so, I differentiate them by calling such as Jocelyn A…or B, or I call one student with her given name and another with her middle name. That’s solution! Hehehehe..

Western names are the commonest also among the students, whether they’re christian or not. But I find so many students have Buddhist names, either partially or fully. Let me check the Buddhist names used among my school students (only in elementary school and still not all…)

Silananda, Virya, Wiriyaka, Annyadhitta, Paramitha, Sachitta, Maitri, Metta, Mettadevi, Devi, Dhammananda, Dharma, Arya, Putta, Khattiyananda, Khattiyani, and I found one student bears ‘Avalokita’ as his surname. The commonest ones are Virya and Metta if I’m not mistaken. That’s my fun analysis but important to knowing naming trends particularly in this era among the students who’re mostly Chinese descendants. Unique and Interesting for me.

Let me try to count how many Jocelyn or Michael from all students at my school.

Give the best name for your babies as name is also your prayer.


Salam Manis,



14 Comments Add yours

  1. Pardi says:

    Btw,is there any moeslem name at your school pak?

      1. Pardi says:

        How about Pande, mbokde, mas, mbakyu, jeng…for example mas nono, it’s sound good right?

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    Didn’t know there were so many Indonesians with Christian names. That is interesting. I thought all of you went by names like yours, Nono. Do they go by similar names like yours?

    1. Mabel, My name is Bambang Priantono. Nono is taken from the suffix of Priantono and that’s my nick name at home and most of my life..but professionally I am called Mr. Bambang or Bambang Laoshi at present school. Bambang is the commonest name among Javanese people, followed by Eko and Joko. Hehehehe…

      Indonesian Chinese tend to choose Western sounded names, Indonesian or Buddhist names for their children nowadays.

      1. Mabel Kwong says:

        Thanks for explaining, Bambang. Mr Bambang, that sounds very official and it sounds like you’re a very respected teacher or principal! But I still prefer to call you Nono… Since Bambang is a popular name no wonder you have a nickname – to be different and special 🙂

      2. Hahahaha…Just call me Nono. Because most of my friends and all my family members call me like that, though I have got many nicknames depend on their moods..

        Talking about Christian names, you see that Indonesia also has got great numbers of Christians from any ethnic background. 🙂

      3. Mabel Kwong says:

        I’ve met quite a few Indonesians in Melbourne and most of them are Christians and go to church each week. All of them are fair-skinned, Chinese skin. I haven’t met many other non-Chinese Indonesians here.

      4. I see, there are several Christian majority provinces in Indonesia, and all in Eastern Indonesia like North Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara and Papua. But The Moluccas also has large Christian population. While in other places you can find in all parts of Indonesia. Not just fair-skinned but also brown to dark-skinned. 😀

      5. Mabel Kwong says:

        I see 😀 Thanks for a great geography lesson. People in Indonesia are very diverse from the sounds of it. When I went to Jakarta, there were a lot of Indonesians who were fair-skinned, especially in the shopping malls. There were quite a lot of dark-skinned Indonesians in the hotel where I was staying.

      6. Yes…Jakarta is melting pot where all people from all parts of Indonesia meet and live. Shopping malls? hahahaha, yes…many of them…even sometimes I feel I’m the sweetest among them as I am darker hahahaha…
        You need to go here once more, but not in Jakarta or Bali (If you’ve already been there)…try other places like Medan, Jogjakarta, or Surabaya or Makassar.

      7. Mabel Kwong says:

        Yeah, shopping malls. Like Plaza Senayan, Grand Indonesia, Mangga Dual Mall were some of the places I visited. The local shoppers were fair skinned, but the people serving you in the shops were mostly dark-skinned. It was interesting to see.

        Nope, never been to Bali. It really doesn’t appeal to me. Next time I go to Indonesia, I want to see monkeys, or monyet.

      8. Hahaha…maybe you have to visit orangutan reservation in Tanjung Puting in Central Kalimantan, Bekantan in South Kalimantan or gibbons in Gunung GEDE pangrango

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