Indonesia: First Name or Title? – Part 2

2015-06-12

Addressing others with respect

In a formal introduction, the preferred sequence is:

1. ‘Bapak’ or ‘Ibu’

2. academic title, if any [alternatively, an academic title may be stated at the end of this list]

3. honorific, if any

4. the individual’s given and family name

5. business or political title

Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands, and usually uses Dutch academic titles. These include :

Drs: ‘Doktorandus’, a graduate in any discipline except engineering or law [male]

Dra: ‘Doktoranda’, the same degree as above, when awarded to a woman

Ir: ‘Insinjur’, a graduate with an engineering degree [male or female]

S H: ‘Sarjana Hukum’, a graduate with a law degree [male or female]

Westerners should use their usual academic titles, rather than translate them into the Indonesian equivalent.

Some Indonesians adopt an English first name to make it easier for North Americans and other Westerners to address them.

A Muslim male who has made his pilgrimage to Mecca is addressed as ‘Haji.’ A woman who has done so would be addressed as ‘Hajjah.’ These titles are not automatically given to spouses; they have to be individually earned by making the pilgrimage. When unsure, however, it’s usually appreciated if you give the person the benefit of the doubt.

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