Don’t name your kid Selamat!!!

I had to call a laborer over at the weekend. I invited him in and asked him his name. “Selamat” he replied. Heck. As if I couldn’t have guessed! Because just about every laborer I’ve ever met in Indonesia has been called “Selamat”!!!!

Obviously a popular name in the kampongs then, but perhaps not the best choice if you want your son to become an investment banker or doctor or something.

Names are very important of course. And
research in the States has shown that you won’t even make it to the interview stage if you are named Cody or Destiny and want to get a decent job. Your CV will just be tossed away. But if you’re named Marie-Claire or Sacha? Well, then you’ve got one foot in the door already.

As for Indonesian girl names? Well, whatever you do, don’t name your daughter either “Sita” or “Ina”. Unless you’d be happy for her to be slaving away as a pembantu 15 years down the line of course.

And as for the English sounding names some Indonesians are naming their kids, well some of them are just plain silly:

Merry (yep – Merry Christmas to you too!)
Happy (are you one of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men?)
Lucky (Argggg!)
Hotman (hahaha!)
Yessie Vibrator (???)

But if your parents do give you a naff name, there’s a simple solution: just change it of course. As these famous people did:

Malcolm Little
Edson Arantes Do Nascimento
Nguyen Sinh Cung
William Jefferson Blythe
Reginald Kenneth Dwight


  1. It's "Slamet" not "Selamat", refers to javanese word "safety"


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