The Jakarta Post recently reported that a politician in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, is proposing a baby name bylaw because he is concerned that parents are choosing foreign names over local ones for their babies.
The bylaw would provide a list of state-approved names to serve as guidelines for citizens so they would not to forget their identities as residents of Surabaya. Parents would not be forced to take children’s names from the list, the councillor said.
The councillor, named Baktiono, believes that “parents who chose foreign names for their children were unaware of Surabaya’s local heroes, whose names deserved to be adopted for the sake of local pride.” Some of these local heroes include:
- Joko Jumput
- Rondo Praban
“Wherever the kids are, people would be able to readily recognize where they come from by their names,” Baktiono said.
Airlangga University sociologist Bagong Suyanto does not like the idea. He thinks “the proposed bylaw would be a state intrusion into people’s privacy.”
The parents interviewed for the article were also not fans of the proposed bylaw. One mentioned style, saying that foreign names sounded “sophisticated,” whereas local names (e.g., Jumanto, Paiyem) sounded “old-fashioned.”