Javanese regency considers banning parents from giving children ‘western’ names

Photo illustration. Photo: Max Pixel (CC0).
Photo illustration. Photo: Max Pixel (CC0).

While many prominent conservative Indonesians have denounced the growing influence of western culture on the county, a regency in Central Java is considering taking a stand on the issue by banning parents in the region from giving their babies traditional Javanese names instead of “western” names.

The regional representatives council (DPRD) of Central Java’s Karanganyar regency is currently mulling such a regulation, with the justification that they are defending traditional Javanese culture.

“The use of Javanese names has been eroded by foreign names. With this regulation, we can understand that, from our ancestors, we have our own unique culture,” said Karanganyar DPRD Chairman Sumanto when contacted by Detik last week, adding that the ban would be included in a draft local regulation on the preservation of local culture and wisdom.

However, Sumanto admitted the ban was still in the early stages of being discussed and was far from being enacted. He also said that the regulation may allow for names with foreign aspects as long as they included Javanese elements as well.

While the fact that a legislative body is even considering it says something, the chances of such a regulation ever coming into effect seems slim, at least according to House of Representatives Commission II Deputy Chair Ahmad Riza Patria. Asked about the possibility of such a law, he called it excessive and an infringement on the rights of parents, particularly those of foreign descent who might have important reasons for not giving their children Javanese names.

Riza said the most important thing was that parents educate their children to become better citizens. He also said he would seek an explanation from the Karanganyar regional government regarding their plans for the ban.

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