"Understanding Malaysian Names of People" Top 5 Page for this destination Malaysia Local Custom Tip by SLLiew

Malaysia Local Customs: 200 reviews and 174 photos

1) Malays are Muslims and so have Muslim names like Mohamed Samad, Fatimah Othman.
Men have "bin" (son of). Women "binti" (daughter of). Indian Muslims have similar names.
Chinese who are converted into Muslims will use "Abdullah" as family name

2) Chinese will have their surnames in front, eg Tan Beng Huat, Lim Siew Ying where Tan and Lim are family surnames. And many may use B.H. Tan and S.Y. Lim as initials are easier to pronounce and remember.

Many Chinese use Christian names even if they are not Buddhist, eg. Robert Tan Beng Huat or Sylvia Lim Siew Ying.

Because standard romanized Chinese were not used, many of the spelling of same surname were dependent on the Chinese dialect used. Eg. Ooi, Oei, Huang have the same Chinese character.

3) Indian names are varied as there are Punjabis, Bengalis, Tamil, Telugu, Ceylonese, Gujeratis groups. Eg Rajagopal Seenivagam, Nirmala Ramasamy. A/L (son of) and A/P (daughter of ) are also used. Indian Christians also have Christian names.

For Indians who are Sikhs, then men will have their names ending with "Singh" and women with "Kaur".

So usually from the names, you can guess what the person's ethnic and religious background is. Usually.

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  • Written Aug 28, 2006
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