Why Do Malaysians and Singaporeans Refer to Indonesians as “Indon”?

As we know, other people in most of countries in the world call Indonesian people as “Indonesian”. However, for Malaysians and Singaporeans, it is a little different. They usually refer to Indonesians as “indon”.

It is not a secret that most of Indonesian don’t like to be called indon. You might be curious why do Malaysians and Singaporeans refer to Indonesians as indon. To know more about the detailed reasons, read explanation below.

History of the word “indon”

To know more about the word indon, we should look first at the history of the word indon. Indon is used by most Malaysians and Singaporeans to call Indonesian people. However, Malaysians people use the word more than Singaporeans.

However, for Indonesians, this word can be categorized as an insult. It is equivalent with the word nigger or nigga for Indonesian people. Moreover, Indonesian government also forbid Malaysians to use this word. The embassy of Indonesia already sent a formal letter several times for Malaysians mass media to stop using this word.

However, the people and the mass media still sometimes use this word, especially when there is conflict between Indonesian and Malaysian.

Read more about Indonesians relationship with other people:

Malay people like to abbreviate words

As we know, Malay (Malaysians, Singaporeans, and even Indonesians) people like to abbreviate words. In Indonesia, we can hear people abbreviate for example an airport called Soekarno-Hatta airport is abbreviated into Soetta.

That is one of the reasons Malaysians and Singaporeans refer to Indonesians as indon. They originally like to abbreviate words.

Read more about other abbreviation in Indonesian:

The country’s name is too long

Indonesia is a relatively long word. It consists of five syllables. Saying “Indonesians” in daily conversations is too long and not effective. Because the name is too long, they abbreviate it become “indon”.

This is the same with Indonesian people that like to call Malaysians as “Malay” even though in English, the word “malay” means “melayu” in Indonesian, not Malaysia. 

Originally, the word indon is not an insult

Originally, the word indon is not an insult. Even before around 1960, Indonesian people are also called themselves as indon.

However, as the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia became worse, the term is usually used to insult Indonesian people and has derogatory meaning.

The pronunciation of Indonesian

Indonesian people usually pronounce Indonesia as In-do-ne-si-a. However, people in Malaysia and Singapore have a quite different pronunciation.

They usually pronounce Indonesia as In-don-ne-si-a. Because of this, they refer Indonesian as indon when they want to abbreviate the word.

The people have different views

As we discussed before, originally the word indon is not an insult. However, as the relationship between the countries is not good, Indonesian people start to feel offended when being called indon.

Several Malaysians and Singaporeans are also started to use the word indon to insult Indonesian people.

That’s all about the answer to the question why do Malaysians and Singaporeans refer to Indonesians as “Indon”. I hope the information will be helpful.