Chinese In Malaysia
Jonathan Kent is writing a series of articles for the BBC on the Chinese diaspora. His latest is on the Chinese in Malaysia. There's nothing especially startling in his piece but it does offer a gateway into the complex relationship the ethnic Chinese have with their land of settlement (Malaysia) and the motherland (China). There is also a short paragraph on the Babanonya or Peranakan (Straits-born) community who have been a presence here since the early fifteenth century, who intermarried with the indigenous Malays, spoke Malay and adopted a fusion of customs and culture. It's the community from which my mum comes. The most interesting insight that Jonathan Kent offers is on what he sees as a shift from Chinese involvement in mainstream politics toward a more nebulous defence of identity and culturalism. I think he is right and I hope to explore its significance, both for Malaysia and further afield, in some future posts.