A Diminishing Ethnic and Speech Community

 (Image from jawi-peranakan.blogspot.sg)

On 20th June 2014 (2014/06/20), this website posted an article on the Kristang, a diminishing community.

In addition, just two days ago, the Straits Times (Singapore’s main newspaper) carried an article on the Jawi Peranakan.  For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Peranakan, it commonly, though not always, refers to Malaysians, Indonesians, Thais and Singaporeans of Chinese descent whose ancestors have intermarried with the indigenous people and have formed a distinct hybrid culture of their own. In short, they are children of mixed parentage. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, they are commonly known as Straits Chinese (named after the Straits Settlements; 土生華人 in Chinese; Tionghoa-Selat or Tionghoa Peranakan in Indonesian). In Thailand, there are the Phuket Baba in Phuket.  There are also other, comparatively small non-Chinese Peranakan communities, such as Indian Hindu Peranakans (Chitty), and Arab/Indian Muslim Peranakans (Jawi Pekan) (Jawi being the Javanised Arabic script, Pekan a colloquial contraction of Peranakan). The Peranakan as a group is parallel to the Cambodian Hokkien, who are descendants of Hoklo Chinese, and the Pashu of Myanmar,  a Burmese word for Chinese who have settled in Myanmar. They have partially maintained their culture despite their native language gradually disappearing a few generations after settlement.

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