Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Peranakan": Marriage Practices of a Dying Race

The Peranakan community (or culture) are a dying race in the south east Asian region. Many people currently struggle at reviving the unique culture. This paper was written in honor of the Peranakan community and its people. It was originally presented by me for a course in Intercultural Communication in Malaysia. It is kinda long and I apologize for that. This paper outlines the customs involved in a Peranakan wedding, and some history behind it. Enjoy :)

Prior to the fifth century AD, Chinese records did not contain many references to the Nanyang, (Levanthes, 1994) which is the general term used to refer to the South Asian region. It is generally accepted however that before the inception of large sea going vessels, the ‘Persian trade’ occurred overland from West Asia to the northern parts of China. The availability of ship building technology increased use of sea routes to transport goods from the rest of the world through the Nanyang, and into China (Levanthes, 1994). This trend led to the rise of ports of call along strategic points of their voyage, namely in the Malay Archipelago. Thus, the exotic marine and jungle produce of the Malay Archipelago was drawn into the international trade of early Chinese (Lee & Tan, 2000).

The Malay Archipelago borders two monsoon wind systems. The channel of Malacca are geographically located at the ‘end’ of the monsoons, thus allowing ships to wait for a change of winds until they could continue further, or return homeward (Levanthes, 1994). Thus, by leaving China with the northeast monsoon at the end of the year, they sailed back home with the southwest monsoon in the middle of each year. Therefore about five months was spent at each port. The long periods of stay enabled them to set up a second home in Malacca (see Charney, Yeoh, & Kiong, 2003, for a description of the Chinese diaspora). During their extended visits at the port, the Chinese men took wives to look after their businesses when they returned annually to China (Levanthes, 1994). This essay is concerned about the unique culture that was created through the mixing of early Hindu Malay and Chinese visitors to Melaka.

Peranakan, Baba-Nyonya, Baba, Baba Chinese, Straits Chinese, or Straits-born Chinese are terms that are used to describe the descendants of the early Chinese immigrants to the straits settlements of Malacca, Penang, and Singapore. In both Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, 'Peranakan' means 'descendants' (Kuake, 2006), while Baba and Nyonya refer to male and female descendants respectively. The initial diaspora of Chinese from the early Ming era into the straits settlements created an interesting mix of Malay and Chinese traditions.

The religion of the local Malay population at that time was mainly Animistic or Hindu (Lee & Tan, 2000). Even though the current constitution of Malaysia defines ...........

I have removed the rest of this essay as i am told that students from HELP University College social sciences class have been plagiarizing it.

Common you guys, shame on you.

If any one of you would like to read the essay, please email me at and i will mail you a copy.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

24 hour star... - updated

Wow.. time truly is flying by. Its been a month plus at the production company and I am learning lots of new stuff. Its really a shame, but I have not been thinking much about psych. I have not had the time to read.

However, interestingly, a Malaysian daily called “the sun” featured me in its education section. They had asked me a few questions about clinical psych and based their article on that interview. That’s my 24 hours of stardom!

You can check it out here

if the page asks you for a user email and password, type and enter the password "astro"

UPDATE: Also note: look out for the 6th June issue :D