Singapore, Malaysia, Korea & Vietnam 2019 travel blog

In Malay, “Peranakan” means “child/born of” and is used to refer to people of mixed ethnic origins. Specifically, the term is used to refer to descendants of the early traders who married local women along the coast of the Straight of Melaka and put down roots. A Canadian similarity would be the Métis people.

Later, many Peranakans moved from the major port settlement of Melaka to the new British port to support Sir Stamford Raffles in developing the trading centre Singapura (Lion City). Thus, during the late 19 to early 20 century many Peranakan families became very wealthy.

We visited the Paranekan Museum in Singapore, which focuses on Chinese Paranekan, but there are other Paranekan cultural groups such as from India and European sea-faring countries. As the Indians were well-versed in English they could speak with both colonial leadership and locals. The Chinese brought their businesses acumen and money.

In time, the most prominent and successful families and other large-scale businesses set up schools, academic societies, musical and sports training centres as well as investing in roads and other civic amenities.


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