Malayan Chinese and China  -Conversion in Identity Consciousness 1945-1957

Occasional Papers Series


This study focuses on the process by which China-oriented identity consciousness within the local Malayan Chinese community was transformed into Malaya-oriented identity consciousness.

■ Malayan Chinese and China -Conversion in Identity Consciousness 1945-1957

■ 166pp
■ Published in 1997

This study focuses on the process by which China-oriented identity consciousness within the local Malayan Chinese community was transformed into Malaya-oriented identity consciousness.
The author discusses the high point among the Chinese in Malaya of a China-oriented identity, its eventual decline, and the appearance of a deep-rooted Malayan identity in its place. He bases his study on analyses of Chinese-language newspapers and journals and Chinese organizations in Malaya (present-day Malaysia and Singapore) from the end of World War II until around 1960. He examines: (1) how the China-oriented identity of the whole Chinese community in Malaya was reflected in their political and social activity, (2) what kind of organizations participated in that activity, and (3) when and how such organizations began to foster (or be converted to) a Malayan identity, or when and how they disappeared (or were compelled to disband) before "Malayanization" could occur. The author also examines other important elements for measuring the level of China-oriented identity such as the policy that the Chinese government (including the Chinese consulates in Malaya) implemented at the local level, the influence that this policy exerted on Malayan Chinese, and the perception that the Chinese community in Malaya had of the Chinese government and its consulates.
Looking at the conditions under which the Chinese community nurtured its Malayan identity and at the kind of movements it was linked to, the author seeks to lay out an overall picture of the evolution of Chinese identity consciousness and analyze its meaning.