Malay Narratives in Nanyang Travel

Authors: Ser Wue Hiong, Ng Chwee Fang (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia)
Speaker: Ng Chwee Fang
Topic: Narrative and Metanarrative
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


“Nanyang” was a general term used by the Chinese for Southeast Asia before World War II. After the 19th century, the Chinese moved to Nanyang in succession. As the center of the “Nanyang” concept, the Malay Peninsula and Singapore were the gathering place of the Chinese at that time, and they encountered the indigenous Malay civilization unexpectedly, which aroused cultural interaction and immersion. In the 1920s and 1930s, a large number of Chinese literati came to the south, seeking relatives and friends, travelling, investigating, or settling for a long time, and recorded what they saw and heard in Nanyang into travel articles or books. This type of “Nanyang Travels” mainly records the customs and anecdotes of Nanyang society. It is rich in content, diverse in subject matter, and big in volume. It is also unique in writing style and has great literary, historical, and even human cultural value. Although the content of “Nanyang Journey” is mainly based on Chinese society and culture, many of them also recorded the Malay customs and culture that the author has personally witnessed, which are very precious. This article uses several “Nanyang Journeys” as a documentary review to look at the Malay society and the ethnic relations among Chinese from the perspective of the early “Nanyang”.

Keywords: Nanyang travel, Malay narratives, Malay-Chinese culture interaction