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Jakarta Post

Unearthing `peranakan' treasures

  • Dian Kuswandini

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 6 2009   /  02:46 pm

"Being peranakan means. being a cultural hybrid drawing from and identifying with different racial groups." The testimonial of Ibrahim Tahir, a Jawi peranakan, is written under the young man's self-portrait displayed on one of the walls at the peranakan Museum in Singapore. The larger-than-life-sized portrait joins dozens of others on the wall, providing a glimpse of what peranakans look like today. So, who are the peranakans? Exploring the first floor of the museum gives you a pretty good idea of who they are and how they evolved into an eclectic community that can only be found in Southeast Asia. Jackie Yoong, the museum's assistant curator insists that while most people mainly associate the peranakan community to Chinese descendants, baba and nyonya, the community actually refers to other cross-cultural groups. According to her, the term "peranakan", which me...