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The Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia

Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix – The Chinese and Their Multi-Ethnic Descendants in Southeast Asia
Khoon Choy Lee

Many books have been written about the Chinese in Southeast Asia, but very few, if any, are written specifically about the multi-ethnic descendants of Chinese immigrants. Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix is not about the diaspora per se of Chinese in Southeast Asia but about the impact of intermarriage between Chinese immigrants and the natives, that is, the intermingling of blood and the offspring from such unions — the influence they wielded on the society and environment they chose to live in. With 14 years’ experience as a journalist and a 29-year career as a politician and diplomat, Mr. Lee Khoon Choy has set foot on every land in Southeast Asia and observed closely the local life in each country. Mindful of his Hakka identity, Mr. Lee has a keen interest in multi-ethnic Chinese descendants in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, etc.

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Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners and Settlers
Ronald G. Knapp (Author), A. Chester Ong (Photographer), and Wang Gungwu (Foreward)

Over a period of several years, noted Chinese cultural historian Ronald G. Knapp traveled throughout Southeast Asia, searching out homes built by the first generations of successful Chinese settlers during the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. In Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia, Knapp presents an eye-opening account of how Chinese migration into Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam spawned a unique hybrid architectural style that combined Chinese, European, and local influences. Many of these overseas Chinese heritage homes are disappearing, but Knapp—along with renowned photographer A. Chester Ong—visited a number of the shophouses, bungalows, villas, and mansions that remain. More than three dozen of these elegant residences form the core of this book, and through essays, historic photographs, paintings, and line drawings, Knapp draws an illuminating portrait of each residence along with background information about the families who built and lived in them. These profiles reveal the entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese as well as their social and economic circumstances. A stunning marriage of scholarship and photography, Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia explores a little known branch of Chinese architecture and provides a new perspective on Chinese migration, settlement, and identity in Southeast Asia.

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A History of the Thai-Chinese
Pimpraphai Bisalputra and Jeffery Sng

A History of the Thai-Chinese brings to life the rich stories and legends of the Thai-Chinese. This community has had a tremendous impact on Siamese history and modern-day Thailand. Well beyond Bangkok’s thriving Chinatown, the influence of Chinese immigration on the country has been profound. Many modern Thai leaders, including prime ministers, high-ranking officials and business leaders, are ethnic Chinese, and even the Thai royal family claims some Chinese lineage. Through interviews with descendants of prominent family members, research into family records, oral reports and other sources, A History of the Thai-Chinese relates how a people and a country embraced the opportunities afforded by the other.

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“Getting By”: Class and State Formation among Chinese in Malaysia
Donald M. Nonini

How do class, ethnicity, gender, and politics interact? In what ways do they constitute everyday life among ethnic minorities? In “Getting By,” Donald M. Nonini draws on three decades of research in the region of Penang state in northern West Malaysia, mainly in the city of Bukit Mertajam, to provide an ethnographic and historical account of the cultural politics of class conflict and state formation among Malaysians of Chinese descent. Countering triumphalist accounts of the capitalist Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, Nonini shows that the Chinese of Penang (as elsewhere) are riven by deep class divisions and that class issues and identities are omnipresent in everyday life. Nor are the common features of “Chinese culture” in Malaysia manifestations of some unchanging cultural essence. Rather, his long immersion in the city shows, they are the results of an interaction between Chinese-Malaysian practices in daily life and the processes of state formation—in particular, the ways in which Kuala Lumpur has defined different categories of citizens. Nonini’s ethnography is based on semistructured interviews; participant observation of events, informal gatherings, and meetings; a commercial census; intensive reading of Chinese-language and English-language newspapers; the study of local Chinese-language sources; contemporary government archives; and numerous exchanges with residents.

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