Bahasa Baba Nyonya : an insight into attitudes towards Baba Malay in Peranakan Chinese community in Singapore
Wong, Sheryl Shi Hui
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The union between Chinese male settlers and non-Muslim indigenous women of the Malay Archipelago led to the establishment of the Peranakan Chinese culture which is described to be a hybrid of Chinese, Malay and Western culture. Their native language – Baba Malay, otherwise known Peranakan, is a creole with main influences from Malay and Hokkien. Following a recent revival in their culture mainly by popular television drama ‘The Little Nyonya’, this study aims to (1) assess the importance of Baba Malay towards forging a Peranakan identity, (2) explore the underlying attitudes associated with Baba Malay, (3) investigate the usage of Baba Malay and (4) shed a light on the vitality of Baba Malay in the Peranakan Chinese community in Singapore. A combination of questionnaire and follow-up interview were conducted across 108 Peranakan Chinese participants. General findings include relatively neutral attitudes towards Baba Malay (n=108), an agreement to Baba Malay being integral part to their Peranakan identity (n=108) and half the time usage of Baba Malay (n=79). Upon stratification by demographics, females (n=63) statistically possess more positive attitudes towards Baba Malay (p-value 0.011, F-value 6.67, DF=1) than males (n=45). Variating Peranakan-ness pertaining to lineage may influence the study findings. Further research could employ a longitudinal approach to investigate the attitudes, usage and identity concerning Baba Malay.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University