Bahasa Baba Nyonya : an insight into attitudes towards Baba Malay in Peranakan Chinese community in Singapore
Wong, Sheryl Shi Hui
Date of Issue2018-07-20
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