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EURASIAN PERANAKANS

The term Eurasian Peranakan or Indo Belanda Peranakan refers to the descendants of those intermarriages of Dutch and other Europeans with other local Malays and Indonesians of the Malay islands. The earliest of such intermarriages started when Dutch, British and Poutugese Colonies were established Colonial outposts in the Indonesian Islands and in the Malay Peninsula in the 15th Century. As most of their women folk stayed on in Europe and many did want to travel due to the perils of the day, many of these European Men took local wives. As a result of this intermarriage the Eurasian Peranakan Culture was born. The below pictures show you Peranakan influence on the Eurasians of Indonesia . Note the sarung kebaya worn by the ladies.

Notive the Eurasian family above with the women all in Peranakan dressing styles with the sarung kebaya. Eurasian Peranakan Culture incorporated European and local Malay styles borrowing other culinary aspects from the Indian and Chinese Peranakans respectively as such Eurasian Cooking became a cooking style of the best combinations of east and west. The absorbtion of local culture into Eurasian culture progressed to such an extent that the womenfolk used the sarung kebaya and the kasot manek. Malay dishes such as sambal belachan & chinchaluk became normal expected dishes of a everyday Eurasian meal. Like the other Peranakan Communities the Eurasian Peranakan and Indo Belanda Communities kept the religious identity of their forfathers alive, the Eurasian Peranakans being stauch Catholics and the Indo Belanda being stauch Protestants. The Eurasian Peranakans of Portugese descent however have manged to maintain the language of their forefathers which they call "Papia Cristang". The Eurasian Peranakans of Indonesia of Dutch descent however have lost their ability to speak Dutch and only speak Indonesian. The below Pictures show you pictures of Eurasian Peranakans in Malacca attending a Chinese Peranakan Wedding & Indonesian Dutch Eurasians in the sarung kebaya.

The success of Malacca in the 15th Century as the hub of the spice trade, its trading links with China, India and the Middle East, its strategic location in the Straits of Malacca and the favourable trade winds that converged in the region, brought the Portuguese to Malacca. In 1509 Diego Lopez de Sequeira became the first European to enter the city but unsuccessful to develop diplomatic relations because of customs ignorance.

In 1511, Alfonso d'Albuquerque in the flagship "Flora de La Mar" with a flotilla of 18 ships sailed into the port and took Malacca by fire and sword. For the next 130 years the Portuguese ruled Malacca. This long period of Portuguese rule inevitably left its mark on Malacca and the effects of it can still be seen in the Malacca of today. One major legacy of Portuguese rule in Malacca was the emergence of a unique community. Some of the Portuguese in Malacca married local women. These Portuguese-native unions led to the emergence of a creole community who identified themselves as 'Kristang' (Christians).

On a similar scale, the Dutch & British conquered and established Colonies in the Malay islands. As Indonesia was an important area due to its richness of natural wealth, spices and resosurces, many Dutch & British citizens were resettled in parts of the Archipelago. As many of these early settlers did not bring their womenfolk with them due to the uncertainty and perils of long journeys, many intermarried with the local population. As a result of these intermarriages the "Indo Belanda" & Eurasian Peranakan Community was born. Indo means mixed in Dutch denoting that such bi racial mixtures were from Indonesia. In Indonesia they are known simply as Peranakan Belanda or Indonesian Dutch Peranakans. While in Singapore and Malaysia they are known simply as Eurasians these days.

Like other Peranakan Communities these Dutch Peranakans adopted the Indonesian influences of the area they settled in and mixed it with local Dutch & British Culture to form a unique Peranakan hybrid. The womenfolk adopted the sarung kebaya as everyday wear and local Indonesian words were incorporated into their vocalbulary. It is interesting to note that after Independence there were a staggering 1 million Dutch Peranakans in all of Indonesia alone. Most however Immigrated to Holland, Australia, Canada and the US after Indonesia became independent. There are about 500,000 left in Indonesia till this very day. The below pictures show a group of Indonesian Dutch Peranakans in the 1950's. A Indo Peranakan Festival called the "Tong Tong Pasar Malam Besar" is held yearly in the Netherlands. The Eurasian Peranakan Population in Singapore & Malaysia also suffered a smilar fate when many of them migrated for Australia after independence. There are large concentrations of Eurasians to be found in Perth, Australia due to this.

Notice that all the Eurasian ladies above in the left picture and on the right are all in the sarong kebaya, not in western dress. Eurasian Peranakans today however do not use the sarung kebaya with as much fervour and reverance as the Indian or Chinese Peranakans. However Peranakan influences can be seen and are very evident in local Eurasian influences. Another important factor is that many Eurasian Peranakans themselves intermarry mostly amongst the Peranakan Chinese Community thereby enforcing Peranakan Culture in these families. Most Eurasians and Indonesian Dutch Peranakans however do not use the term Eurasian Peranakan at all but in fact, part of their heritage and culture is indeed Peranakan as we have most so evidently seen as they are in fact of mixed European and native Malay-Indonesian descent. If you have any opinions or contributions on this topic fill up the Submission Form and we'll put it in the archives section.

 

 
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