Peranakan


Peranakan
Any native-born Indonesian of mixed Indonesian and foreign ancestry.

The term often refers to the Peranakan Chinese, the largest and most important Peranakan group, who formed a stable community by the mid-19th century, partly adopting the indigenous way of life and generally speaking the native tongue. By contrast, in the early 20th century a large wave of Chinese immigration created a Totok (foreign-born) Chinese community. Unlike the Peranakans, the Totoks retained their own Chinese dialects and remained China-oriented.

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▪ Indonesian society
      in Indonesia, a native-born person of mixed Indonesian and foreign ancestry. There are several kinds of Peranakans in Indonesia, namely Peranakan Chinese, Peranakan Arabs, Peranakan Dutch, and Peranakan Indians. The Peranakan Chinese form the largest and the most important group, and for this reason many scholars use “Peranakan” to refer to the Chinese group.

      Until the end of the 19th century, the immigration of Chinese was limited because of difficulties in transportation. Most of those who reached Java, mainly from the southern provinces of China, married indigenous women, usually nominal Muslims or non-Muslims.

      In time they formed a stable Peranakan Chinese community. Peranakans partly adopted the indigenous way of life and generally spoke the local native tongue rather than Chinese. Along the northern coast of Java, where most of the Chinese lived, a combination of Bazaar Malay and Hokkien dialect was used as a common language, and this language was later known as Bahasa Melaju Tionghoa (Chinese Malay). The Peranakan Chinese community was firmly established by the mid-19th century and had become self-contained with a decline in intermarriage. New immigrants continued to be rapidly assimilated into the Peranakan community because there was no mass immigration.

      In the early 20th century a great increase in the number of Chinese immigrants (including women) in Java, the dynamics of Chinese nationalism, and the development of Chinese medium schools contributed to the shaping of a Totok (an Indonesian term for foreign-born people) Chinese community. Unlike the Peranakan Chinese, the Totok Chinese were born in China, still spoke Mandarin or another Chinese dialect, and were frequently strongly China-oriented.

      Despite the rapid growth of the Totok community, they were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the Peranakan Chinese. In 1930, for example, Indonesian-born Chinese constituted more than 79 percent of all the Chinese in Java, and about 53 percent of the total were at least third generation. But they were by no means a homogeneous political group. Before World War II there were three political streams in the Peranakan Chinese community—the Sin Po group, which was China-oriented; the Chung Hwa Hui, which was Dutch East Indies-oriented; and the Partai Tionghoa Indonesia, which was Indonesia-oriented. These three groups were dissolved during the Japanese occupation (1942–45).

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Universalium. 2010.

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