Monday, December 20, 2004

Babas, Nyonya, Straits Born

Straits Chinese, Straits Born, Baba and Peranakan are terms used interchangeably by the people and by people describing them.

Straits Born, Straits Chinese - was the term used for the people born in the Straits Settlement comprising of Penang, Malacca and Singapore.

Baba - The word is of Indian origin and was brought to the Malay Peninsula when the East India company extended its influence from India to Malacca. In Northern India the term Baba is a general title of respect. In time the word came to refer primarily to the Straits Chinese male.

Nyonya - The term Nyonya for Straits Chinese woman is less exclusive as it its been use to apply to the woman of Sumatra and Java. The term actually is the Malay form of address for non-malay married ladies of standing in the community.