Eurasians in Singapore and Malaysia

Tamara S. Wagner, Fellow, National University of Singapore

The Eurasian community in Singapore is long established, having formed a distinct feature of Singaporean society at least since the early nineteenth century, though its roots in the Malay Archipelago go back to the Portuguese and Dutch colonial enterprises. The Eurasians do not form a single ethnic group, but are the descendants of various Asian peoples (Malay, Chinese, Indian, Bataks, &c.) on the one hand and "Europeans" (the colonial powers such as the Portuguese, Dutch, and British as well as migrants from Central and Eastern Europe) on the other. A distinct group of Eurasians are the descendants of the Luso-Malay or Kristang in Malacca. Their community dates back to the Portuguese discovery of the Ocean routes in the sixteenth century. After the conquest of Malacca in 1511, Portuguese were encouraged to marry local women. The Luso-Malay speak a creole language called Papia Kristang, which uses archaic Portuguese with a Malay grammar.


Related Web Resources


Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean Literature

Last modified: 30 September 2002