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The Mosaic of Asean Identities: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects in the Formation of ASEAN Identity Among Ethnic Chinese In Insular Southeast Asia

Lermie Shayne S. Garcia


Do “peranakan” in Malaysia relate well with peranakan in Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei, or with “tsinoy" in the Philippines? Given the historical reality that they are relative newcomers in the nation-states, how do the peranakan view the concept of nationality? Do they see ASEAN more as a “home” rather than simply a country of residence? Does the presence of Chinese communities in most parts of SEA serve as a cultural thread toward ASEAN Identity? This study investigates the (non)formation of ASEAN Identity among ethnic Chinese in SEA based on various historical records from the colonial era up to the present. At one point, the locals in each country tended to cooperate with the ethnic Chinese, but after Independence when the latter began to obtain more economic gains, the institutionalization of concepts such as “asli” and “bumiputra” took place, resulting in antagonism, domination, and later, resistance. The centuries-old struggle with adaptation and non-acceptance contributes to the delay in welcoming the idea of an ASEAN Identity among ethnic Chinese.


Ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia; Peranakan and Tsinoy; ASEAN Identity; ASEAN Regional Integration

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