Who are the Peranakans?
"To me, 'Peranakan' is misused, overused and loosely used," says Angeline. So it's worth taking a look at Peranakans' origins. Many scholars agree that the Peranakans are the descendants of Chinese immigrant traders who married local women in the Straits Settlements. Angeline also tells of a historical figure, the Chinese Muslim explorer named Zheng He who persuaded his emperor to arrange a marriage between a mainland Chinese princess Hang Li Po and the Malaccan Sultan. 500 Chinese servants were sent with her to Malacca as part of her entourage, where they settled. These settlers married local ladies, producing offspring of mixed heritage that adapted to Malay culture – resulting in the first generation of Peranakan Chinese. Indian, Dutch and foreigners of other ethnicities also passed through the Straits Settlements for trade and commerce, resulting in other Peranakan groups of non-Chinese ancestry (like the Peranakan Jawi).