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Peranakan culture on show at Singapore Pavilion

08-09-2010 08:55 BJT Special Report:Shanghai World Expo 2010 |

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Saturday marked Singapore's National Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo. The pavilion showcased the so-called "garden city", the nation's landmark merlion and its urban development.

Visitors also experienced the island country's unique Peranakan culture.

Singaporean TV Drama "Nyonya" was aired earlier this year. Lead character Ju Xiang won Chinese viewers' attention with her skilful cooking, delicate attire and embroidery. All embrace the traditions of Peranakan culture.

During the 15th Century, the small city-states along the Malay Peninsula formed close relations with China. This was largely due to Zheng He, a famous Chinese navigator and envoy who visited Malacca and Java.

Over the following centuries, waves Chinese emigrated and settled in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Some embraced the local customs and married local Malays, while still retaining their ancestral culture. This unique cultural blend gave rise to the title "Peranakans". Baba and Nyonya are terms used for the male and female descendants of those immigrants.

Today, indigenous Peranakan culture is displayed at Singapore's Straits Chinese Museum.

Nyonya clothing was developed from native Malay designs, fused with traditional Chinese patterns and Western influence.

Nyonya cuisine uses typical Malay spices. Classic dishes include Chicken Kapitan - a dry chicken curry - and Inchi Kabin - a Nyonya variant of fried chicken.

Peranakan culture continues to be celebrated in Singapore through museums, restaurants and street performances.

Editor:Liu Fang |Source:

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