Suukee Nang: What it Means to be Hainanese

loading

Beyond its mouth-watering cuisine, Hainanese identity is marked by its unique history and language.

Several factors spurred the Hainanese to pack their bags and make their way to fertile Malaya in the nineteenth and twentieth century. These included widespread poverty, war, the Qing government’s rescindment of its ban on Chinese leaving the empire, the Japanese invasion, and the rubber and tin boom in Malaya.

But their late arrival meant that the Hainanese were pushed into less-than-desirable occupations: lucrative trades and businesses had already been monopolised by the other Chinese groups. Many had to rely on their skills as farmers and fishermen to survive. In Kemaman, Terengganu, the Hainanese toiled on pepper farms while in Penang many found employment in the fishery business and as labourers and domestic help for European and wealthy Straits Chinese families.


To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.



Related Articles

FEATURE
Dec 2013

Ecstatic about short + sweet

The world's biggest 10-minute theatre festival makes playwrights out of Penangites.

FEATURE
Mar 2017

Making the Needs of Employees and Employers Meet

The Penang Skills Development Centre transforms Penang's workforce.

FEATURE
Feb 2017

A Mortar Board Does Not Guarantee Employability

It can take a long time for higher education to pay off.

FEATURE
Oct 2015

One country’s Merdeka is another’s damage control

To gain a fuller insight into Malaysia’s attainment of independence, we need to look at the adjacent puzzle pieces as well.