Penang’s Eurasians – Too Important to Be Ignored

loading Argus Lane. Elements of Catholic influences in the pictures of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary can still be seen on their front doors.

Known to locals as “Serani” – a contraction of the Malay word “nasrani”, meaning Christians – a Eurasian is generally anyone who is a fusion of European and Asian blood. The term was originally coined by the British in the nineteenth century to refer to an individual of mixed British and Indian descent.

In the early days of Penang, Eurasians turned the wheels of administration for the new settlement. They arrived in Penang with Captain Francis Light and witnessed the first hoisting of the Union Jack on the island on August 11, 1786 as Light took formal possession, naming the place Prince of Wales Island. A free and neutral port city at that time, Penang saw traders all over the world flocking to do business and being welcomed with open arms. Settlers from various parts of Europe, including the British, Dutch, French, German and Portuguese, also began congregating at the island to reap a piece of the fortune.

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