Penang Chinese Commerce in the 19th Century: The Rise and Fall of the Big Five
Format: Print Book
"Wong Yee Tuan's study of the five clans of Penang represents a major breakthrough in the study of the Malayan Chinese. He documents an extremely important aspect of the nineteenth-century Asian diaspora, exposing the intricate links between families, businesses, secret societies, revenue farms and public life of some of the key groups of Chinese in Penang and northern Malaya. The book weaves together the various strands of overseas Chinese life not only in Malaya, but also in the Netherlands Indies, Siam and China. Most importantly, it shows the process by which the Chinese leaders gained political, economic and social power as well as the way by which these powers were lost."
"This volume can be situated within a growing historiographical current whereby regional studies of connections, networks and interactions are gradually transcending national histories. Incorporating commercial, ethnic and social elements, the history presented can be concurrently seen as a business case study, a sociological exploration, a political economy treatise and an inquiry into Hokkien networking. Wong Yee Tuan is to be congratulated on this signal study in how local, national and broader regional histories can be integrated."
"By aligning family, socio-political and business interests, the leading Penang Hokkien clans centralized their 'home port' as a hub of regional commercial networks, thus successfully extending the trading colonies of Chinese diaspora westward to the edge of the Indian Ocean. Wong has fastidiously researched and compellingly proven this, with a clear eye for relevant cross-cultural collaborations with indigenous and international actors. The important legacy of the 'Big Five' clanhouses is now firmly embedded in the George Town World Heritage Site, inciting further inquiry into the cultural formation of collective entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia."
Number of Pages: 228
Publication Date: 21/10/2015
Imprint: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute
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