Assumptions of Personhood in the Discourse about Chinese Identity in Malaysia
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Introduction to Assumptions of Personhood in Discourse about Chinese Identity in Malaysia
By Ee Lin Lee
Ee Lin Lee notes that generally studies of Chinese ethnic communities located outside of China, i.e. so-called diasporas, consider these communities to be fairly stable, even timeless, and homogenous. In fact, it is often assumed that these diaspora communities are more traditional Chinese than Mainland Chinese culture. These assumptions are typically based the application of Western methods of studying cultures to non-Western contexts which tend not to capture all the complex nuances of the various diaspora communities, the author argues.
By taking a closer look at Malaysian Chinese, it is clear that their history is long and varied which, in turn, had an impact on shaping their present day identity. Consequently, different ethnic Chinese groups in Malaysia see themselves differently ranging from incorporating traditional Chinese values to considering oneself to be Malaysian, or being Westernized; lee notes.
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