A Glimpse of Baba and Nyonya

Heard about this 34-episode TV drama from Singapore's Media Corp, The Little Nyonya starring Jeanette Aw and immediately thought of the local TV production many years back, Baba and Nyonya starring Kenny Chan and Chee Hood Siong in their transgender roles.Baba and Nyonya refer to the male and female descendants of the very early Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara region, which include both the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch-controlled island of Java. In the 15th century, the Malacca Sultanate, the power that was in the Malay Peninsula often paid tribute to various kingdoms such as the kingdoms of China and Siam. Close relations with China were already established then when Parameswara, an Indian-Hindu king ruled. According to traditional accounts, in 1459 CE, the Emperor of China sent a princess, Hang Li Po, to the Sultan of Malacca. The entourage who accompanied the princess initially settled in Bukit Cina and eventually grew into a class of straits-born Chinese known as the Peranakan. These Peranakan retain most of the Chinese customs and religion. They are said to be very strong in the Chinese spirit and still practise ancestor worship and celebrate the major Chinese festivals like Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival. Over the years however, they had also assimilated the language and culture of the Malays. Their culture now is rather unique and that include their food too which is distinct from the usual Chinese fare.

Now, have a glimpse at the life of a Nyonya and Baba...



And the Malaysian production of Baba and Nyonya in the local Malay language...



Comments

DarKScoRpioN said…
Jeanette Aw is no doubt one of the best actresses in Singapore. totally adore her acting and cute smile. =) Hope to see mediacorp feature her even more in future big productions.