Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


American Academy of Asian Studies

First Advisor



The Chinese community in Malaya, Singapore, and British Borneo, as in all of Southeast Asia, is in the early stages of a radical change. This ethnic group, which already holds virtual control of the economy of these three regions, is now finding it necessary to also reach out for political representation, or even political control, in order to preserve its place in local society.

Such participation in local affairs constitutes a great change for a group which has always maintained an orientation toward China, socially and politically, wherever its individuals might happen to live. The process of change is bound to be a painful one, as any break away from jealously held traditional values must be. There is, however, no real alternative; the choice must be between this change and an even more radically changed China.


Malaya, Singapore, and British Borneo were chosen as the locale of this study for two main reasons. First, the similarities of the three are marked. They have made· up the major British colonial area of Southeast Asia, and the original population of the region was basically Malay. Second, the concentration of Chinese. population there is greater than in any other area outside China.

Malaya with nearly half its population Chinese; Singapore, with a population which is four-fifths Chinese; and British Borneo, with almost one third of its people Chinese, are certainly in the position of having their future decided by the direction taken in the development of their Chinese community. The importance of the Chinese is enhanced by their relatively better educational and economic standing.

Thus, it can be seen that a knowledge of the Chinese community in Malaya, Singapore and British Borneo, is extremely important in developing an understanding of the probably future development of these countries. Moreover, such knowledge is even more important in gaining foresight of the future of the Chinese in all of Southeast Asia.





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