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November 04, 2009

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies Presents: Peranakan Musical Cultures in Singapore


Source: The Peranakans - http://www.peranakanmuseum.sg/themuseum/abtperanakans.asp

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies invites you to a Friday-at-Noon lecture:
Peranakan Musical Cultures in Singapore
Lee Tong Soon, Department of Music, Emory University

12:00pm – 1:30pm
Friday, November 6, 2009
1636 SSWB/International Institute

The Peranakan community in Singapore has made much concerted efforts in enhancing public understanding of their culture. With a mix of Chinese and Malay heritage, the roots of the Peranakan communities can be traced back to 17th century Malacca. Since the 1980s, Peranakan culture has been represented in the form of restaurants specializing in their cuisine, revival of Peranakan plays, and permanent exhibits of their architecture, dress, household paraphernalia, and crafts in museums. Such efforts complement, and indeed constitute the broader State's effort to create interests and concern on local heritage, thereby affirming the community as an integral part of the State's conception of a national culture. Peranakan musical practices in Singapore include the performance of music and songs in Peranakan plays, singing of Peranakan hymns and translations of English hymns in the Peranakan patois for Catholic masses, and dondang sayang singing sessions.

Much of the State's representation of Peranakan culture is inclined towards nostalgic and reified perspectives of Peranakan identities and belies the current state of anxiety the community faces in affirming who they are. In this presentation, I would like to explore the ways in which Peranakan music underscores the changing dynamics of Peranakan identities in Singapore. By focusing on musical activities of pre-WW2 amateur Peranakan music groups, I want to show how different musical practices of the community in early 20th century Singapore reveal shifting moments in the meanings, values, and functions of being Peranakan.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies.

Posted by zzhu at November 4, 2009 10:45 PM