Identity politics can impede Chinese identification in southeast Asia because the migrant population, particularly the intellectual aspect of that population, have to consider the political effects of their intellectual and social activities on the survival of Chinese communities. Similarly, these communities have to deal with the necessity of nation-building in the aftermath of the Second World War, which required integration rather than the exaggeration of differences. Consequently, restriction on self-understanding as well as self-representation has become more than apparent in Chinese migrant communities in southeast Asia.
With this in mind, identity politics can inspire self-understanding among the migrant communities, as intellectuals rediscover how humanism can enable a claim of ‘Chineseness’ that can be registered differently and creatively in a variety of national conditions. Migrant communities generally understand the importance of political accuracy, and this being accurate involves subscribing to pragmatism, something which is apparent in the scholarship and creative outputs of these communities. Humanism and pragmatism together are the epistemological parameters of self-representation, whereas civilizational and ethnic studies are their methodological parameters. This book was originally published as a special issue of Asian Ethnicity.
Introduction: the beauty of being accurate Chih-Yu Shih
1. Producing and reconstructing knowledge on China in Singapore: perspectives from the academics and mass media Sin Kiong Wong, Ruixin Wang, Zhuo Wang and Shihlun Allen Chen
2. Rewriting Singapore and rewriting Chineseness: Lee Guan Kin’s diasporic stance Pi-Chun Chang
3. Between a subject and an object: representation of China in Kuo Pao-kun’s Singapore and Denny Yung’s Hong Kong Chih-yu Shih and Celine Yi-Chin Lee
4. Intellectual paths of Thailand’s first generation China scholars: a research note on encountering and choices of Khien Theeravit and Sarasin Viraphol Prapin Manomaivibool
5. Looking beyond ethnicity: the negotiation of Chinese Muslim identity in Penang, Malaysia Pei-Chien Wu
6. Patrolling Chineseness: Singapore’s Kowloon Club and the ethnic adaptation of Hong Kongese to Singaporean society Jean Michel Montsion