Revisiting Resinicisation Discourse on Ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia. A Asia the Case of Malaysia.

Ik-Tien Ngu


Local Chinese cultural activities in Southeast Asia have shown vibrant development at the end of the 20th century. Many scholars describe this phenomenon as resinicisation and attribute the development to the rise of China. As argued by those scholars, China contributes tremendously in the process by providing cultural resources and rebuilding social networks, such as supplying Chinese language experts, conducting cultural performances and establishing networks between ancestral homelands and ethnic Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. This study revisits the Chinese and English scholarly discussion of resinicisation to show the themes and political tendencies of the debate and complexity of the discourse. In addition, this paper provides case studies of influential Malaysian Chinese organisations which have actively involved in local civil society movements in the past decades. This research contends that factors such as domestic ethnic politics and democratisation movements, rather than Mainland China’s cultural resources, are more likely to shape the sense of Chineseness of Chinese Malaysians and hence a localized resinicisation process in Malaysia.


Keywords:  Chinese organizations, Chineseness, Democratization, Malaysia, Resinicisation

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