What is Baba Nyonya?
Baba Nyonya are terms used for the early Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara region, including both the British Straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang and the Dutch-controlled island of Java among other places.
1st I known Baba Nyonya is when I study history in school. Just know that there is such a group of people called Baba Nyonya. But don't really go and study why there are like this. I guess that time I hated History very much. Why? I have bad memory. Hard to memorize all the facts.
2nd, when I meet my bf and his friend, they are saying nyonya dumplings are very nice, very special. Plus Hoo always mention those food from Baba Nyonya group very different. Especially they home cooked food. He keep on stressing how good is was
3nd, when I meet a real Baba Nyonya ancestry, a real Baba men. Haha. Their Malay is very good. Seems like they speak Malay in their home with their parents. Huh.. Malay?? Special! But aren't they chinese??
4th, finally a Nyonya girl stay at my house ~ Susie. She was my bf ex-housemate. Cool. Now all my question have been solved. I finally know more detail on what they are, what are their culture, what's their languge... etc. Cool.
Susie told me got friends ask her:
"Are you muslim?"
"Can you eat pork?"
"ARe you Malay?"... etc
Baba Nyonya were partially assimilated into the Malay culture (especially in food, dress, and language), while retaining some Chinese traditions (religion, name, and ethnic identitity), thereby creating a fusion culture of their own.
I finally know that Baba Nyonya is Chinese, they are not muslim nor Malay and have retained the ancestral worship tradition of the Chinese.
Because their great grand great grand... too high above are Chinese married with Malay. So they have different langguage, culture then those who are Malay or Chinese.
Baba Malay [Bahasa Melayu Baba] , is a dialect of the Malay language [Bahasa Melayu], which contains many Hokkien words. Susie told me that its not totally Malay, but mix with alot of hokkien inside. When she is young, she will get confuse on Malay and Baba Nyonya Language. When she is young, she live with her grandma, which she use to speak with her grandma Baba Nyonya Language. Her grandma don't know other language then Baba Nyonya Language. She told me, when she is young, people use to misunderstood and though her she was a malay kid instead of a chinese kid. Hahahaha... But she seldom speak now. I ask her. Will u teach your kid this language? She say depands. I guess this society will become more and more forbidden. Losing its people and culture.
Susie say that her grandma is a pure Nyonya, dishes are all spicy. Almost every dish is spicy.Without spicy, her grandma can't eat. Must add cilipadi. Oh my god.!!!
She also told me that nyonya wear the baju kebaya. But the baju kebaya is transparent!! Oh.. so sexy. You can look thru their transparent baju kebaya and see their bra's. Susie told me now the younger generation will wear a tub or spagatee strip inside. But the older generation still wear as usual. Exposing their bras. Baba Nyonya far more open minded. I guest!!
Its a great time talking to her when I'm free. She let me know more and more about her culture. Must visit her house in Melaka 1 day. Meet her grandma. :)
** I Have added images from jooli.com ~~ dolls constume creation **