Exploring Ethnic Diversity: Baba & Nyonya Through the Lens of Culture
Kuala Lumpur: The BERJAYA School of Humanities & Social Sciences of BERJAYA University College (BERJAYA UC) in collaboration with the Peranakan Baba Nyonya Association of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor (PPBNKLS) has organized a public event – Exploring Ethnic Diversity: Baba & Nyonya through the Lens of Culture on March 8-9, 2018, at the city campus to promote cultural awareness of the Baba Nyonya community as one of the local ethnicities.
“In addition to revitalising and preserving the cultural heritage of Baba Nyonya for future generations, it is also the objective of this event to promote cultural awareness by emphasizing the uniqueness of the Baba Nyonya culture,” said Professor Dr Eileen Lee, Dean of BUC’s Faculty of Liberal Arts, a Malaccan who is of Peranakan background. “This two-day event will also enable students to learn more about the cultural heritage of the Baba Nyonya community as well as unite the multiracial, multinational and multicultural student body at BUC to appreciate the culture of other ethnic groups.”
Being a significant part of the Malaysian ethnic fabric, the Baba Nyonya community is notably represented by its unique cultural heritage in terms of customs, language and culinary exploits. For this event, members from the PPBNKLS worked closely with the students to organise a number of activities which include a talk on Baba Nyonya history and culture by Mr Cedric Tan, president of PPBNKLS, an exhibition on Baba Nyonya cultural heritage (designs, architecture and house furnishings) and food presentation of distinct Nyonya cuisine. “This event is also significant in that it is in line with the learning outcomes of the Ethnic Relations (MPU3112) course, a compulsory subject for all Malaysian university students, which is to realise national integration through culture by engaging students to interact with other ethnicities,” Puan Normaizura Md Zain, lecturer for the MPU course, pointed out.
Cedric Tan, President of the PPBNKLS adds that, “As part of the Association’s objectives, we looked forward to this collaboration effort with Berjaya University College to encourage youth of today to learn and appreciate the traditions and customs of our forefathers. Though Babas and Nyonyas of the past professed the Three Doctrines (Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism), they readily adopted local and foreign cultures and adapted to their new environment with ease. Adapting to their new environment was possible as our open minded and open-heart forefathers appreciated the many positive traits found in the local and foreign culture they were exposed too. These are the positive traits that our youth today can emulate. Today’s collaboration effort will enable our youth today to taste parts of our community’s wonderful culture and lifestyle and to make Malaysia, our home, a beautiful place to live, grow and be prosperous. “