Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-xtgtn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-23T09:41:43.960Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - Malay/Indonesian Translations of Chinese Literature: Past and Present

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2023

Leo Suryadinata
Affiliation:
ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute
Get access

Summary

Introduction

The Chinese have been in the Malay world, namely Indonesia and Malaya/Malaysia for centuries. Nevertheless, the translation of Chinese works into the local languages, particularly the Malay language, only took place in the late 1880s. The existence of such translations is related to three important developments:

  • 1. There was a rise of Chinese nationalism, or at least cultural nationalism, among the Chinese in the Malay region;

  • 2. There was an emergence of Western-educated Chinese writers and journalists who undertook the translation of Chinese works;

  • 3. With the development of the printing press, often known as print capitalism, the Chinese began to get involved in such a business.

Prior to the 1880s, the above developments were absent in the Malay world, and as a result, no Chinese works were translated into the Malay language.

In fact, towards the end of the nineteenth century, printing presses and newspapers in Malay/Indonesian had begun to emerge, but none was in the Chinese language. The Peranakan and Baba who were no longer fluent in Chinese but equally inadequate in their command of the Western languages needed to read newspapers, magazines and books in the language that they understood. They were also interested in reading more about Chinese culture, and some enterprising Chinese started translating Chinese stories into Malay. In Java, for instance, these Chinese stories were initially published by Dutch printing houses such as H.M. van Dorp and W. Bruining & Co., but one year later the Peranakan Chinese themselves set up their own printing houses (e.g. Ijap Goan Ho) and published these stories by themselves. In the Straits Settlements of British Malaya, the publishers were Chinese (e.g. Kim Sek Chye Press, Poh Wah Hean Press) from the beginning.

It is imperative to note that the demand for Malay translations of Chinese works did not come from the Malay community but the Chinese themselves, as many Chinese in the Malay world had lost their command of the Chinese language. They were Peranakan Chinese who were well versed in Malay, which was the lingua franca of different ethnic groups in the Malay Archipelago. Among the Peranakan Chinese in colonial Indonesia and British Malaya, Malay, not Chinese, was the medium of communication.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
First published in: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×