Being the concluding part of the study on the Chinese in the nineteenth-century Straits Settlements, the inquiry has a twofold aim: to construct a social alignment pattern of the Chinese in Penang, and to compare the pattern with those in Singapore and Malacca. Altogether 14,500 names of donors from epigraphic sources were processed.
The Penang Chinese exhibited a rather unique social alignment pattern in that the Hokkiens had been very active in a number of community oriented associations. Cases of cross-dialect-group participation were few, as compared to the other two settlements, for the various dialect groups in Penang, particularly the Hokkiens, were largely attracted to the inter-provincial associations. This was a unique social alignment pattern.
The findings from Penang, together with those in Singapore and Malacca were used to reconstruct an unidimensional scale for measuring the system rigidity of Chinese voluntary associations.