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Pinang Peranakan Mansion

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Many cultures and traditions have shaped the development of Penang, but one of the most remarkable is that of the Peranakan, whose affluent and opulent lifestyles are celebrated at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion.

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In the early days of the settlement it became widespread practice for Chinese merchants to reinforce business connections by marrying into local Malay families. The men adopted some of their Malay wive’s indigenous customs, fusing these with those of their Chinese homeland to create a culture that became unique to the Straits settlements of Penang, Melaka and Singapore.

Penang’s Mint Green House. Photo taken in or around Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Penang, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Penang’s Mint Green House. Photo: Sally Arnold

The descendants of this hybrid culture are known as Peranakan (meaning “mixed race” in Malay), Straits Chinese or Baba-Nyonya as men are addressed with the honorific “Baba”, and women “Nyonya”. The legacy of this initial amalgamation of traditions is the superbly spicy Nyonya cuisine, as well as the colourful embroidered kebaya dresses of the women, and even a creole Malay-Hokkien language, Baba Malay, which is still heard very occasionally among older Penangites.

As the 19th century progressed and the Peranakan made great riches in the tin and rubber trades, they expanded their cultural diversity by adopting the colonial British lifestyle. The wealthiest of them began to wear clothes in the latest European fashions, spoke English, took part in British pastimes such as tennis, cricket and croquet, and indulged in the finest wines and whiskeys. To complete this outward show of wealth, they also decorated their houses by amalgamating the very best of traditional Chinese with the latest furnishing trends ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Pinang Peranakan Mansion
29 Lebuh Gereja (Church Street), Georgetown
Mo–Su: 09:30-17:00
T: (0426) 42 929
Admission: 21.20 ringgit for adults, 10.60 ringgit for kids

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