Eurasians: Celebrating Survival

Eurasians: Celebrating Survival

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 28, Issue 1 (2007)
DOI: 10.1080/07256860601082988
pages 129-141

Christine Choo
University of Western Australia

The search for my Asian ancestors and my discoveries in archives, the crumbling pages, the eroding ink, the disappearance of the word, are a metaphor for the simultaneous emergence of the will to recover memories and the slow fading away of the material traces of memory. Eurasians of Malaysia and Singapore once epitomised the blurring of boundaries between cultures and societies in colonial and immediate post-colonial periods. In exploring their cultural and social heritage in the archives and by networking with the Eurasian diaspora on the internet, individuals shape and reaffirm their identities on new and old frontiers. This paper presents Eurasians and their experiences as transcultural or in the middle ground – the space where new ways of being are developed and lived in a cross-cultural environment. It explores how the definition of Eurasian is changing in the context of contemporary globalised society.

Who is Eurasian?

This essay is a personal reflection on the position of Eurasians as “in-betweeners” and the changes experienced by the Eurasian communities of Malaysia from historically, geographically and socially grounded minority communities to imagined communities of a diaspora with families linked by the internet. Paradoxically, in the expanded globalised context of our contemporary world where cross-cultural intermarriage or partnering is common, historic Eurasian communities like those in Malaysia are fading away through intermarriage and migration. Many Eurasian extended families connect and discover their common heritage and family links through the internet. In another reality, unrelated individuals across the world with Asian-European heritage rely on the imagined communities created by the internet to help them gain a sense of identity and community…

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