January 8th, 2003

Last of the Peranakans

My Ipoh, or Grandaunt in Peranakan malay, is dying from cancer after quite a long battle. I never really knew her very well, but I always greeted her during Chinese new year and various other holidays, and loved and respected her. Indeed, during the critical stages of her condition, she still moved around and even cooked for others! She did a kick ass Babi pontel (definitely a typo, but it's that kick ass pork dish), and was indeed a true Peranakan. Now she is dying, and that means 1 less. It's bad enough that almost none of my cousins are "pure" Peranakan (I say "Pure" for Peranakans are a hybrid dialect to begin with), but many of my Ipohs have already passed on before her, with my Mum's generation as the true, last stand. One day, Peranakans might vanish altogether, and that makes me immensely sad. Sad cos, it's as if i've lost half of myself. So people say "You take your father's dialect by law" I say screw it. Both parents raised me, so I'm both, and while i say f*ck china, I'm very adamant on being true to my roots, that is, those of the Hainanese AND Peranakans. I might not be able to speak malay, but what i can do to preserve the dialect is to maintain its glory...by....well...eating a hell lot of peranakan food! Whatever race or dialect my wife will be, I'll be sure to ensure that my children never forget what they really are. All these Americanised, Generation X asians who throw their culture out the window make me sick. I'm not perfect myself either, as I don't practice much traditional chinese stuff (most of it, I'm actually against), but at least I acknowledge the fact that I am, and that it's sad. So here's to my dialects, my roots, myself.
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