Descendants from Dutch settlers and local people are still living in Malaysia, most of them in Melaka and Kuala Lumpur.
Unlike the Portuguese descendants, these Dutch descendants have much more merged into Malaysian society. Still, also within Dutch Eurasian community in Malaysia a greater interest in their historical roots can be observed. In 2002 a small group of Dutch Eurasian Malaysians founded the Malaysian Dutch Descendants Project, “dedicated to the minority and forgotten community of Dutch descendants living in Malaysia”, as is said at the MDDP website.
Much more than the Dutch Eurasians in Malaysia the Indo-Dutch Eurasians in the Netherlands can be seen as a community with a colonial background, because of its recent colonial history. Indo-Dutch Eurasian identity as it can be observed now, has been formed and transformed by the history of the Indo-Dutch Eurasians as a hybrid colonial group, its position in the Netherlands East Indies, during the Second World War and at times of decolonization and by its particular migration history after the War.
Pim ten Hoorn
Malaysian Dutch Eurasians of today lack these experiences. They have their own history as a Eurasian group in Malaya and Malaysia. Why they nevertheless want to maintain an ethnic identity of their own and how they view their ethnic identity as Dutch Eurasians, are questions for which we hope to find an answer. In what way do Dutch Eurasians in Malaysia identify themselves as ethnic Dutch Eurasian? Racially, culturally, socio-economically?
The main purpose of this research is to see if one can discriminate a separate Dutch Eurasian ethnic identity and if so, what actual or assumed characteristics Dutch Eurasians apply to themselves in defining their ethnic identity.
A main question is “what does it mean to be Dutch Eurasian in contemporary multiethnic Malaysian society?”
The research by Pim Ten Hoorn was mainly executed by interviewing a number of Eurasians and others of whom an “outgroup” view of Malaysian Dutch Eurasians may be expected. The results will be presented shortly.