The Peranakan Indians in Singapore, also known as Chetti Melaka, trace their roots to South Indian traders who came to Malacca 500 years ago. They intermarried with local Chinese and Malays to produce a hybrid peranakan community that survived the Malacca Sultanate and 500 years of Portuguese, Dutch and British rule in Malacca. Today the community is small and lives in Kampong Chetty, Malacca.
In the last century, some members of this community moved to Singapore. Even though it is historically the oldest Indian community in Singapore, it is the least known. Because it has a little Indian, a little Chinese and a little Malay ancestry, it faces a problem of community identity – who really are they in Singapore?
This lecture given by a leading member of the community will address this gap in identity. Entitled The Lost Tribe of Chetti Melaka - Who Are We? it traces the community’s history, geography and culture, addresses the dilemma of diasporic identity and suggests solutions to preserve the community’s legacy and heritage.