The King's Chinese - From Barber to Banker, the Story of Yeap Chor Ee

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”The Straits British Chinese - a community which emerged in the colonial Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore) - constituted a truly unique blend of Chinese, Southeast Asian and European cultural identities, manifesting the tradition of hybridity which has long marked coastal populations along the Straits of Melaka. The subjects of this volume, Yeap Chor Ee and his family members, were key figures in this cultural milieu from the first half of the 20th century, an age when the community flourished. The central thread of this book - the life of Yeap Chor Ee, the “merchant prince of Penang”- touches on a multitude of people, events and businesses which extended from trading to banking, and sugar refining to property development. Locating this account of Yeap Chor Ee in the pulsing commercial centre of pre-war Penang, and in a Malayan peninsula which was undergoing rapid change, Daryl Yeap has sketched a portrait not only of this famous towkay, but of a society. By introducing us to the prominent Penang families, to family politics and practices, education, cultural hybridity, festivals and food, and placing these in the wider context of the social changes and political events affecting both the island and the region, she provides us with both a Yeap family history and a broader story of Penang. Together these present an enthralling and edifying contribution to Malaysian history.”

- Geoff Wade

Historian, author and translator



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The great-granddaughter of Yeap Chor Ee, after a career in banking and finance DARYL YEAP returned to Malaysia to work for the family business, during which time she helped to establish the House of Yeap Chor Ee, a Penang-based gallery of social history on the Overseas Chinese of Malaya. It was during this time that she began to research into the life and times of Yeap Chor Ee, which formed the material for The King’s Chinese. DARYL is also the author of As Equals: The Oei Women of Java.

165 x 240mm
B&W throughout
ISBN 9789672165590


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