While I was vacationing in Malaca I found out about the small Dutch Eurasian community. The Dutch was in Malaca for almost 200 years and these people are their descendants. Aside from their last names , the locals are said to still possess some unique characteristics of their Dutch ancestors.
Unfortunately for me, time ran out and I never got to speak with anyone from this community (I’ve read about them in the museum). So, I was left wondering what these people were really like.
These Dutch Eurasians are organizing themselves so they can collectively study their past. An organization lead by one Malaysian Dutch Eurasian has started a website dedicated for the “minority and forgotten community of Dutch descendants living in Malaysia”.They want to find out more about their “rich historical past… unique and unrivaled heritage”.
And this is the challenge because they had lost much, including the language, because the tie with “Netherlands are much further back in history”. This are bound to happen with small groups because the natural tendency for small ethnic minorities are too merged with popular and more dominant culture. This is the reason why conservation and study projects must be made.
They’ve already started interviewing Dutch Eurasian in Malaca and KL. I think its a great initiative. I wish them the best.
The reason that I think this is important is that these groups are studying a past that many of us would see bad. We forget about the importance of the cultural and historical aspects. For many, the solution is to rid the Filipino of everything related to our hispano filipino past. That would be sure interesting if anyone can do that.
Just look at the opposition directed at the efforts in bringing back the Spanish language, which has been historically one of our official language. These issues gets too politicized. In the end, nothing gets done.
By the way, I don’t think the most Dutch Eurasian’s in Malaysia still speaks Dutch. The language has been lost for some reason but there still could be some of them that still speaks Dutch.