- Origin -
Over the last two hundred years, diasporas of Indian Muslims, Hadramis and other Muslims identified entrepôts of the Straits of Malacca (Penang, Malacca & Singapore) as their new home. Migrant island communities flourished in
the Northern passage and kinship and family networks expanded into commercial alliances as a segment in the history of diasporas in the Indian Ocean.
- Integration & Assimilation -
Intermarriage with Malay communities created the Jawi Peranakan or Jawi Pekan culture. Muslim immigrants married Malay women and their children spoke the Malay language at home. Third generation JawiPeranakan families who further married into local coastal Malay families were fully accepted as ‘Malay’.
Indian Muslim men who married Indian Muslim women from India retained the Tamil language as a medium of communication and these were known as the mamaks who flourished in trade and placed a high value on formal modern education for sons. Daughters were usually poorly educated and were either married off early to other mamaks or lived with ageing parents or elder brothers to take care of their children.
As these mamak communities married peranakan women, their children took to speaking Malay at home and eventually peranakan and mamak communities were fused into a new Malay hybrid community in the township of George Town.Through the process of cultural integration and assimilation, more and more Malay characteristics relating to dressing, food and language were adopted into Jawi Peranakan culture and Indian or Tamil elements were gradually lost or removed.