24 Feb 2016: Book launch and talk on the Big Five Hokkien clans: Khoo, Cheah, Yeoh, Lim & Tan

Penang Institute together with Areca Books is proud to jointly organise the upcoming book launch and forum on Penang Chinese Commerce in the 19th Century by Dr Wong Yee Tuan.
Date   :   Saturday, 27 February 2016
Time  :   10am-12pm
Venue: The Star, Pitt Street

penang-chinese-commerce-in-the-19th-century
The story of Penang would be incomplete without the Big Five Hokkien clans (the Khoo, the Cheah, the Yeoh, the Lim and the Tan). It was the Big Five who played a preponderant role not only in transforming Penang into a regional entrepôt and a business and financial base, but also in reconfiguring maritime trading patterns and the business orientation of the region in the nineteenth century. Departing from the colonial vantage point, this book examines a web of transnational, hybrid and fluid networks of the Big Five comprising of family relationship, sworn brotherhood, political alliance and business partnerships, which linked Penang and its surrounding states (western Malay states, southwestern Siam, southern Burma, and the north and eastern coasts of Sumatra) together to form one economically unified geographical region, having inextricable links to China and India. With these intertwining network, the Big Five succeeded in establishing their dominance in all major enterprises (trade, shipping, cash crop planting, tin mining, opium revenue farms), which constituted the linchpin of Penang’s and it’s region’s economy. By disentangling and dissecting this intricate web of networks, this book reveals the rise and decline of the Hokkien mercantile families’ nearly century-long economic ascendancy in Penang and its region.
19世纪槟城华人商业:五大家族的崛起和与没落缺少了槟城五大家族(邱、谢、杨、林、陈)的故事,槟城的历史将不会完整。槟城五大家族所扮演的关键角色,不仅将19世纪的槟城转型成一个区域的自由港口及经济金融基地,更重要地,其更重塑了当时周围区域的海洋贸易模式与商业特色。本书跳脱从上而下的殖民视角,从地方社会的视野出发,深入地检视五大姓家族主导此贸易网络的机制,包括透过家族关系、结拜兄弟、政治与经济结盟等,链接了槟城及周围邦属(西部马来邦属、西南暹罗、南缅甸,及苏门答腊北部与东部海岸),形成一个联合的经济地理区域,并进一步延伸至中国与印度。透过剖析此高度混杂与动态的网络,本书将带领我们窥探槟城福建五大家族如何引领19世纪槟城及周遭区域的经济风潮,及其后的衰弱过程。Programme
10.00 am – Registration
10.30 am – Welcoming Speech, YB Zairil Khir Johari, Executive Director, Penang Institute
10.40 am – Author’s presentation
11.10 am – Panel discussion (Dr Wong Yee Tuan & Khoo Salma)
11.40 am – Q&A Session
12.00 pm – Adjournment


About the speaker

Dr. Wong Yee Tuan is a fellow and the head of History Studies at Penang Institute. He received his PhD in history from the Australian National University. His main research interest is in the area of the Chinese business history of Southeast Asia, particularly Penang.