Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144881
Title: ADVENTURES OF KOH HOON TECK: GLIMPSES OF THE BABA DONDANG SAYANG AND IDENTITY IN SINGAPORE, 1920-40S
Authors: CHEW HUI LIN ADELINE
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2018
Citation: CHEW HUI LIN ADELINE (2018-04-23). ADVENTURES OF KOH HOON TECK: GLIMPSES OF THE BABA DONDANG SAYANG AND IDENTITY IN SINGAPORE, 1920-40S. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis illustrates one aspect of the Peranakan soundscape during the Golden Age of Peranakan culture in Singapore in the period between 1920–40s. Despite the Baba dondang sayang becoming almost synonymous with Peranakan culture in this time period, the silence in both primary and secondary sources is deafening. This thesis aims to stir the silence as it offers a glimpse of the history of the Baba dondang sayang in this time period, and its relation to Baba identity. This will be told through the lens of the man who founded the Gunong Sayang Association—Baba Koh Hoon Teck. Drawing inspiration from Natalie Zemon Davis for her historical work, The Return of Martin Guerre, this thesis represents an alternative effort at thesis writing when there is an abject lack of relevant source material in attempting to paint a possible picture of Koh’s life—his experiences, ambitions, motivations, uncertainties—in relation to the Baba dondang sayang. I have attempted to create an experience for readers to engage with more than one of their five senses in the re-imagination of 1920–40s Singapore, and to empathise with the Babas’ possible uncertainties during that time period. Babas, too, have asked themselves, “Who am I?” With racial categories crystalised by the colonial powers, the mixed-heritage Babas had to wrestle with carving out an identity for themselves. Were they Chinese? Were they Malay? Were they British lackeys? This thesis offers my interpretation of why Babas adopted and adapted the Malay dondang sayang by examining its music and practices in 1920–40s Singapore.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144881
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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