Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/162421
Title: THE ARABS OF SINGAPORE : A SOCIOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THEIR PLACE IN THE MUSLIM AND MALAY WORLD OF SINGAPORE
Authors: LIM LU SIA
Issue Date: 1987
Citation: LIM LU SIA (1987). THE ARABS OF SINGAPORE : A SOCIOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THEIR PLACE IN THE MUSLIM AND MALAY WORLD OF SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The Singapore Arabs have, over the years, been experiencing a change in their social standing within the Malay and Muslim world of Singapore. The approach taken here is essentially one of analysing the causative factors involved in the gradual loss of the Arabs' separate 'ethnic' identity. The open-endedness and hierarchical nature of historical Malay society is highlighted in this study, which shows what the local Arabs were often seen as constituting an aristocratic rank within it. This hierarchisation has allowed the Arabs of Singapore a choice of being simultaneously Malays and Arabs. The Arabs' cultural assimilation with the Malays and the absence in Singapore of a functioning Arab community in terms of Arab culture have served to facilitate their incorporation into the 'majority' Malay world of Singapore. Their socio-economic status has also been affected by certain features of the present government's policies on the institutions of wakaf and keramat-worship, which in the past had the effect of reinforcing and enhancing the social position of the Arabs at the apex of the Muslim social hierarchy. Ethnic boundary maintenance thus represents a pivotal concern among the upper-class and the English-educated Arabs who have a vested interest in asserting their Arabness. The institution of marriage and the Arab Association are two major avenues utilized by the Arabs to maintain and if possible, to reinstate their traditional elite status.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/162421
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