To understand the Peranakan people and language, it is necessary to travel 600 years back in time. The Chinese began settling parts of South East Asia as early as the 15th century. This estimated period of settlement is closely associated with the travels of the well-known Chinese admiral Zheng He undefined, who led trading exchanges in the South China Sea, Java Sea, and Malacca Strait between 1405 to 1433 (Wade 1994; Wang 1964). After Zheng He’s death in 1433, Fei Hsin, a scholar who had been on the admiral’s ship, wrote in Hsing-ch’a sheng-lan ‘The Overseas Survey of the Star Raft’ that besides darker-skinned people, he had also seen fairer-looking people of Chinese descent in Malacca (Fei 1436). A century later, in 1537, a Chinese traveller by the name Hwang Chung, wrote in his travel journal, Hai yu ‘News from the Ocean’, that the Chinese in Malacca ate pork, lived in hotels, and had female slaves who served them food and drink (Groeneveldt 1880).
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