The bananas in Malaysia is a unique type of people found only in Malaysia and in perhaps too in Singapore. They are named because of their inherent appearance; yellow on the outside, white on the inside. That means they look like a typical Chinese (yellow) on the outside, but on the inside they are exactly like a mat salleh, or Caucasian. (As opposed to a coconut, brown on the outside, white on the inside, the Indian equivalent). They are ethnic chinese who grew up on English-speaking environments, be it from their parents or education system. But at the same time, they still receive strong influence from their traditionally strong Chinese background, especially their grandparents who instill within them the values of seeing life from a china-man.
The root of the banana chinese in Malaysia goes all the way back to the formation of the Federation of Malay States in the early 20th century. At that time, life as a migrant chinese coming from Mainland China was tough, earning a meagre living scrapping off the lavishness of the British, being their servant, cook and coolie in tin mines. To them, the British were highly revered upon, so it is natural that they encouraged their school-going children to learn up the English language as much as they can, in the blind faith that they may enjoy good life in the future. Read the rest of this entry »