The Punjabi Sikh Community in Kuching

Assimilation or Enculturation?

  • Maya David University of Malaya, Malaysia
  • Caesar Dealwis University of Malaya, Malayasia
  • Thilagavathi Shanmuganathan University of Malaya, Malayasia


ABSTRACT – This study was conducted using a mixed research method including quantitative and qualitative data collection to investigate the cultural and linguistic practices of the Punjabi Sikhs in Kuching, Sarawak in East Malaysia. It was aimed to determine whether the community had integrated with the majority community/communities in Kuching and to what extend it has preserved its ethnic identity. Data were collected on the Punjabis’ use of language in the domains of family, workplace, and entertainment. Other social factors like eating habits, dressing, celebration of festivals, marriage preference, religious practices and self-identity were also examined. It was identified that the minority community of the Punjabi Sikhs in Kuching, Sarawak has a tendency towards maintaining a strong cultural vitality and uniqueness. The community shows a high degree of assimilating towards the use of English language, although they appear to be maintaining their core Punjabi cultural traits and practices. Kuching Punjabis may have lost a vital segment of their cultural enrichment in the form of language but they crucially hold positive perceptions about their ethno-cultural and ethno-linguistic identity. Thus contradicting the traditional cultural studies, which incline that not maintaining the language, can lead to losing the other aspects of culture.


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How to Cite
David, M., Dealwis, C., & Shanmuganathan, T. (2015). The Punjabi Sikh Community in Kuching: Assimilation or Enculturation?. IARS’ International Research Journal, 5(1). Retrieved from