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
Keywords: ACCULTURATION, MINORITY COMMUNITY, CULTURAL VITALITY, ETHNIC IDENTITY, ASSIMILATION

Abstract

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.

References

Al-Khatib, Mahmoud A. & Al-Ali, Mohammed N. 2005. Language and cultural maintenance among the Gypsies of Jordan. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 26 (3): 187–215.
Beebe, Leslie M. & Giles, Hovard. 1984. Speech-Accommodation Theories: A Discussion in Terms of Second-Language Acquisition. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 46: 5-32.
Berry, J., Kim, U., Power, S., Young, M., & Bujaki, M. 1989. Acculturation attitudes in pluralistic societies. Applied Psychology and International Review, 38, 185-206.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1982. The Economics of Linguistic Exchange. Social science information 16, 645-668
Bourhis Richard Y. 1994. Bilingualism and Language at Work: The Linguistic Environment Survey. International Journal of Sociology of Language, 105-106, 217-266
Bourhis, Richard Y. & Landry, R. 2008. Group Vitality, Cultural Autonomy and the Wellness of Language minorities. In The Vitality of the English Speaking Communities of Quebec: From Community Decline to Reviva. Richard Y. Boursih, ed. Montreal, Quebec: CEETUM, Universite de montreal. P. 185-211.www.ceetum.umontreal/.ca
Bourhis, Richard Y. 1979. Language and ethnic interaction: A social psychological approach. In Language and Ethnic Relations. H. Giles & B. Saint-Jacques eds. (pp.117-141). Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Bourhis, Richard; Giles, Howard; & Rosenthal, David. 1981. Notes on the construction of a ‘subjective vitality questionnaire’ for ethnolinguistic groups. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 2:144–66.
Breitborde, Lawrence B. 1998. Speaking and Social identity: English in the lives of Urban Africans. Studies in Anthropological Linguistics 11. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Breton, Richard. 1983. More than 300 Languages in Cameroon. The Courier, 80, 92-95.
Carbaugh, Donal. 1996. Situating selves: The communication of social identities in American scenes (Human communication processes). New York: State University of New York.
Carliner, Geoffrey. 2000. The language ability of U.S. immigrants: Assimilation and cohort effects. International Migration Review 34: 158–182.
Crawford, James. 2007. Seven hypotheses on language loss: Causes and cures. In Stabilizing Indigenous Languages. Gina Cantoni ed. Revised edition, pp. 45–60. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University.
Creswell, John W., Plano Clark, Vicki L., Guttmann, Michelle L., Hanson, William E. 2003. Advanced mixed methods research design. In Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research. Tashakkori, A., Teddlie, C. eds. pp. 209–240. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA
Crystal, David. 1997. The Encyclopedia of Language. Second Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Crystal, David. 2000. Language Death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
David, Maya K. and Subra Govindasamy 2003. Language education and ‘nation building’ in multilingual Malaysia, in Jill Bourne and Euan Reid eds, World yearbook of education 2003: language education (London: Kogan Page), 215–226.
David, Maya. K, Ibtisam, N. and Sheena Kaur. 2003. The Punjabi Community in the Klang Valley, Malaysia- Language Maintenance or Language Shift? International Journal of the Sociology of Language .161: 1-20.
David, Maya. K. 1998. Language Shift, Cultural Maintenance and Ethnic Identity: A Study of a Minority Community: The Sindhis of Malaysia. International Journal of the Sociology of Language .130, 67-76
Edwards, John. 1988. Bilingualism, education and identity. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 9 (1&2): 203-210.
Fishman, Joshua A. 1989. Language and Ethnicity in Minority Sociolinguistic Perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Fishman, Joshua A. 1990. What is Reversing Language Shift (RLS) and How Can it Succeed? Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 11, 536.
Fishman, Joshua A. 1991. Reversing Language Shift. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Fishman, Joshua A. 2001. Why Is It So Hard To Save A Threatened Language? Can threatened languages be saved? Clevedon.
Fishman, Joshua A. 2007. What do you lose when you lose your language? In Stabilizing Indigenous Languages, revised edition. Gina Cantoni ed. pp. 71–81. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University.
Flannery, William P., Reise, Steven P., & Yu, Jiajuan. 2001. An empirical comparison of acculturation models. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(8), 1035-1045.
García, Ofelia. 1995. Spanish language loss as a determinant of income among Latinos in the United States: Implications for language policy in schools. In Power and Inequality in Language Education. James W. Tollefson ed. pp. 142–160. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gilbert, Anne. & Langlois, André. 2006. Organisation spatial et vitalité des communautés des métropoles à forte dominance anglaise du Canada. Francophonies d’Amérique, 21, 105-129.
Gilbert, Anne; Langlois, André; Landry, Rodrigue & Aunger, Edmund. 2005. L’environnement et la vitalité communautaire des minorités francophones : vers un modèle conceptuel. Francophonies d’Amérique, 20, 51-62.
Giles, Howard & Johnson, Patricia. 1987. Ethnolinguistic theory: a social psychological approach to language maintenance. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (68): 69-99. ethnic group relations. 307–348. London: Academic Press.
Giles, Howard; Bourhis, Richard, Y.; & Taylor, Donald M. eds. 1977. Towards a theory of language in
Gill, Scott G. 2009. Ethnic and National Identities in Multicultural Contexts: Considerations and Challenges. Theme 4: Research Systems and Specific Challenges for Social Development: (Outreach to key social partners, multiculturalism, changing demographics) UNESCO, 1-10.
Gordon, Milton M. 1964. Assimilation in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press
Gosling, Peter L. A. 1983. Changing Chinese Identities in Southeast Asia: An Introductory review. In The Chinese in Southeast Asia. L.A.P Gosling and L.Y.C. Lim eds. pp. 1-12. Singapore: Maruzen Asia Pte. Ltd.
Halimah Mohd. Said and Zainab Abdul Majid. 2004. Images of the Jawi Peranakan of Penang assimilation of the Jawi Peranakan community into the Malay society. Tanjong Malim, Perak : Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris,
Harwood, Jake, Giles, Howard & Bourhis, Richard Y. 1994. The genesis of vitality theory: historical patterns and discoursal dimensions. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 108:167-206.
Harwood, Jake; Giles, Howard and Bourhis, Richard Y. 1994. The Genesis of Vitality Theory: Historical Patterns and Discoursal Dimensions. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 108, 167–206.
Huschka, Denis and Mau, Steffen. 2006. Social Anomie and Racial Segregation in South Africa. Social Indicators Research 76, no. 3 (2006): 467-498.
Jones, David T. 1975. Modes of Allocation and the Acculturation Process. Nebraska Anthropologist. Paper 131. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nebanthro/131
Lanca, Margaret, Alksnis, Christine, Roese, Neil J., & Gardner, Robert C. 1994. Effects of language choice on acculturation, a study of Portuguese immigrants in a multicultural setting. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 13 (3) pp. 315-330.
Landry, Rodrigue & Allard, Réal. 1996. Vitalité ethnolinguistique. Une perspective dans l’étude de la francophonie canadienne. In De la polyphonie à la symphonie. Méthodes, theorieset faits de la recherche pluridisciplinaire sur le français au Canada. J. Erfurt dir. Leipzig. LeipzigerUniversitätsverlag (pp. 61-87).
Landry, Rodrigue; Allard, Réal and Deveau, Kenneth. 2007. Bilingual schooling of the Canadian Francophone minority: a cultural autonomy model. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 185: 133–62.
Lee Soo-Kyung, Sobal, Jeffrey. and Frongillo, Edward A. 2003. Comparison of Models of Acculturation : The Case of Korean Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2003 34: 282
Leech, Nancy L. and Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. 2009. A typology of mixed methods research designs. Qual Quant 43:265–275
Macionis, John J. 2001. Sociology. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Major-General S. Woodburn Kirby 1958. The invasion of British Borneo in 1942. The Japanese Monograph No. 26. http://www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/sarawak.html
Malgady, Robert G., & Zayas, Luis H. 2001. Cultural and linguistic considerations in psychodiagnosis with Hispanics: The need for an empirically informed process model. Social Work, 46, 39-49.
Manan, Syed. Abdul. 2011. Ethnolinguistic Vitality of the Punjabi Sikh Community in the state of Perak Malaysia. A Masters thesis (unpublished) University Kabengsaan Malaysia.
Mohamad Subakir Mohd. Yasin.1998. Language Allegiance and Language Shift. Bangi: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Mohd Radzuan Haji Ibrahim .1995. Polis dalam sistem keadilan jenayah di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Nazaruddin Mohd. Jali, Ma’rof Redzuan, Asnarulkhadi Abu Samah, & Ismail Mohd Rashid 2003. Malaysian studies, nationhood and citizenship. Petaling Jaya: Prentice-Hall.
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J., Johnson, R. Burke 2004. Mixed method and mixed model research. In Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. Johnson, R.B., Christensen, L.B. eds. pp. 408–431. Allynand Bacon, Needham Heights, MA.
Padilla, Amado M. 1999. Psychology. In Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity. J. Fishman ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 109-121.
Randhawa, S. S. 2010. Interview. In Manan, A, S. Ethnolinguistic vitality of the Punjabi Sikh community in the state of Perak Malaysia. Ipoh. Interview
Ranjit Singh, D. S. 1993. Indians in East Malaysia. In Indians communities in Southeast Asia. K. S. Sandhu and A. Mani ed. Singapore: Time Academic Press.
Ravichandran Moorthy. 2009 The evolution of the Chitty. Jebat: Malaysian Journal of History, Politics and Strategic Studies, 36 . pp. 1-15. ISSN 2180-0251
Sachdev, I. & Bourhis, Richard Y. 2001. Multilingual communication. In The NewHandbook of Language and Social Psychology. P. Robinson. & H. Giles eds. Chichester & New York: John Wiley.
Sam, David L. & Berry, John W. 2010. Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet, Perspectives on Psychological Science 5(4). 472
Sarjit S. Gill .2001. Perkahwinan campur peranakan Punjabi di Sabah. Sari, 19, 189-203.
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove. 2000. Linguistic Genocide in Education or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Tajfel, Henri. .1974. Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Social Science Information. 11: 65–93.
Tajfel, Henri.1982. Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Reviews of Psychology. 33:1–39.
Tan, Chee. Beng. 1988. Nation-building and being Chinese in a southeast Asian state: Malaysia, In Changing Identities of the Southeast Asian Chinese since World War II. J. W. Cushman & G. Wang ed. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 139-164.
Tan, Chee. Beng. 1993. Chinese Peranakan Heritage in Malaysia and Singapore. Kuala Lumpur: Fajar Bakti.
Teo Kok Seong. 2003. The Peranakan Chinese of Kelantan: a study of the cultural, language and communication of an assimilated group in Malaysia. London: ASEAN Academic Press.
Titiev, Mischa. 1958. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York: Henry Holt and Co.
Van Dijk, Teun A. 1998. Ideology: A multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage Publications.
Weichold, Karina. 2010. Introduction to Mobility, Migration and Acculturation. International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development. 2. 58.
Winthrop, Robert H. 1991. Dictionary of Concepts in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Greenwood.
Published
2015-02-08
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 https://researth.iars.info/index.php/curie/article/view/43