Journal of Social Sciences

THAI LITERATURES REFLECTING CHINESE IDENTITY IN THAI SOCIETY

Suchawadee Kesmanee

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2013.136.145

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 9, Issue 4

Pages 136-145

Abstract

Literatures present the picture of people’s lives in the society in details. There have been numerous studies on Chinese-Thai literatures but none of them has an in-depth study on the Chinese identity. This study has been conducted due to personal interest to analyze the authors’ effort to present the Chinese identity through the characters, contents and social contexts. The data were collected from Thai novels and documentaries dated between 1957 and 2007 of which main characters, content and context were related to the Chinese residing in Thailand. Data collected had been inspected, classified, analyzed and composed. It was found that the Thai literatures could possibly represent Chinese identity in Thai society in the areas of the relationship of the family members from being a male-dominated family to a female-accepted one, the conservation of Chinese language to represent the unity of the Chinese community, the importance of the Chinese opera and its struggle to survive in recent times and the existence of Chinese culture and tradition, which are acculturated and assimilated to the Thai culture. From the study of Chinese identity in Thai literature in four aspects: (1) family relationships, system of relatives and surnames; (2) Chinese Language; (3) Performing Arts and (4) Culture and tradition, it was found that no matter how strict the first generations are to the traditions, they cannot resist the cultural assimilation in the next generations, who are descendants of Chinese overseas in Thailand. Since these new generations were born and grew up in Thai culture, which is different from the one of their ancestors, their versions of Chinese traditions were affected by the Thai society, economy and political situations which led to the changes of the old Chinese tradition and even result in the loss of some tradition.

Copyright

© 2013 Suchawadee Kesmanee. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.