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Baba-nonya

Baba was up until about the time of the Second World War the common name used by most people in the former Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore to refer to the menfolk of the Straits Chinese community. Nonya was the term used to refer to the womenfolk, and Baba-nonyas was the general term for referring collectively to the babas and the nonyas. Since the Straits Chinese were descendants of Chinese immigrants who first came to Malacca during the closing decades of the 14th century, it was customary to distinguish between them, the Straits-born Chinese and later immigrants, itinerant traders who did not settle down in Malacca. The Malay equivalent for Straits-born was "peranakan". (Auth.: Ho Ming Wang)

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