ABSTRACT

The Chinese in Malaysia constitute an ethnic minority of diasporic origin formed by several waves of migrants and their descendants; therefore, they are often confronted with the issue of identity and the notion of home. While Chinese Malaysian identity is shaped through interethnic and intraethnic interaction, the idea of home can be connected to the place of origin (China) and/or the place of residence (Malaysia). By employing the concepts of sojourner (Siu), middleman (Bonacich) and settler (Uriely), this paper examines how ethnic Chinese characters in two Sinophone Malaysian short stories frame their identity and construct their conception of home. Through close readings of “Jun zi guxiang lai” (君自故鄉來), by Shang Wanyun (商晚筠), and “Dage kuankuan zoulai” (大哥款款走來), by Li Kaixuan (李開璇), three interconnected issues are explored: the relation of the Chinese Malaysian subject to China, the representation of China, and how these two authors approach the construction of the Self when the Other is constituted by the mainland Chinese.

KEYWORDS: Sinophone Malaysian Literature, Shang Wanyun, Li Kaixuan, Chinese diaspora, representation of China, Chinese Malaysian identity