Due to the increasing need of materials, trading, and labors during the industrial revolution in the 19th century, westerners started to relocate to the east. The recurrence of colonialism hence began the mergence and conflict of both western and eastern culture in the eastern land especially in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region. This article focuses on the writings by the Vietnamese ambassadors and Singaporean/Malayan scholars during their journey to the SEA to further understand the political, social, and cultural relationships between Europe and SEA. In the year of 1830s to 1860s, Vietnamese ambassadors were frequently directed to every SEA country for military and trading purposes. Therefore, the writings and poems throughout their journey became some good documentaries about the local cultures, colonization, and the Chinese workers. Coincidently, the culture and living condition of the Chinese in Vietnam were also well recorded by Chen Shen-Tang, a Singaporean/Malayan scholar who stayed in Vietnam for years, e.g. “The journey to Vietnam” which is also one of the earliest Chinese literatures written in details. These documents are not just a record of their journey. They are currently important information that reflects the society in the past from different perspective; especially on the geographical and cultural interaction between Vietnam and Singapore/Malaya.
Chai Yeun Ku, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
Stream: Literature - Travel Writing
This paper is part of the LibrAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
View / Download the full paper in a new tab/window