HOKKIEN ETHNOCULTURE OF THE JETTY PEOPLE

A revised version of a final report of fieldwork

given to the Pacific Cultural Foundation.

 

By Hugh M. Lewis

Abstract

 


Table of Contents

Introduction: Chinese Ethnoculture

The Nanyang Chinese

The Jetty Chinese

An Ethnocultural Model of the Overseas Chinese Family and Kinship

Malaysian Ethnocultures and the Chinese-Malay Dilemma

Symbolic Framing and Ethnocultural Gestalt

 


Copyright 2000 by Hugh M. Lewis

(Portions of this text may be printed and copied for professional research purposes and for class-room use only)

Copyright 2000 by Hugh M. Lewis
02/19/00

This is another e-publication

By

Lewis Publishing

For further information or queries about e-publishing, please contact

Lewis Publishing

 

 

 


ABSTRACT

A proletariat clan-based community of Hokkien Chinese who live over the tide-water is described in relation to the larger ethnocultural context of Malaysian society as this is articulated in the city of Georgetown on Penang Island, Malaysia. A basic model of patrilineal kinship is central to the cultural ethos and values of these people, and functionally serves their interests in gaining a living, having a family, maintainence of health and achievement of good fortune in life. This model, and its symbolic extensions in the broader social context, were systematically analyzed by means of primarily linguistic symbolic framing tasks. Cross-cultural comparison of English, American and Chinese samples of these symbolic framing tasks shows important similarities as well as clear cut and significant differences of response patterning which are held in theory reflect fundamental symbolic differences of cultural psychological organization.

 

 


Introduction: Chinese Ethnoculture

Ethnoculture is my designation for the distinctive, culturally-based identity of a corporate community of people existing in a common time and place, that is defined both socially in relation to other groupings, and historically in terms of its origin, development and direction, in terms which are emically salient for the people who are so defined.

I have sought to empirically study Hokkien ethnoculture through the psycho-cultural patterning of the jetty Chinese in terms of the symbolic articulation of reality their culture demonstrates within real world contexts. I further examine related notions of symbolic framing and cultural gestalt as principle mechanisms and expressions of ethnoculture.

Cultural gestalt is the distinctive pattern of characteristics, including mental attitudes, affective dispositions, perceptions, language, systems of belief, value, knowledge, technology, customs, arts, styles of social interaction, sanctions, roles, behavior, habits of dress, tastes and eating habits, material and symbolic artifacts and relations with an environmental context, shared by an ethnoculture. It is defined both internally by shared cognitive structures of mind and externally in social relations and in reference with other people and groups.

Symbolic framing constitutes a general theory about human cultural phenomena. Ethnoculture from this standpoint is the gestalt of symbolic connections between external social-environmental relations and internalized mental representations of these relations, and the consequent behavioral, emotional and social patterning which represent ordered responses to these relations.

Ethnoculture takes shape, has reference to and is always "situated" within a larger nexus of historical, social and environmental relations. Ethnoculture comes to define itself socially through processes of interpersonal objectification (i.e., the social construction of reality, more specifically, the reification of a common stock of knowledge and implicitly embedded sanctions ordering behavior. [Berger & Luckmann, 1967]) at several levels (familial, locally, ethnically, regionally, nationally) in terms of a shared corporate sense of community that is larger than life. At the same time, ethnoculture comes to express itself psychologically in terms of individual identity through processes of subjectification involving internalization and identification with group values and norms, encompassing a distinctive profile of shared traits, range of behaviors and symbolic orientations, rationalizations, attitudes and motivations. The collective sharing of a suite of traits, and its sanctioning, reinforcement and reification as if natural and given, both socially and psychologically, constitutes the cultural foundation of our reality.

 


 

The Nanyang Chinese

People in Southeast Asia have probably been living over the inter-tidal zone for thousands of years. Such a mode of habitation may actually be one of the earliest community adaptations in the region, and is now a widely shared trait among different fishing communities throughout the region. Southeast Asia is culturally very old, diverse and heterogeneous, yet has long been regionally coherent. Regional integration probably proceeded long ago founded upon a common cultural adaptation to waterways.

The presence of the petty, part-time trader and the full-time, long-distance merchant middleman has played a pivotal role in the economic integration of the region. The role of the early trader, pioneer and entrepreneur, as the early forerunner of the modern capitalist, and the relationship of the trader with the role of religion in the interregional integration of Southeast Asia, needs to be given the credit due.

Within this regional context of maritime Southeast Asia, we must understand the importance of the Chinese "Nanyang" or "Southern Sea" in the common cultural framework of the overseas Chinese, who with their distinctive communities can be found all over the world. Present in every Southeast Asian nation, their heritage in Southeast Asia is very old, and they have long been integral to the entire region's historical development and integration (Salmon 1981: 260-275).

The principle characteristic and enduring feature of the Nanyang has been predominant economic orientation--an orientation that has come to ethno-culturally characterize (often negatively) the overseas Chinese. This stereotypical economic preoccupation of the Nanyang Chinese can be best understood in terms of their regional inter-positionality as an entrepreneurial class of merchant-middlemen mediating the relations within the "dual economies" of the local native context and the larger regional/global market economy.

Their place in the regional development of the Southeast Asian context has been pivotal, existing for purposes of social stability and for buffering of conflict-laden tensions between core and periphery, elite and masses. They are bought off from the top, and become the scapegoats for tension from the bottom. They are therefore caught in a dilemma of "double-identity" with their ethnicity defined by the very same structural processes and positions that threaten that identity.

The Nanyang Chinese have been noteworthy for their characteristic failure to achieve the "community closure" deemed prerequisite to their ethnic political-economic mobilization. This is only in part due to their intermediate status within a host society and their lack of political-geographic autonomy.

The larger the Chinese minority, the more divisive and complex its internal organization became, and the more problematic its potential for unity of action. Sub-ethnic distinctions between different Chinese communities undermined such possibilities and prevented the formation of a genuinely pan-ethnic "Chineseness"--a stereotype more apparent from the outside than the inside. "Indeed, the more they try to express their 'Chineseness', the more divisive they become" (Siaw 1981:402).

Judith Strauch (1981:239) makes the point that the Overseas Chinese social organization is based upon a form that incorporates ethnicity as a central principle--"the principle for segmentary opposition of subethnic categories." Identity becomes stratified at several oppositional levels, national, ethnic and sub-ethnic. Distinctions also come to be made on the basis of lineage or clan identity. Though identity with ancestral homeland may have become quite attenuated, the Chinese never severed ties from the homeland or their identification with their ancestors' native place, but rather added more levels with each successive move (Strauch 1981:240).

Within the colonial framework of a plural society, immigrant Chinese communities were divided along sub-ethnic lines in both cooperation and competition--sub-ethnic identity delimited the field of opportunities and actions open to the immigrant. Although internal class distinctions existed, these were of far less significance in daily life than ethnic solidarity (Strauch 1981:242-5).

The recently published study by Wang Tai Peng (1994) asserts the independent development of the kong si system (Hokkien term usually denoting a clan-based firm partnership or business organization) among sea merchants and miners, as a distinctive form of Chinese democratic institution involved in both business and public administration and founded upon the principles of brotherhood and partnership. The kong si system, especially the form which emerged in the Southeast Asian setting, constituted an important cultural institution of the Overseas Chinese.

Such a system depended upon establishment of trade and exchange relations and partnerships based upon an Chinese ethos of reciprocal trust and the notion of "dependability" (Barton 1983:53). Crosscutting ties of dialect, lineage, village association, tended to reinforce these bonds, but even more importantly, kinship ties were the best available means of cementing a dependable network.

The economic orientation of the overseas Chinese, which the non-Chinese often interpret as a negative stereotype, is the cultural expression of the positive primacy of the goal and achievement of socioeconomic success and status in life. The aspects that drive the Chinese social structure are several: the fierce competition from below, the face-to-face system of interpersonal relations upon which class boundaries become defined and negotiated, and the verticality of class asymmetries in which those who are more fortunate treat with uncharitable disdain those without, while those without are left pretty much unaided. But it is the very openness of this system that virtually guarantees that while the hard working children of the poor will become rich, improvident children of the rich can squander away their parent's wealth.

It is inadequate to merely discuss models of Chinese society without also discussing particular patterns associated with Chinese mobility within the system--these include an ethnocultural emphasis upon early socio-economic achievement, familial interdependence, entrepreneurship, risk-taking, education and its practical payoffs, and the respect for authority. There are unevenly available to most overseas Chinese certain mechanisms for achieving mobility within Chinese society--these include geographic mobility, resource diversification, familial organization and mobility, education, marriage, and paralegal involvement in gambling, drugs, prostitution or other profitable activities. The overall patterning of mobility is mixed, with individuals and families commonly pursuing, or failing to pursue, several different strategies at the same time. Geographic, familial, marital, individual entrepreneurship and resource diversification may be occuring, with varying degrees of success, at the same moment within a family.

But the stereotype of the pattern of upward and downward mobility within a generation belies a more stable class system operating within overseas Chinese Society which can be characterized by several facets: 1. the appropriation and conspicuous consumption of status symbols and prestige by those who can afford them; 2. the cultivation of a haute value culture among the wealthy Chinese; 3. attitudes of paternalism and condescension toward the poor by the wealthy; 4. the cultivation of connections in marriage and business between families of wealth which provides unusual screens of opportunity and support networks for offspring; 5. a system of giving or saving face which is socially asymmetrical according to perceived class differences based upon obvious or conspicuous markers of identity.

Not giving face to poor people by rich people can be interpreted as both a statement of innate and social superiority of the rich over the poor. It is also a way for the rich "saving face" in relation to the poor, in which context "giving face" would represent a compromise and symmetry of status.

What makes the middle class Chinese interesting is that the primary mechanism of mobility which characterizes this class is that of familial mobility--such that the family works together to promote their socio-economic status and position within the social system. Familial mobility seems most salient among the middle classes, and among the shop houses one can find entire families self-enclosed within little shop-worlds, working six or seven days a week, pooling energies and resources under the direction of a single patriarch or matriarch.

For a lower working class household to achieve mobility into a middle class position, the family must at some point organize itself into a successful working unit, and pool resources together. Hawking is a major avenue for such mobility, and sons acquiring skills which enable them to begin a business of their own or education in order to achieve a better job in the wider market becomes a means for that family to work its way up the social success ladder. It stands to reason that working class poor families that fail to rise must be for some combination of reasons unable to organize themselves as familial production units, or, if they do, fail to extend themselves enough in order to access the opportunities or resources of a wider market economy. On the other end of the social spectrum, the subsequent downward mobility of families may be the result of the family, once organized for productivity, falling apart. Separation under one roof ends up in actual physical separation of the households of the sons and their families.

Important in understanding the pattern of failure to achieve upward mobility, or the occurrence of radical downward mobility, within a system in which one's social identity and status is so completely tied to one's socio-economic success, is the pattern of spoiling of children into adulthood by parents who, it seems, may be using their own children as dependency objects for their own psychological insecurities in life. Parents in a world defined by filial piety can come to depend upon and live vicariously through their children, but in a way that may become stifling and suffocating for the children. It is not uncommon to find middle-aged adults failing to realize socially or economically their own life because of the incessant demands of their mothers and fathers.

Francis Hsu refers to an "oral" pattern of socialization which distinguishes the indulgences and subsequent corruption of the children of the wealthy and the privations and frequent rising of the children of the poor. Wealthy parents unconsciously consider their children's leisure and gratification as indicative of their own prestige and prosperity. Children may be raised in very strict, paternalistic and authoritarian regimes, but be "free from restraint with regard to food" (Hsu 1967:279-80). Hsu; compares two alternative and clearly contraposed "status personality configurations;" that are the result of these factors. Poor children grow up hard working, while the children of the rich grow up "to firmly believe that whatever they desire in life will be forthcoming to them simply for the asking or the taking" (Hsu, 1967:270-80).

It may be a sociological blunder to tightly correlate these patterns of oral socialization and personality with wealthy and poor classes per se, as many poor exhibit the same negative patterns, and many wealthy do not. Rather, they may be patterns which may more accurately be associated with tendencies of mobility within the society, a society that is open and achievement oriented. All Chinese are, by cultural definition, subject to the same types of "oral dilemma"--the consequences of this are perhaps more conspicuous when wealthy children become poor than when poor children remain poor.

Children of poor parents who are locked into this pattern are allowed a great deal of license and social freedom. They are allowed to spend petty cash freely on a daily basis, to buy food, drinks, candy or little trinkets whenever they wish. For lazy parents, it is the most effective means they have of placating and controlling their children at least effort to themselves.

Thus, such children grow up incapable of building their own or adding to the kinds of fortunes their fathers may already have amassed. In this regard, we must highlight the basic psycho-social isomorphism between the patterns and personality of the wealthy and of the poor, and distinguish this against the patterns most apparent in the middle classes. The basic dilemmas and patterns keeping the poor and resulting in downward generational mobility for the wealthy may therefore be basically similar.

The patterns characteristic of the upwardly mobile are the strong familial orientation that defines familial relations largely in terms of socio-economic productivity. Frugality, thrift, stinginess, withdrawal of love, and conditionality of the parent's love to the correct behavior of the child, an early education in the work ethic of children, and a command of filial piety and respect which is extended outward socially to encompass a wider range of social relations.

The key characteristics of the successful Chinese businessman are friendly, face-to-face interpersonal business relations, extreme thrift and frugality, willingness to work long hours at low returns, a flexibility and willingness to meet all demands, and a basic dependability to get the job done both in the correct way and on time. There appears to be a critical moment in the biographical profile of the entrepreneur in which the he strikes out on his own, so to speak, to achieve a kind of independence which is the precursor of success (Chan and Chian 1994).

In short, the successful Chinese businessman is willing to exchange hard work for small profits, and will exchange short-term costs for long term gains. On the other hand, unsuccessful businesses are marked by the proclivity to opt for short-term gains in taking unfair advantage of immediate situations, but as often as not at the expense of long-term loss.

In this regard, it must be emphasized that not all Chinese businesses are successful, and that for every success, there are multiple failures. At any one time, most of the businesses and business interactions may be characterized by the Chinese attempting to take immediate advantage for a small profit, in the process trading off the promise for future, long term gains.

Different studies link Overseas Chinese economic success as a "trading minority," their confucian cultural ethos of filial piety, their family orientation, religious orientation and identity (Berger, 1988; Jaman 1994), and Overseas Chinese ethnocultural pattern can be best described by the central importance placed upon the family and familial relations--the cosmological universe of the Chinese pantheon of spirits and deities is the direct symbolic extension of the core and extended possibilities of familial relationship. The deities and their unique personalities represent symbolically different aspects or facets of possibility of the Chinese personality, and hence serve as role models, or rather as guides, in defining appropriate or inappropriate behavior within the familial context. By extension we may also say that the Chinese personality and sense of self is also symbolically represented within a familial context, as a microcosm of possible familial relations in the battle of yin and yang elements. The filial ethnoculture of the Chinese is marked by an ethos of filial piety, or of respect for parents which translates into a continuing sense of duty, obligation and attachment to the parents well into adulthood. This filial ethnoculture should in theory become extended to a respect for social authority in the larger society.

Psychological status identity of the Chinese can thus be said to be "filial-centric" in orientation. Inherent in this familial model of the Chinese cultural universe is the relationship between the mother and the father, which is itself cooperative-competitive, and the cooperative-competitive relationship among siblings. Understanding the central importance of family and being filial in Chinese culture leads to a basic question about the cultural patterning of overseas Chinese religion which may result in a distinctive "Chinese-spirit" of capitalism.

In relation to ones parents, and, by extension, to the Gods of heaven, ones social context is always defined by two basic elements: the conditionality and uncontrollability of love. In the family and in the universe, love and security are never unconditional, but always relative to the quality of ones own or ones family's behavior.

No one can be sure of the continued love and devotion of the spirits of Heaven, who are fundamentally fickle and unpredictable within the stereotypical molds set down for them, just as one can never be guaranteed whether there will be continued love or support of the parents. The primary indication of one's favor with one's parents (and ancestors and spirits of heaven) will be found vis-a-vis ones status relation with other siblings (and neighbors and compeers). At some point the sibling relationship becomes no longer cooperative, but competitive--just as extended family households fission after the third generation, and just as wider community groupings organize themselves and split along the lines of surname, clan, etc.

Thus the Chinese may well face an inherent sense of existential ambiguity, one that is not only structurally defined within an alien, and therefore inherently conflicting context, but one that is also culturally instilled from a very early age. Chinese can never be absolutely sure of the love and rewards of their parent-gods, but can continuously manipulate their contexts in ways that will result in good fortune. They can continue to work as if they had the favor and good fortune of their ancestors, and success in this life vis-a-vis their competitors becomes a sure sign of such success.

Chinese-style capitalism might be considered unique in history and distinctive to the overseas Chinese who developed a merchant-middleman culture and community.

It is characterized thus: by its familial-based organization; by the development of a democratically oriented kong si system; by the rise of a middle-class of merchant middlemen/sojourning entrepreneurs who, driven by poverty, were keen to make the most of where ever they go; by the pattern of credit, money-lending, investment and share-holding characteristic of Chinese businessmen; by labor intensive handicraft and cottage industry, and by the premiums paid to achievement and risk-taking in all areas of business, from primary production or resource exploitation, the processing or manufacturing, distribution and wholesaling, and to retailing and repair.

The Overseas Chinese are extremely practical and worldly in orientation. Their religion shares in the extreme practicality of their basic cultural orientation, as patterns of worship and ritual propitiation are incorporated into daily patterns of living, and explained in such basic ways, as to seem integral with everything else the Chinese does. When Chinese pray for fortune--they are not praying for an abstract notion of fortune--but for economic success ("money coming in"). It is a matter of action rather than abstraction.

Chinese have coined an especially fitting appellation for themselves because of their opportunistic, status-conscious and stingy qualities. They refer to themselves as being "money-faced," an orientation to life in which one defines ones principle relations with others in the world primarily, or even almost exclusively, in terms of money to be made or lost. As one Chinese businessman told me when talking about politics, for "the Chinese there is only the money party."

A "money-faced" orientation does point up an important facet of Chinese culture that is more visible from without than within. When Chinese become so preoccupied with making money as a focal part of their culture and when money becomes the principle medium and sign of their status and security in life, it nearly precludes every other possible relationship they might have with the world.

Thus the overseas Chinese pursue the making of money as they might a religion, because, in a very practical and symbolic way, it is their religion. Overseas Chinese culture therefore strongly reinforces an orientation that is centered on the achievement of status, or what is called "action," principally by making of money.

"Action" is what Chinese call being "proud" or putting on airs and is tied to status markers such as dress, cars, and associations. It can be regarded as the symbolic expression of what Max Weber referred to as the critical "market moment" which demonstrates class advantage.

It would be wrong to either consider that the "money-faced" orientation is characteristic of all Chinese, or that it is necessarily a completely negative orientation, or that there are not other equally important facets of Chinese ethnoculture that deserve mention. Many Chinese are not only poor money-handlers, but do not value money as the end-all of life. Being "money-faced" in a less extreme form is actually quite an adaptive and achievement oriented cultural expression which demands respect.

Action is achieved primarily through patterns of childhood socialization and secondly through interpersonal social relations and social manipulation of status. It is apparent that culturally speaking, having money and those status-symbols of "action" which only money can buy, fancy jewelry, clothes, a nice car, a big, luxurious home, etc., more often than not serve as principle indicators of ones social identity and sure signs of good fortune from Heaven.

 


 

The Jetty Chinese

 

This is a descriptive study of a clan (surname) organized Hokkien Chinese community which is situated in the "clan jetty" area of downtown Georgetown on Penang. These Chinese are proletariat and lower working class, and are associated with the poor "foundry" side of town, compared to the more prosperous shop house Chinese of downtown area. Stereotypes are that they are rough, crude and involved with gangs.

Within the framework of the Hokkien world, ethnocultural patterns of health, labor, diet, social relations and religion are inextricably bound up with one another. A clan organized community consists of an arrangement of persons that serves the attainment of legitimate social and personal ends--"the gaining of a livelihood, the setting up of a family and the preservation of health and well-being" (Fortes, 1953:170). Maintaining harmony and balance by a continual round of propitiation of the tutelary Gods which look over and protect their community ensures their continued survival, fortune and identity as a people in a larger uncertain world. A number of dimensions (migration and settlement, population and physical environment, work and wealth, openness, health, diet, fishing, children, social patterning and religious rituals and beliefs) emerged as empirically important to the analytical description of this community.

The jetty area is situated along the edge of the inland part of the sea where Penang Island faces the mainland about a mile across. In this calm, wave-free side, poor immigrant Chinese settled three and four generations ago and built their homes on stilts over the inter-tidal zone. Their ancestor's came from small coastal communities in Fukien province, where they were mostly fisherman and gatherers of oysters. A few of the men have returned to these ancestral villages to find there the same Gods that are worshipped in their own temple. The deity that sits in the temple now was brought from the same village in the Chinese homeland. The homes in China were not built upon stilts--that is a Southeast Asian adaptation. They were situated close to the coast but not over it.

These communities are inter-linked to one another by ties of intermarriage, as well as to several other small Chinese fishing communities on the mainland, from which many of the wives come, but to which few if any husbands ever go. These communities are described as situated on small islands or at the edge of river mouths, are relatively closed, backward and full of mosquitoes.

The settlement pattern of the jetty community must be seen against a broader background of patterns of Chinese emigration to Malaysia and within Malaysia itself. There was steady immigration to Penang since the founding of the Jetty community, which probably occurred just over one hundred years ago.

The community that we worked in most intensively is the largest of seven such communities, comprising approximately 76 homes. We also worked in the next-door neighbor jetty community which was one of the smallest, comprising only about 11 homes. Among all the communities of the Jetty, there are basic cultural affinities of religion, manner of living, values and community ethos, especially between the first and the second largest Jetty, comprising about 34 households, and the three smaller jetties, comprising approximately 22, 20 and 4-7 homes respectively. Basic cultural affinities belie many important and interesting variations between these communities. They are distinguishable in terms of relative apparent affluence, organization, work, community practices and social patterns.

Altogether the Jetty communities are comprised of between 173 and 190 homes, and well over two hundred when the houses situated on shore are included. Of these, we managed to interview families in about 70 plus homes-- a third of the total number of households. There are actually many more families than this within the community, because many houses actually have multiple families living under one roof. It is impossible to estimate the total number of families, except that it may approach over 300.

On the Jetty where we worked, the official head count from the clan secretary was 876 persons. The results of our survey indicate an approximate number of about 773 persons (plus or minus 25) distributed among some 70 families and in about 65-7 houses. The average household size was about 11 persons, with a median of eight and a mode of four. If we add to this number the ten or so households which were not available for interviewing, of which two were vacant and one had only two people, this would make an approximate total population of 860 persons plus or minus 30, which agrees well with the secretary's official count.

There are 80 homes on the Jetty. Most of these homes are irregularly rectangular in shape with about a one to five width-to-length ratio. They are separated by an unfloored alley space which allow sea breezes to pass between the wooden walls and to cool the homes down, with an average space of about four feet and three inches between houses, ranging between no space to over eight feet apart.

Typically, there is a short porch on the front of the house extending about five-and-a-half to six feet. Houses vary in width from about 12 feet to over 18 and a half feet wide, with an average width of about 15 feet. At least two houses reaches a width of about 24 feet and at least two are only just over nine feet in width. The average length of the main

structure and living area of the homes measured is about 54 feet, though this varies considerably, with several homes only about 16 to 20 feet and a few measuring over 88 feet in length. If we multiply the average width by the average length of the living spaces of the houses, we have a rough estimate of about 810 square feet per household on average, and a total of about 64,800 square feet for the whole jetty community.

If we divide this household average by the estimated 11 average persons, we get an average of 73.64 square feet per person. For the total estimated 773 persons we have an average of about 83.83 square feet per person over the entire Jetty, not including the gangways, alleys, porches, and back deck extensions which are of considerable area.

The average number of bedrooms of those houses counted was 4.67, with five being a better estimate for the whole average bedroom area is roughly estimated to be between 27.7 and 37 square feet in area, or slightly more than half of the revised area per person. This translates into a sleeping area in 5 X 1 proportions of about 27.8 square feet. Actually most bedrooms are square in shape, and are probably a little larger than this estimate, being roughly about 7 X 6 (42 square feet) in area. This means that the individual's area of the household is shared pretty evenly between the bedrooms, and the rest of the house, including the kitchen and the two halls, and the back deck area with the toilet and shower. It is also probably the case that there are about two people per bedroom. It seems that few people sleep in their own bedrooms, but usually share sleeping arrangements. There is then a premium on bedroom and sleeping space in these households, which may become critically short when houses are crowded.

The rooms to be added on are bedrooms, and several homes have built upward second floor spaces, usually small bedrooms, which extend the area a little more. Sometimes small bedrooms are built as extensions of the house on the back decks. This lack of private sleeping arrangements is indicative of the overall lack of privacy by the individual--privacy is, after all, a western luxury. Many people can be found sleeping on the floors or in hammocks during all hours of the day. The lack of privacy does not necessarily translate into a basic insecurity. There are apparently few thefts on the Jetty, besides young children taking their mum's money to buy candy or gamble with. Most doors are keep wide open during the day, and people known to the community traverse in and out of houses constantly. Bedroom doors are more secure and kept locked, as are cupboard and cabinet doors.

There are numerous immediate behavioral settings that occur simultaneously in different spots across the Jetty, and individuals move casually and relatively unrestricted between these different settings in the course of the day. Children especially roam freely between these alternate settings. Space is so partitioned that what is occurring in one such context may be completely unknown to those occupying another, virtually adjacent space just a few feet away. Networks and intra-communal schisms of neighbors no doubt determine who affiliates with what network upon the Jetty, but the complexity of this pattern defies description. In these settings, one can find the daily rhythms of life on the Jetty which always proceeds at a relaxed pace in the heat. On hot days people tend to remain indoors more, but come out in the evenings to sit on their front porches to talk and cool off.

The homes on the Jetty are made of wood, as is the entire deck. Wood is also at a premium, and drift wood is frequently found and recycled onto the Jetty. There is always a demand for new lumber, which becomes a bargaining chip for local politicians. Lumber has grown quite expensive, and not easy to come by. Renovations and extensions of homes upon the Jetty can be quite costly adventures. Recycling and repairing are continuous activities that employ the services of many of the day-working men. The boards of the Jetty grow old and worn with age, and over time they become so contoured at their joints that they may form nice natural seams between the planks that follow the overall twists and turns of the walkways.

People on the Jetty enjoy a relatively good quality of life, despite the incessant heat alleviated only by the sea breezes that rarely penetrate the center of the Jetty. They mostly do not live in fear of their neighbors, and their doors are always open. People have lived in the same house for generations now, and the rhythms of their daily lives are not unlike the rhythms of the tides that wash beneath their feet.

These communities are largely proletarian Chinese who are day laborers, stevedores factory workers, hawkers, unskilled or semi-skilled laborers, sampan drivers, fishermen, and people who work on boats in one capacity or another. A few have set up small businesses, and many of the grown up children have found jobs outside of Penang.

The results of our survey indicate the following distribution of work with the largest of the Jetty communities. About 318 people reportedly worked from a total of 773 people. Of a sample of 68 households, the most frequent category consists of "odd jobs" (33 households, 42.6%) which is mostly reported by men and involve the off loading of the ships on an irregular basis, construction, repair work around the Jetty and on boats. The income from this manner of unskilled work is relatively low and irregular. Workers will earn an average of RM $.40 per crates moved off the ships. They work intermittently and may move up to 700-900 crates per container.

The second most frequent category cited was that "factory" worker (30 households, 44%). The actual number of factory workers is higher, because the number conflates the total per household thus employed. Since most people employed in factories are women, it can be said that women may be the largest single constituent of the labor force of the Jetty. The average factory worker salary begins around RM. $ 8.00 (U.S. $3.20) per day and goes up to RM. $15.00.

The third most frequent form of work cited is that of manual laborer, or "wage earner" or "employed by others" (12 households, 17.6%) which implies a low, but more regular income than that of "odd jobs." The fourth most frequent categories are those self-employed in petty businesses and those who are employed more regularly as stevedores (11 households in each category, or 16%).

The fifth most frequent category consists of hawking (nine households, or 13%), including hawking of food proximal to the Jetty, at morning markets, and clothes at the "pasar malams." The next category is a general "clerical" one (seven households, 10%) and seamstresses who do sewing (six households, 9%) and men who are lorry drivers (six households, 9%). We interviewed several of these seamstresses, all women, who worked at a small sweat operation nearby the Jetty. They earn by the number of pieces they can sew, on the order of RM $.04 per piece (U.S. 1.5 cents per piece) sewn and work about 12 hour days (earning about RM $8.00 per day). The last major category is that of fisherman (four households, 5.8%) which is a part-time occupation of quite a few men of the Jetty and represents an important source of protein for the entire community. A fisherman told me that on a good day he can bring in as much as RM $50 to RM $100 ringgit of fish, but that was rare.

Two separate groups of women on the Jetty from several households combine their efforts in the morning to peel and cut garlic for distribution to local hawkers and restaurants. They earn about RM. $.50 (U.S. 20 cents) per kilo, and finish about 20 kilos in a day. It takes a group of three or four women about several hours to finish this much, and it is a setting for gossip and mutual support.

The number of appliances in the household serves as a relative measure of the real wealth and income of families and it demonstrates the relative level of affluence of the Jetty, as well as some important changes in patterns and the distribution of income within the community itself. The average number of appliances per household on the Jetty was 7.8 with a median and mode of seven and a range of 17. These seven or eight appliances are most likely to include two fans, one television, one VCR., one motorcycle, one rice cooker, one refrigerator and maybe one radio.

On the basis of the frequency distributions of the number and types of appliances per household on the Jetty, the following sets of criteria were judged to discriminate the socio-economic distribution of households upon the Jetty:

1. dependence on only a bicycle, four or less appliances, and lack of fans or television, indicating lowest poverty.

2. five or fewer appliances with just one motorcycle is also a indicator of unskilled, semi-employment.

3. more than five appliances and a motorcycle indicates unskilled working class.

4. more than 10 appliances and a car represents a semi-skilled working class

5. possession of more than one car or several motorcycles, along with multiple appliances must be taken as a sign of accumulating wealth.

According to these categories, four of 71 households (5.6%) were at the bottom poverty line. Ten of 71 (14%) were in the second category of unskilled, semi-employed, 28 of 71 households (39.4%) fell into the unskilled working class category, and 26 (36.6%) into the semi-skilled category, while three (4.2%) fell into the category of accumulating wealth (and potential for upward and outward mobility).

This profile of the distribution of real wealth on the Jetty represents a solid unskilled/semi-skilled working class orientation. It also shows a transition occurring in the Jetty in a rise from the unskilled to semi-skilled categories, indicated primarily by the acquisition of cars, a transition which I take to reflect the overall profile of development in Malaysia. The people of the Jetty are therefore relatively poor compared to the other Chinese communities of the downtown shop house area or of the outlying suburbs or flats, and remain only partially incorporated into the larger economy and then mostly only at the lowest rungs. But they might be seen as relatively affluent compared to their more rural Malay or Chinese counterparts. Thus they are in a transitional and "inter-positional status" in more than one way. They retain the rural oriented communalism and habits and community ethos, and yet they are tied into the larger economic system in crosscutting ways.

From the beginning there was a great deal of resistance to outside intrusion, resistance which made fieldwork often trying and sometimes impossible. I cannot presume to know the actual reasons for this marked resistance, as the people who manifested this attitude were never available to be questioned. Beyond the alleged stereotypical "closedness" and clannishness for which Chinatowns all over the world are renowned, there are several important factors in the background of the Jetty which in part explain this strong resistance.

There is a strong local cultural orientation to illegal gambling and betting on numbers. There is some amount of illegal traffic in uninspected, duty-free cargo from off the ships in the harbor. There are several gangs, and, judging from the number of heroin addicts and incidents of police arrests and reports in the newspapers, there are possibly drugs and secret society activities there as well. There is a small amount of evidence of prostitution, perhaps associated with gang activities, but this is not widespread and the Chinese of the Jetty are quite proud of the fact that they do not prostitute their daughters, unlike the Thai people in the north. There are also other skeletons in the closet about which the jetty Chinese are tight-lipped-- incidents of animosity and fighting between neighbors, cheating, theft, and incest.

But this resistance points up another facet of the jetty Chinese--they are quite satisfied with their way of life despite its economic hardships and social frustrations. Many people who have moved off the Jetty regularly return to visit there, and report that they like being there. Women who marry off the Jetty are reported to return regularly too, at least once a week. There is an unusually strong sense of community solidarity that is coupled with a relatively high level of tolerance for deviant behavior on the part of individuals within the community. The jetty Chinese like to take care of their own, indirectly sanctioning behavior by means of ostracism, ridicule, and gossip, and they probably resent the intrusions of outside authorities, whom they do not trust.

In order to analyze the extent and implications of the cultural resistance to my presence there, toward the end of the study I completed two head counts on two separate days of all the people I met upon the Jetty. I sorted these people by sex and by age and by how much they had done for me--nothing, one thing, a couple of things, a few things, and those who would do anything I asked of them.

On the first day, I counted about 221 people outside, over that 128 were males and 93 were females. Of the males, 97 did nothing for me at all, and 31 did one or more tasks for me. Of those males who did nothing for me, 46 were estimated to be over the age of 30 and 36 between the teens and twenties. Of the women, 48 counted had done nothing for me, and 45 counted had done one or more things for me.

On the second day, I had counted a total of 128 people, of which 87 were men and 41 were women. Of the men 61 had done nothing for me and of the women 15 had done nothing while 26 had done at least one task for me. Of the men who had done nothing for me that day, 47 were above 30 years of age.

On both counts, the most salient, highest frequency group was the men between the ages of 30 and 60. The chi square test for significance in a 2 x 2 contingency table for 1 degree of freedom in the first case was over 13, significant over the alpha level of .001, while the same test for the second case was 12.989, also significant over the alpha level of .001. Hence there is a significant correlation between males' unwillingness and females' willingness to perform the tasks.

Of a total of 349 people counted, 222 (64%) had done nothing for me, though most of them had regularly appeared to be available to be interviewed and many of them had been asked repeatedly but always declined. Of those who did perform at least one task for me, a total of 27 did only one task (7.7%), 57 did two or three (16.3%), 21 did a few for me (6%) and only 24 would do almost anything I asked of them (6.6%).

Of this group, men as a whole, and especially those over 30, were significantly more resistant to being interviewed than women of any age. Men of the same age group were also the most available to being interviewed (133, 38.1%), with all males counted comprising 215 of the total (61.6%). The numbers are telling and point up clearly one basic fact. Women were more than twice as helpful as the men. This discrepancy between men and women is corroborated on the basis of participant-observation as well as on the basis of the number of tasks we completed in the community--across the board, more women than men completed more tasks in almost every category.

A way of analyzing the relative openness of the community was through several questions on our household survey pertaining to travel outside of Penang and Malaysia, relatives living outside of Penang and Malaysia, number of Malays and Indians known by the interviewees, languages known by the interviewees, and the amount to which they watch news on television or read the newspaper. Chi square tests for the significance of difference between men and women who know no Malays, or Indians to those who know one or more, indicate that significantly more men know Malays or Indians than women.

In terms of Malays known, the average was 6.7 with a median and mode of 0 and a range of 101. Thirty-nine of a sample of 70 (55.7%) did not know any Malays; 20 indicated under ten (27%); six indicated between 10 and 20 (8.6%); four indicated between 20 and 30 (5.7%); two indicated between 40 and 50 (2.8%); one indicated over 100 and one indicated "a lot" (1.4% each). Two indicated having known Malays from childhood days on the kampong, and one from work.

The average number of Indians known is 3.5, about half the number of Malays reported, with a median and mode of one and a range of 75. Of 70 people, 45 (64%) knew no Indians; 20 knew under ten Indians (28.6%); 2 each knew between 10 and 20, and between 20 and 30 (2.8%) and one each (1.4%) between 30 and 40 and over 50. Three persons indicated knowing Indians from work.

We sought basic physical measurements of height, weight, blood pressure and skin fold. These first interviews served to break the ice within the community. The average height of a sample of 63 men between the ages of 17 and 77 was 166.9 cm., and their average weight was 69.4 kgs. (153 lbs.). The average height of a sample of 61 women between the ages of 16 and 67 was 153.9 cm. and their average weight was 59.4 kgs. (131 lbs.). There is across the board a significant sexual dimorphism between the men and the women.

A male sample of 71 had an average systolic blood pressure reading of 136.5 and an average diastolic reading of 86.3 (average heart rate 78.4). These curves are also positively skewed. Women had a much lower, more normal, average systolic of 128.3 and an average diastolic of 81 (average female heart rate was 79.5). Thus it appears that men have slightly higher average high blood pressure than the females.

The highest significant difference is in the rates of borderline or high blood pressure of men and women above 39 years old, compared to men and women 39 or under, respectively. It appears that: 1. older men have the highest blood pressure compared to younger men; 2. older women have higher blood pressure compared to younger women; 3. older women have a significantly higher rate of systolic blood pressure than older men. This is reinforced by the fact that among the women especially, the lowest blood pressure reading of several was taken.

For men, there is a slight gain in body fat with age, from an average of just above 19%, to about 21%. For women, there is evidence of a much greater increase in body fat with age, until about 60- 65 years of age, after which height, weight and body fat begins to decrease. Among women there is a steady increase of body fat from an average of about 31%, up to about 36.5%. This is almost certainly is correlated with the number of children a woman has had.

For women, it appears that birth control is well understood, even among teenage girls. The two preferred means of contraception are the rhythm method and the pill, with the IUD having been a means among an older age group but no longer preferred for the risks and complications it entails.

One of the questions asked in our survey was whether the interviewee would go first to a Chinese sinseh or to a Western medical doctor. Of 42 women and 28 men asked this (total of 70), the response pattern was overwhelmingly to the western medical doctor first (18 men, 64%, 31 women, 74%, total 70%).

Other patterns were: to see the Western doctor first, and if treatment proved not to be efficacious, then to the Chinese sinseh (two men, 7%, four women, 9.5%, total 8.6%); to go to both equally (one man, 3.5%, six women, 14%, total 10%); to see the Chinese Sinseh first, and then the Western doctor (one man, 3.5%, one woman, 2%, total 2.8%); to seek over the counter medicine from the pharmacies as the first health choice (four men, 14.3%, one woman, 2%, total 8.6%); or to go to the "clinic" which is tantamount to seeking western medicine first (two men, 7%, two women, 4.7%, total 5.7%). One man mentioned the hospital as the second choice to over-the-counter remedies (1.4% of total) and four men mentioned that it depended upon the situation, according to the nature of the illness (14.3% of males, 5.7% of total).

It seems that for both men and women the first health choice is overwhelmingly to seek Western medicine first. But it seems also that the actual course of action in most cases is more of a mixed pattern, in which they typically try to keep all their bases covered at the same time. They may go to the Western doctor first, but if the condition warrants it, they will then also go to a Chinese sinseh, and then sometimes even seek supernatural or magical help. For some conditions, such as sprains, feeling bad, indigestion, aches, a Chinese sinseh is probably the first choice. As one man told me, the Chinese sinseh massages you and touches you, and treats the whole body and gives advice about diet, which Chinese like, while the Western doctor does not touch you, and seems cold and impersonal, not caring about matters of diet.

These statistics may be biased as I suspected that many informants, out of deference to me, were not telling me their actual patterns. Ethnographic observation reveals numerous instances in which the individual actually sought out remedies and cures from the Chinese sinseh before thinking about going to seek a Western Medical doctor.

There appears to have been a relatively high frequency of infant and child mortality on the Jetty (3%) due in part to accidents--drowning, falling off chairs and beds. This rate is especially reported by older women over 40 years of age (60% of those reporting infant deaths). Ten percent of a sample of 100 women reported infant deaths. The average age of 100 women interviewed who had children was 49.5 years with the mode being 34 and the median 45. The average number of children was 4.13, with a mode and median of three. Among a smaller sub-sample of 57 women who had an average age of 45 and had an average of 3.9 children, the average age of marriage was 21.3 years, with a median and mode of 21, and the average age at which they had their first child was 22.6 years. The average difference between age of marriage and first child being 1.3 years.

Among this sub-sample the average number of years of education was 3.3 years. Significantly, most of these women received a Mandarin education compared to an English education (32:3), while 23 were illiterate with no formal education at all (40.4%). Of this sub-sample, 4 smoked (7%) and 10 drank (17%), and 18 worked out of the home (31.6%).

Correlations between age, number of children, age of marriage, age of first child, difference between age of marriage and child and years of education reveal that there is a high positive correlation between age of marriage and age of first child (.98) and between age and number of kids (.72) There are significant negative correlations between level of education and age (-.63), number of children (-.4) and difference between age of marriage and first birth (-.24). There is also a negative correlation between number of children and age of marriage (-3.9) and age of first birth (-.37).

These measures are corroborated with the correlations of the larger sample of 100 in which there is high positive correlation between age and number of children (.7), number of children and death of children (.53) and age and the death of children (0.42).

Of a sample of 47 men, 40 smoked (85%) and seven were nonsmokers (14.8%) and two of these had quit smoking. Of the same sample, 24 reported drinking (51%), of which nine reported drinking only in moderate amounts (19%).

There is a significantly higher than average rate of dental caries among children of the Jetty, who are always eating pure sweets. Skin disorders, especially of the legs, from insect bites and from "scales" that apparent get under the skin to cause permanent scars, burns, broken bones and sprains, and motorcycle accidents seem to be common types of medical problems.

A total of 46 people were interviewed regarding their diet (34 women and 12 men). Everyone eats pork on a regular basis (100%), chicken (42 of 45, 93%), and fish (36 of 46, 78%)-- meats which are mostly purchased at the morning market (42 of 45, or 93%) or else bought ready cooked ( 3 of 45, or 6.7%). To specify pork one must say "pig" or "too" ("too bak"). So when this question was qualified with what kinds of pork, the responses indicate pork (100%), mutton (10 of 46, or 22%, and only in small amounts); chicken (9 of 46, or 19.6%); beef (7 of 46, 15%, only with at least pork and mutton indicated too); and duck (1 of 46, 2%). Two people indicated any kind of meat ("except human", 4%). Thus pork, fish, and chicken are the main protein sources of their diet, supplemented by shellfish, crabs, squid, and token amounts of beef and mutton.

Most of the people do not eat beef, as there is a general cultural prohibition to beef if one is to worship the Goddess of Mercy. When queried on this point, approximately 55 of 78 (70.5%) people answered that they do not eat beef, a couple saying that they used to but quit, while 8 said they ate beef sometimes or rarely (10%) and about 15 indicated they do eat it (19.2%).

The normal diet is supplemented by a number of different protein sources, including squid (35 of 44, 79.5%), crabs (42 of 44, 95.5%), and shellfish (36 of 44, 81.1%). These are mostly taken infrequently--a few times in a week, or in a month. Eggs are also eaten by fewer people, but are more regularly eaten by these people (24 of 44, or 54.5%).

All of these foods, plus the kind of ready cooked pork and that bought in the market, would indicate a relatively high level of cholesterol intake for those people who do not restrict their diet. People who restrict their diet in one way are more likely to restrict dietary intake in other ways as well, as a matter of habit, whereas those without dietary restrictions in some regards are less likely to have such restrictions in any regard.

The other question of significance is the consumption of fast food that comes in two forms. These are: 1. Local hawker food which is taken frequently, almost daily, by most people of the Jetty; and 2. Western-style fast food, which is an infrequent part of most diets (once or twice a month at most) and yet which is nevertheless becoming an increasing part of the dietary pattern.

In regard to Western fast food, 43 of 46 questioned eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken (93.5%, seven of which indicated rarely), 38 of 46 eat at MacDonalds (82.6%, nine of which indicated rarely) and only 12 of 46 eat at Pizza Hut (26%, seven of which indicated rarely). The reported frequency seems to be about once every two or three weeks, and more often for children than for adults.

Hawker food is taken more regularly, almost on a daily basis, and several of the 46 informants indicated they do not cook at all but take all their food outside. This is a very predominant pattern on the Jetty. Of 46 people asked, 26 eat out everyday (56.5%) and four of these eat every meal out, four people eat out once a week, nine eat out two to four times a week, one eats out only rare, one twice a month, and six do not ever eat out. Those who do not eat out much usually shop at the morning market and do their own cooking.

There is an interesting pattern of cooking in homes and selling to the other people of the Jetty. Several households engage in this activity on a regular basis, one house cooking mostly "koay teow tung" (soup) and "mee" (noodles) and another cooking "rumpah hu," (fried fish stuffed with chili paddy), fried rice, "beehoon" (fine noodles), "lor bak" (pork sausage), "chang" (rice dumplings), and other things. Children of all ages are freely given money to buy whatever they may like during the day, and there seem to be few restrictions concerning consumption of candy or coffee by small children.

The pattern of going marketing outside for food is related to the relative frequency and preferences for the morning market and for going to the Western-styled supermarket at the downtown shopping center. Morning marketing is important because it defines a central pattern of "buying back" food and cooking meals on a daily basis. Food thus cooked may constitute the main meal, or else is set out for people to eat during the day. Of a sample of 70, it appears that 37 of the total (53%) either go themselves, or have one member of their household go daily to the market to buy food. Another 23 (33%) indicate that they go weekly (Six once a week, 11 two to three times a week, and six 3 or 4 times a week, about once every other day). Seven (10%) indicate that they go irregularly to the market, frequently because of work, and six (8.5%) indicate they never go to the market, mostly because they do not cook but eat out on a regular basis.

Concerning food beliefs, ethnosemantic elicitations of food categories reveal the following significant components: hot foods, cold foods, intermediate or "temperate" foods which seem to overlap with both "heaty" and "cooling" type foods, "tok" (toxic, or "strong") foods, "cleansing" foods, foods with "hong" (wind).

Mothers do not breast feed their children (37 of 46, or 80% indicate formula only, while 9 of 46, or 19.5% indicate some breast feeding (one for one year, one only for the first child, one for six months, two for one month each, one only the first child for two months). The form of milk infants and children are given is either formula drink or powdered milk (39 of 46, or 85%), or sweetened condensed milk mixed with water, Milo, coffee or tea (5 of 46, or 10.8%).

Of a sample of 48 (36 women and 12 men), four (8.5%) do not take regular meals, none just take one meal a day, eight (all women, 17.4%) take only two meals, 22 take three meals a day (48%, 17 women, five men), seven take four meals in a day, (15%, five women, two men) and four take five or more meals in a day (8.5%, one woman and three men). Of these meals taken, 15 of 46 have no "main" meal (32.6%, 14 women and one man), only two women eat breakfast as a main meal (4%), eight indicate lunch as the main meal (17.4%, four men and four women) and 23 indicate dinner or supper as the main meal (50%, 16 women and seven men).

When asked about morning meals, ten of 47 ate no breakfast. The following items in order of frequency were mentioned: milk (16); mee (noodles, 11); bread (ten); milo (ten); eat out (eight); koay teow (three) eggs; porridge; biscuits; rice (two each); kueh; coffee; sugar; chicken; oats; nasi lemak (one each).

The jetty community is democratically organized. They hold local annual elections for the office bearers for the temple committee, as well as for leadership of the whole clan. All men and women can vote, though only about 60 percent of the adults do vote and most voters are men, according to one well-versed informant. Only clan members can be nominated. Whoever gives donations to the temple can vote in the temple elections. There is a ballot box and people give donations and names are submitted for nomination to office.

There are important differences in patterning between men and women. While women were more than twice as cooperative and responsive to us than the men in almost every aspect of our research, it is also clear that the women are more inbound within the community and less open in attitude toward the outside world. This difference of attitudinal orientation is clearly evident in all the dichotomous tasks that attempted to elicit responses relating to attitudes about authority, sexuality, gender, etc. Women are less worldly in experience and less educated. Most young girls, with a few noteworthy exceptions, are expected not to venture too far from the fold in the quest of a career and a separate, more modern life.

While men are without a doubt the outside breadwinners (discounting the largely invisible female factory workers) women are perhaps the more stable and productive of the two groups. They are the primary caretakers of the children, they are more seriously interested in feeding, clothing and caring for their young and for their homes, and they are the least available for productivity, being more outside of the system than the men and being essentially controlled by the men within a paternalistic Confucian ethos. In controlling the purse strings and avenues of outside income, men are perhaps also the least responsible, siphoning off more of the income for other purposes than the women.

An explanation of this socio-cultural patterning might involve socio-genic stress which is felt differentially between the sexes and which may have different consequences for men and women. The stresses and strains associated with lower class status within the larger society, the low-class status identity, the nature of the physical labor, and lack of opportunity (or screens of opportunity), is probably felt by everyone in the community. Psychological and ethnographic evidence from the tasks suggests that it is felt even by small children at an early age, and is pretty much ingrained by adolescence and the teens.

It is possible that cultural pre-dispositions render the men most vulnerable to these stresses and perhaps least capable of dealing with them. There may be a sense of secondary loss (Dowhrenden & Dowhrenden 1969) suffered by men under such chronic circumstances that may in the long run incapacitate their competencies and motivations to overcome the social obstacles which stand between them and achievement of social success and mobility-- values so prized an ethnic characteristic of Chinese communities all over the world.

Women on the other hand, bound by an ethos which keeps them within the home, may also suffer such stresses, or even more when they must suffer indirectly the stresses of their husbands abuses as well, and yet appear less susceptible to the "secondary loss"

entailed by such stress. Instead, ethnographic evidence of petty entrepreneurship by women suggests that they may even experience positive "secondary gain" which allows them to successfully manage and overcome the stresses and strains of their environment to achieve, if not personal success, but survival for their families. Indeed, numerous examples exist on the Jetty of women as petty traders and hawkers catering mostly to the Jetty community itself.

The men appear thus caught in a vicious cycle that is partially rooted in their own cultural, community ethos and which is partly a consequence of their inferior positioning vis-a-vis the dominant Chinese society. They therefore are more prone to seek secondary outlets for the achievement of identity, solidarity and success outside of the normal framework for such achievement--in gambling, in strong oral patterns of eating, drinking and smoking, in the abuse of children and women, or in other illicit activities. Their behavior is marked by withdrawal from participation within the larger social arenas, and a confinement of the locus of their activities to within the Jetty community itself.

This hypothesis alone is not adequate for explaining the general predicament, orientation or ethos of the jetty Chinese. Other patterns are equally apparent and perhaps equally important. There is a sense of a "diffuse" paternal role model which is either absent, inconspicuous or adulterated by the presence of "uncles," grandfathers, middle aged sons, of older brothers and of mother's brothers who may not even be from the Jetty, who undercut the authority of fathers. Thus there is a noticeable lack of a single, strong, positive male role-figure, but the doubtful presence of many weak, often negative examples. There is also a pattern of the mother/daughter-in-law relation in which the husband as mother's son is situated between two sets of often competing and conflictual interests--cultural ethos demands subservience of the daughter-in-law to the son's (and mother's) demands, and the mother's preference for sons that is also culturally defined.

Most men of the Jetty are hardworking, responsible bread winners for their families. In fact, most men are probably gainfully employed and many women are actually just housewives, and the number of men sitting forever in the coffee shop or young men hanging out gambling is actually only a minority that does not represent the dominant and more stable adult pattern. But this subordinate pattern is nonetheless salient enough within the community not to escape notice, and not to have bearing in the understanding of the community ethos and organization. What the Jetty lacks in money, opportunity, education and material possession, it more than makes up for in communal solidarity and richness of a shared cultural heritage, and it is the description of these rich cultural patterning which makes the Jetty so anthropologically interesting.

From our survey, a .7 correlation exists between the number in the household and the number of workers per household, a .57 correlation between number of children under 18 and the number in the household, a .54 correlation between the number of smokers and the number in the household, a .39 correlation between the number of workers and the number of children under 18, a .5 correlation between the number of workers and the number of smokers, and a -.04 correlation between the number of senior adults over 60 and the number of workers in the household.

From this simple profile an interesting picture emerges of a household which gradually increases in size as sons grow up, go off to work and beginning pooling their resources, gradually marrying and creating an extended family household with grandparents and several brother's families under the same roof. The number of children then begins to rise, at which some point the size of the household peaks out. At this point the grandparents die and the household begins its decomposition as families break apart. There is hidden in this picture another pattern which was ethnographically apparent. This is one of large nuclear family households bringing in young adult boarders who work and contribute to the income, and this can be seen as an alternate strategy of adaptation to the more conventional Chinese pattern.

The problem of household management of people, social relations, space, time and resources also appears to be of central importance in household organization and social patterning. Money for bills, taxes, repairs (anything to do with the house as a whole) needs to be collected and pooled. A key individual, whether a patriarch or matriarch, must be competent and dependable enough to organize in a productive manner the members of the household. It appears that this burden of management may as often fall on the shoulders of a senior woman as upon the patriarch. One example of a large house composed by more than seven households (total over 30 persons), in which both grandparents were deceased. One junior aunt received possession and control of the house because she was single, and who thus became the manageress in charge of the house. She will also be in charge of organizing the daily and annual rituals of ancestor worship such as the death anniversary.

In most of the households (60-70%) on the Jetty, it actually appears that there is a central female figure (or small cliques of related women: i.e., sisters, aunts and nieces, mothers and daughters or daughters-in-law) who manage the household and "make things work." These women appear more active, are frequently involved in petty trade, cooking and selling food on or about the Jetty. If they have husbands, the husband appears to be "standing in the woman's shadow" in a more passive, semi-, underemployed status.

Of the 68 people surveyed in our sample (40 women and 28 men) all but one of the men (96.5%) had the clan name as their surname. Of the forty women interviewed, only five had the clan name as their maiden surname, implying that these five (12.5% of 40) brought men into the Jetty from elsewhere. The surnames represented by the women were, in order of their greatest frequency, Ong (seven), Tan and Lim (five each), Koay and Yeoh (three each), Tow, Ooi and Lee (two each), and one each of the following: Low, Seow, Koh, Ng, Loh, Ang, Soon, Goh, Chiah, Chooi, Lau, Teoh, Chuah. It is significant that at least some of the Ong, Tan, Lim, Yeoh and Lee women came from the other jetties.

Thus the picture this pattern represents is one of women marrying into (87.5%) the husband's father's household, and of a patriarchal community structure--the daughter's-in-law being at somewhat of a disadvantage in their mother-in-law's sons households. This situation became apparent in interviews and informal relations with some of these women on the Jetty, and there was sometimes quite a bit of subsurface friction between the paternal families and the wife's own family. There is one incident of the wife with her two sons being physically ostracized from the husband's family household, to the point of physical violence and abuse, and neglect of the children. Every morning she would have to go to fetch hot water in a flask from the coffee shop to feed her young infant son, even though the mother-in-law's house was right next door.

A lot of people are related to one another, however indirectly (cousins, with some cross-cousin marriage possible, though this is frowned upon), and many people have children in the same households in which they were born. It appears that the most predominant pattern is one of patrilocal residence with the daughter-in-law marrying into the husband's household. There are a few cases of husbands marrying into the wife's household, and this can be understood in terms of the poverty (or other reasons, such as convenience) that contextualizes the relationships of the families as well as in a patrilineal tradition which puts a premium upon sons. It seems that rules of surname exogamy are mostly observed. In other words, most of the people marry off the Jetty, though not always.

Elicitations of terms of address were made, as what to call whom is an important matter in a place where everyone knows everyone else all their lives. There are glosses for uncle and auntie that are extended to senior adults that are not actually one's relatives. There is an indication of "blanket" equality (and perhaps reciprocities) which pretty much extends over the entire Jetty, that is indicated by the common use of "Ah" for names of people ("Ah Heng," "Ah Hoe," "Ah Chong," "Ah Seng"). We have seen older adults scold younger children for mischievous behavior, only to be dressed down properly by the child in rather unambiguous and vulgar language, after which the child runs off. I've never seen an adult punish a child for this stand off of "face."

There is not a great deal of overt aggression between neighbors on the Jetty. A couple of older boys tended to pick on younger boys without great provocation. The history of bickering between families was never a topic open to much discussion with us as outsiders, though some people complain of women who do a lot of gossiping. It appears that labeling people as "siow" or mad on the Jetty is a common, and sometimes useful way, of defining aberrant behavior, and perhaps also of conveniently justifying the continuing mistreatment of these people.

The children of the Jetty turned out in many ways to be our most rewarding and helpful informants, and were often a real pleasure as well. Growth charts constructed of boys and girls 16 years and below reveal a steady increase of both height and weight by both groups until about the age of 12 to 14. During this time the growth of the girls tapers off, especially in height, while weight continues to increase, whereas for the boys after this age there is a continuing growth in both height and weight until full physical maturity.

Of a total of about 168 children (drawn from a total census count of approximately 250 plus or minus 30), the number of the children per household was 3.96, with a mode of two and a median of three and a range of 11. The average age of the total sample of children was 9.7, indicating slightly more children above the age of nine than below. For each age set, between the ages of "under 2" and 18, there was an average of 9.72 children with a median of ten and a mode of seven and a range of 11.

What can be inferred from this is that the kids from the Jetty are growing up with an average age set of 8.7 other kids, plus or minus 4, of which half are likely to be of the same sex. Thus, for each age group of boys and girls, there is a tight clique of four or five kids of similar ages (spanning three years) who share many affinities and mostly likely play and fight together.

Generally, children of opposite sexes do not play together very much, though such behavior does not become sanctioned until after adolescence. This represents a fairly tight

group of boys, especially when the boundaries of age sets overlap in broader periods of several years. The importance of these age groups in influencing the socio-cultural ethos of the Jetty should not be underestimated, as it speaks of the closeness of the bonding which apparently occurs throughout childhood between children of similar age groups, as well as of a social pecking order of older children over younger ones.

Then there is a pattern of extremely strong peer pressure exhibited and exercised in a number of ways. There is in this a sense of a basic social vicariousness of lived and learned experience. The people of the Jetty are commonly using one another as indirect, vicarious sources for their experience of the world, and this pattern speaks of a strong sense of social interdependency among the people of the Jetty. Their lives are often inextricably bound up with one another. This intertwined orientation is manifest in the physical touching and closeness of people of the Jetty, an expression of feeling via physical closeness and body contact which is not verbalized, a pattern which begins in childhood and possibly extends until old age. This closeness of the Jetty people creates a sense of belonging and community solidarity which can effectively exclude non-members on a very basic, affective level.

This pattern is reinforced by group norms and sanctions on the overt expression of intra-communal conflict, and of certain emotions of anger and unhappiness, sanctions reinforced upon children, through gossip and through ritualized expressions. Behavior of individuals, of practically everyone coming within the purview of this community, is judged and sanctioned by these sets of Chinese standards.

One day I asked a teenage girl for the different kinds of feelings she felt. She told me "hua he" (happiness, a good feeling, like getting good results on exams), "beh sio" (sad, bad, being scolded by mother), "kee kong" (angry, losing something), "kin tiong" (nervous, a bad feeling, like waiting for exam results) "chi kek" (frustrated, excited, a good feeling because afterwards it makes you laugh, like being chased by a dog), "siow" (crazy, a bad feeling like you can't find something), and "lang mann" (Mandarin, being romantic, "a good feeling like being in love"). She told me she never felt lonely or homesickness and dared not ever daydream when I asked her these things.

In terms of education, our survey of 84 people indicate that 30 households (35.7%) either had no children of school age or attending school or else neglected to complete the sample. Of the remaining 54 people, 32 (59%) households sent their children exclusively to Mandarin school, while 16 (29.6%) sent their children to English school, 12 (22%) sent kids to both English and Chinese school, two had kids in Kindergarten, two (3.7%) in Malay schools and two remained unidentified.

The predominant preference for traditional Mandarin style education is corroborated by the high positive correlation with the education of a sample of women of which of 91.4% were Mandarin educated. There is also in these statistics a clear indication of significant change of attitude toward a greater preference for English style education among children compared to adults. The chi square test for significance shows that this pattern of change is significant above the 0.01 level.

There is yet another pattern that is quite apparent on the Jetty, and this involves the caning and physical punishment of children by parents and scolding by non-parents. Children are caned as a matter of routine, and the threat of the cane is the primary means of controlling a child's errant behavior. An example of this taken from my notes involves a young boy with some physical problems who was left momentarily outside the house while the mother went back inside. The boy ran toward a group of women and then stopped and picked up a crumb on the boards and put it in his mouth. We told him not to eat it and an Auntie took it out of his mouth. Soon the mother came back with a bamboo back scratcher and grabbed him by the hand and swatted him four or five times until he started crying. She dragged him back into the house by the arm as the old women all started laughing. But I have also seen a child slapped across the face with an open hand, kicked with the foot, and even beaten with the end of an electrical cord, ruler, feather duster, and clothes hanger wire.

On the other hand, the primary form of nurturance of children is through the offering of candy and the feeding of the child, and thus nurturance and love toward the child is expressed principally through touching and orality, which is developed freely among children who are given their own money at an early age of three-years-old with which to buy food, drinks and candy. The strong pattern of orality is suggested by the continued use of the pacifier by children five, six and even seven-years-old. This is interesting because almost no women breast feed after one or two months, though they themselves may well have been breast fed.

The pattern of the expression of affection through physical touching is evident in the way that hitting grades off into "love slaps" and pinches, and in the way that love towards children is verbally expressed as they are the parent's "pain." Love of a parent toward a child is expressed in Hokkien as "tiah" meaning literally "painful love" or "love that is so strong it is painful." This orientation is evidenced in the response pattern to certain questions which indicate that the culturally predominant attitude is that children must be taught as a form of love, and that punishment is a primary form of teaching the child.

Thus, we might further speculate at this point that many of the frustrations and stresses which are the lot of their parents become indirectly visited upon the child at a fairly early age, leading to a pattern of socialization that effectively undercuts the child's self esteem, their motivation for achievement, and maybe precludes the acquisition of basic social competencies or communicative skills which would facilitate their mobility into the larger social world.

Children have several games that they commonly play together. They play with the spinning top, "seven stones," and a form of gambling with marbles, stones or coins. There is a noteworthy absence of girls playing "house" or "dolls." Girls and boys take great pleasure in playing with crabs, mud skippers and fish caught off the Jetty. The people of the Jetty are inveterate gamblers and spend a great deal in a day on gambling. One seven-year-old boy is held to normally carry as much as RM. $500 in his pocket at any time to gamble with, and another boy is regarded as a mathematical wizard in computing gains and losses numerically in his head. People are continuously buying numbers through illegal bookies, of which there are three on the Jetty. Rarely does anyone win anything through the numbers, and most people know this, but "we must always have hope."

We were there long enough to take part in several weddings, to see several newborns, and to see two women die of breast cancer, one of whom we had interviewed on several occasions. Both times the death of someone born into the community, who lived there all her life, and who had been known intimately by everyone and related to many, opened up the door to a chasm of feeling that the community usually kept tightly closed. This door remained open in a sullen and sad social atmosphere for two or three days, until the community closed it again and life got back to normal.

After the funeral of a middle-aged woman who had died of breast cancer, two small red candles were laid at the doorstep of all the homes of the Jetty. Death is darkness, and this darkness has come over the house of the deceased. Since the houses of the Jetty are so close, darkness descends upon the whole Jetty. If you go to a funeral, it is "dirty" or polluting. The red candles are symbolic of "lightness and cleanliness" and are distributed (like candy) as a "thank you gift," to give back the lightness again. The candles are lit and burned that evening to purify the houses, to bring back the "sweetness and lightness" and good fortune.

Regarding the religious beliefs of the people of the Jetty, a newspaper article based on an interview with its headman reported "The residents also strongly believe that they are blessed and protected from harm by the gods or deities they worshipped and to date no serious misfortune has struck the jetties." No homes have collapsed into the sea or been razed by fire. Elaborate rituals and opera shows are staged three times a year on the Jetty (the opera players reside upon the Jetty while in Penang), to "appease the deities and to ensure their continued protection." It then reported a baby found floating unharmed in the water, which the jetty residents attributed to the power of the Gods.

Part of the survey included asking which Gods the people of the Jetty worshipped. Out of 45 households surveyed, 36 worshipped the god Tua Pek Kong, or "God of Prosperity" (80%). Another 13 mentioned the Goddess of Mercy (28.9%). Two mentioned "Kuan Kong" and one each of the following gods: Hai Ching, Buddha, Chor So Kong, Hung Chen, Yi Hon Wah, Kuek Seng Ong, Seng Chai, Hua Kong, Huat Cho Kong, Loh Chay Kong, Tai Seng Eya, Chek Kong, Christian Jesus, Choon Tah Por Say Teh, Teh Cho Kong. Most people reported only worshipping one god, 34 of 45 (75.6%), yet it is safe to say that most of the people will at times worship more than one god.

One day we come down to the Jetty the actors residing there are praying at the temple with their costumes on before they play. One has a mask on. They come outside. Four are praying at the altar under the tree. It is the birthday of the tutelary God of the Jetty, Tai Teh Yia--(A Chinese physician who prescribes herbal medicines). The Baby God, Loh Chia Kong, who is also worshipped at the Jetty, is also being honored that day. At 12:45 p.m., they pick the man who will carry the urn next year.

A man inside the temple begins trancing. He is on a red stool, yawning. Dressed in yellow trousers. He yawns again. Slowly he goes into a trance. His head is quivering. A boy picks up a cobra headed rope whip. Now he is in a full trance state. Snot is coming out from his nose, he is spluttering and foam is coming from his mouth. His whole body is tense. He hits the floor with his hand, kicks up his legs back, pats a hand on the floor and suddenly jumps back. A man catches him from behind. He remains frozen in a fixed posture and the man sits him back down. He does this four or five times. They begin dressing him with a red apron--a smock.

Another man outside the temple, directly behind the first, goes into a trance more slowly and looks less practiced at it, following the man in front of him. Then he too is foaming at the mouth as well. And suddenly he quickly lapses into a trance. Someone gives him a baby bottle and they begin braiding up his hair with little ribbons. He is foaming at the mouth as they put a pacifier in his mouth. Two braids are tied with red string. He is giving some people numbers.

By writing them down on a piece of big paper with a pen. It will be put down on a wall for all people to see. The numbers are not straight, but all squiggles which the people must interpret.

I count about 74 men and boys and about 67 women and girls present. I recognize most of them. And not everyone is present. The old fishing uncle on the end told us he doesn't bother with it. It is 4:08 p.m. and the baby God with two locks in his hair is giving candy to the children, who are taking it with glee. He then cracks his whip to scare the kids back. All the women are around the back tables praying with joss sticks. The kids and everyone are very excited. Joss sticks are now stuck in all the food. The women are putting the joss sticks in the food. All the women are around praying. By 4:12 the trancing in front has stopped, but the drum and gong beat on. The two men in trance look tired in their performance as they struggle to keep up a good show.

By 4:27 the food is being kept back inside the homes. All the women are taking their food containers. The food disappears fairly quickly. People are asking the shaman-priests questions and for talismans inside the temple. They talk in a strange voice, like hysterical little children. One of them goes back inside the temple trancing. The Baby God remains outside, talking to the children. The other shaman is inside now, writing talismans on the back of a young boy's T-shirt. Then he gets up and cracks his whip.

The whip cracks, the drumming resumes. The baby god comes back outside and people escort him to their homes inside the Jetty so that he can pray for talismans for them. Later they were to come back out of the trance in the same way they entered it. The one was back on his stool inside the temple, jumping back and being caught by the man behind him. Soon they were back to their old selves, no longer possessed by the Gods.

 


 

An Ethnocultural Model of the Overseas Chinese Family and Kinship

 

Because the family is the central building block of overseas Chinese society, it is worthwhile to look at its typical structure and dynamics in closer detail. The segmentary lineage structure of the overseas Chinese family is well documented (Crissman, 1967). We can refer to the clan based surname organization of Chinese families which lack great lineage depth and land holdings, as characteristic of the jetty Chinese, and as remarked upon as a typical alternate pattern to the more predominant patrilineal society of Chinese by Maurice Freedman (1958).

The kinship pattern on the Jetty appears to be strongly patrilineal with patrilocal residence (approximately 87%). There are a few exceptions to this rule, in which husbands marry into the families of the wife's father (12%) or young families are establishing semi-autonomous residences in other houses. Generally, the Jetty is characterized by surname exogamy, but this pattern also has a few noteworthy exceptions in which individuals with a common surname, clan descent or "hyphenated surname" are marrying within the Jetty (approximately 4-5%).

We can refer to such structures as corporate in nature in the emphasis of unilineal descent as the basic principle of their social organization. The corporate identity of lineage descent groups is defined in context of other similar groupings, either in relationship or conflict. Ancestor worship and veneration of the earth through well developed systems such as Feng Shui (geomancy) constitutes the institutionalized basis of pan-ethnic Chinese religious identity on which a common sense of political community can be based. These ritual institutions do not allow the individual to have friendly and cooperative relations with other individuals outside of corporate groups (Fortes 1951:165). When such lineage structure is well developed within the overall social system, it is likely that the principle of kinship and kinship relations are central to defining and "sanctioning a personal field of social relations for each individual."

The extensive web of kinship, which may cut across lineages, serves as a counterweight to the inherently divisive nature of unilineal descent structures. The levels of local organization, kinship, corporate group structure, government and ritual religious institutions which may be related to different sets of collective interests, may be interconnected in a hierarchical manner" (Fortes 1951:166).Secret societies can be seen as the alternate adoption of this principle in those social domains where kinship and lineage are not strong or well expressed, as well as the expression of "complementary filiation" which is defined by identity to sibling groups and which serve to reinforce the predominant lineage structure of the society.

The foundation of integration, from this theoretical standpoint, is that all these levels should be expressed simultaneously in every social relationship and activity. There occurs as a consequence of such social integration a complex process of social stratification in which "members of the society are distributed in different, non-identical schemes of allegiance and mutual dependence in relation to administrative, juridical and ritual institutions" (Fortes 1951:166). What emerges is a sense of Maine's "corporate soul" in that individual allegiance within a number of intersecting organizations serves to reinforce the overall structure. Personal identity becomes conceived as "an assemblage of status's" (Fortes 1951:171).

From this perspective, kinship as a jural concept emerges foremost as the connecting link between external political and internal domestic aspects of the society. In this context the structural role and importance of kinship is expressed in interpersonal relations as interpersonal rights and obligations and as constitutive of the basis of social relations between people. The moral nature of this kinship model is extended out to embrace and subsume other possible hierarchical relationships in society, to define one's principle sense of obligation in other authority structures.

The religion represents a projection of this kinship model upon the Chinese cosmography, and the perennial reenactment of religious-mythical themes on the Chinese stage in front of the temples represents a continuous playing out of the conflicts, tensions and delimmas latent within the kinship system.

Mandatory surname exogamy is the principle basis of lineage differentiation. It appears that in such exogamous systems, the role of the woman as "wife-mother" in one lineage is fundamentally at odds with her role as "daughter-sister" in another lineage. Avoidance customs become the expression of the common rule that these two sets of inherently conflictual status's must never be confounded. In this regard, conflicts become expressed principally between wives who share competing interests in a husband's resources, and between sister's-in-law who have competing interests over the father-in-law's resources. Hence, the death of the patriarch often signals the demise of the lineage, the break up of an extended family "under one roof," and where great money may be involved, the beginning of long court battles to decide who are the first, second and "secondary" inheritors of the estate.

Given this review of the study of patrilineal kinship organization and its significance to understanding the central importance of Chinese family, it is worthwhile to examine some of the ways in which this central ethnocultural model of kinship may become expressed in overseas Chinese society. Analysis of kin terms of reference elicited ethno-semantically from the Jetty reveals a normal complex structure of kin terms with no less than thirty separate categories.

Figure 1. Componential model of Chinese terms of reference

The previous componential model of kinship in figure 1 may hypothetically exist for the jetty Chinese. In this model, diagonal lines represent sexual stratification, and horizontal bisecting lines represent age stratification. Dashed lines represent those categories and divisions that are inherently more ambiguous and "weaker." A double line around male-ego's parents represents the double strength of this particular set of relationships. Terms of reference are reserved for older people of a similar category, for males and for those of the descent line, and the pattern is clearly a patrilineal one that gives way at the third generation--mother's grandparent's and father's mother's parent's. Successively higher people (e.g. "father's father's father's parents") can theoretically be taken into account in such a system, but such accounting is rare, and according to one informant, "it is not too good to live too old, great great grandparent's will eat all the descendants."

The categories all give way to personal names and "affectionate nicknames" at those points where these principles do not operate, for instance, juniors, females, niblings and in-laws. It is also the case on the Jetty that people "live so close they know each other by name, and 'familiarity breeds contempt,' if one moves out and comes back then call by (term of reference)." It is also important to note that there is considerable variability of this pattern on the Jetty. Probably more "sinocentrically" and familially inbound and tradition-oriented people use more terms of reference than those more available to Western ideas and influences. Thus it is difficult to say exactly how many categories there really are; the structure being shrinkable or expandable at the margins where terms of reference become inherently more ambiguous.

It might also be the case that affinally defined relationships which are alternate to and complementary to the patrilineal relationships are inherently ambiguous and conflict-prone. It also signifies the inherent, structurally subordinate position of the female within the system that in a sense is set up with the central purpose of maintaining the superiority of the male vis--vis the structurally subordinate counterpart--an asymmetry best expressed in the husband/wife and mother/daughter-in-law and mother/son triangle. It is only to the mother, and by extension, senior aunties, that male ego is subordinate to a female in any way, and then only in the most conditional of ways. It is principally only through the son that the wife, as a mother, can exert any real influence or power.

The extension of this model onto wider spheres of social relationship would mean the imposition of a certain sense of order on the broader relationships of the world, an order that can best be comprehended from within the framework of the model itself. Implicit obligations of rights and responsibilities would be entailments of such extensions. On the Jetty, this extension of the model is had by the use of the blanket reference "Ah" as a prefix to people's first name--it is a term of respect and deference marking social distance, at the same time it is a term of privileged endearment, solidarity and affinity. The second facet is as one old auntie told me, "Chan and Chan is enough already. Everyone on the Jetty is related."

It is in this sense that we can speak of an alternate sino-centric identity among the overseas Chinese that is not individualistic or "ego-centric" in the manner that American identity can be understood, but rather it is a "kin-centric" identity in which a person's personae and personality are inextricably tied by a set of cross-cutting and complementary status's as "son/brother/cousin/father" or alternately as "daughter/sister/cousin/mother," with the psycho dynamic and social differential's and confusion's that such multiple roles may involve.

Furthermore, we can refer to the extension of this basic kin-centric identity of the male/female ego as an inherent aspect of the secondary socialization and identity of the individual in the larger world. The individual can be expected to carry these identities forth into many different kinds of relationships with people depending upon a complex calculus of rank, seniority, consanguinity, collaterality and gender.

It is with the purpose of further illustrating and exploring these relationships that several sets of thematic apperceptive tasks, grids, dichotomous inventories and sentence completion frames given to the jetty Chinese can be elaborated and understood. In all of these tasks the theme of familial based relationships and identity, and of their symbolic extension onto a largely social arena, emerged as the most common denominator. It is a theme that expresses recurrent indications of basic insecurity vis-a-vis parental love and authority, the vagaries of this authority, and the competitive-cooperative nature of the relationships between compeers.

The first set of tasks were "grids" which involved subjects rating, on a scale of zero to three, different basic categories of familial members: father (n=10), mother (n=12), son (n=11), daughter (n=16), (also grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, husband, wife)--in relation to one another according to certain basic statements:

X should....

take care of

answer to

obey

serve food to

give money to

pray after

question

punish

scold

be served food by

....Y

People were asked a set of "frames" such as "sons should take care of daughters," "sons should take care of fathers", "sons should take care of mothers", each of which they were asked to evaluate on a scale of 1 to 3, with 0 being an uncertain response. These frames covered the entire range of possible relationships between the different categories of persons (sons, fathers, mothers, daughters, also aunts, uncles, wives, husbands, grandparents, god-parents). Needless to say the task is time consuming to administer. Many frames appeared to be ambiguous and difficult to translate, such as "sons should question (or be served before) mothers."

Grids were also done on women's occupations (n =21); men's occupations (n =12); professions (n =11); cars (n = 11); 31 national groupings (n =5), based on varying sets of dimensions. From each of these grids, it is possible to construct a rule paradigm based upon the elicited dimensions and similar to the one proposed for the familial model. In regard to nationalities, Malaysians and Americans are equally highly rated across the five elicited dimensions, followed by Chinese and Australians.

The percentage of agreement of each set of relationships between mother, daughter, son and father was calculated and correlation tables were constructed on the basis of these relationships.

 

So-Fa

So-Mo.

So-Da

Mo-Fa

Mo-Da

Mo-So

Da-Fa

Da-Mo

Da-So

Fa-Da

Fa-Mo

Fa-So

take care of

0.9

1

0.6

0.7

1

0.9

1

0.9

0.1

0.8

0.9

0.9

answer to

0.7

0.8

0.5

0.3

0.8

0.9

0.9

0.9

0.3

0.1

0.4

0.2

obey

0.8

0.8

0.4

0.3

0.8

0.1

0.9

0.9

0.1

0

0.3

0

serve food

1

1

0.6

0.4

0

0.1

1

1

0.3

0.1

0.2

0.1

give money

1

1

0.5

0.8

0.3

0.1

1

1

0.1

0.3

0.6

0.1

pray after

0.6

0.6

0.5

0.8

0.8

0.1

0.4

0.5

0.3

0

0

0

not question

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.4

0

0.2

0.6

0.8

0.3

0.1

0.1

0.2

punish

0.2

0.2

0.5

0.3

0.7

0.1

0

0

0.5

0.8

0.1

0.8

scold

0.2

0.2

0.5

0

0.6

0.1

0

0

0.5

0.7

0.3

0.8

served by

0.5

0.5

0.6

0.3

0.3

0.4

0.1

0.1

0.6

0.3

0

0.3

Figure 2. Percentage of agreement across 12 sets of relationships and 10 dimensions.

The table above presents the percentage of agreement in each of the 12 sets of relationships, in which a score close to one represents very strong agreement (Father = Fa, Mother = Mo., Son = So, Daughter = Da).

Percentages were used because of variability of sample sizes. Agreement scores were used because they expressed the greatest degree of cultural sharing, and because sharing was strong, though uneven in most categories. Consensus theory predicts the validity of small samples such as were used, if we can presume a high level of competence in the knowledge of basic relationships implied in the scoring dimensions.

It is evident from these patterns that there are fundamental differences of understanding of relationship between father, son, mother and daughter at least in terms of these dimensions which deal mostly with issues of authority and obligation. This structure of relationships can be used to make inferences about the basic model of the different roles involved in these relationships. In terms of agreement, the responsibilities of the sons to the others show the highest amount of agreement (.60) and then the daughters (.50) the mothers (.42) and then the fathers (.32). It is important to note that there is asymmetry between agreement and disagreement, as well as patterns of ambivalence and of uncertainty or indifference.

From the patterning of these percentage distributions and correlations in the different categories, it is possible to define a series of 600 rules (10 dimensions X 12 relationships X 5 scoring categories) with variable confidence limits (alternative criteria of percentage scores) and by which a paradigm of these relationships between fathers, mothers, sons and sisters constructed. Of this set, certain rules can be selected which serve as key predictive discriminators. In this manner a computer-based system can be used to define the basic familial model in terms of the dimensions of the grid. Below is a simple discrimination table relating to giving money and punishing.

CATEGORY

DIMEN.

SO-FA

DA-FA

FA-DA

MO-FA

SO-DA

DA-SO

FA-SO

MO-SO

SO-MO

DA-MO

FA-MO

MO-DA

UNCERT.

punish

0

0

0.2

0

0

0

0.2

0

0

0

0

0

UNCERT.

give money

0

0

0.1

0

0

0.1

0.2

0

0

0

0

0

DISAGREE

punish

0.8

1

0

0.5

0.3

0.4

0

0.1

0

0

0

0

DISAGREE

give money

0

0

0.1

0.6

0.1

0.8

0.4

0.6

0

0

0

0

AMBIVAL.

punish

0.2

0

0

0.1

0.2

0.1

0

0

0.9

0.9

0.7

0.3

AMBIVAL.

give money

0

0.1

0.5

0.3

0.5

0.1

0.3

0.2

0

0

0.4

0.7

AGREE

punish

0

0

0.8

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.8

0.9

0

0

0.2

0.7

AGREE

give money

1

0.9

0.3

0.1

0.5

0.1

0.1

0.3

1

1

0.6

0.3

INDIFF.

punish

-1

-1

1

0

0

0

1

0.8

-2

-2

-1

0

INDIFF.

give money

1

0.8

-1

-1

-1

-1

-1

-1

1

1

0

-1

Figure 3. Discrimination table across the five categories for two dimensions.

In the table above certain rules can be derived given an arbitrary cut off level. If we hypothesize a cut off value of .7, then the following rules can be obtained:

Sons should give money to fathers (1) and it is indifferent (1).

Sons should give money to mothers (1) and it is indifferent (1).

Daughters should give money to mothers (1) and it is indifferent (1).

Daughters shouldn't punish fathers (1) and it is not indifferent. (-1)

It is highly ambivalent and not indifferent (-2) that sons should punish mothers (.9)

It is highly ambivalent and not indifferent (-2) that daughters should punish mothers (.9)

Mothers should punish sons (.9) and it is indifferent (.8)

Daughters should give money to fathers (.9) and it is indifferent (.8)

Fathers should punish daughters (.8) and it is indifferent (1)

Fathers should punish sons (.8) and it is indifferent (1)

Sons shouldn't punish fathers (.8) and it is not indifferent (-1)

Daughters should give money to sons (.8) and it is not indifferent (-1)

Mothers should punish daughters (.7)

It is ambivalent and not indifferent (-1) that mothers should give money to daughters (.7)

It is ambivalent and not indifferent (-1) that fathers should punish mothers.(.7)

This model which coheres between mother, father, son and daughter can be extended to embrace other relationships within the kinship model. In the obligation of children to grandparents (n =9), children should take care of and give money to them (100%), answer to, obey, serve food to and cannot punish or scold and have no rights over grandparents (100%), and have few privileges over them. The greatest indifference is in who should pray after whom, or be served by whom or question whom, and who should be free from whom. These same relationships and saliencies carry over almost completely to the relationships between children and both categories of parents and godparents, though there is slightly greater indifference about children obeying their godparents than either their parents or grandparents.

A number of dichotomous True/False inventories were employed in this study to assess the "reported" response pattern to basic values and beliefs. These emerged as a fairly successful form of task as most subjects did not seem too threatened by it, and many even seemed intrigued in doing them. They developed one after the other , beginning with a basic 15 item "Dogs-Children-Women" dichotomous inventory (N = 121), and leading to a 25 item Sex-Authoritarianism dichotomous inventory (N =71), and a 20 item "Products-Commercials-People" inventory (N = 64), then a 22 item grid (N =61) rating basic categories of people along five basic dimensions of cleanliness, generosity, and obedience, a 15 item set of miscellaneous assorted questions filling in gaps in the other inventories (n = 58), and, finally, a 25 item set of questions relating religion, fortune, and parental authority (n = 30) that was administered toward the end of the study.

Because the questions emerged in the course of the fieldwork following leads as to things that might be important to ask, they might be seen as less inherently biased in the cultural sense than the adoption of questions directly from such inventories designed in the U.S. and at least implicitly for an American target population. Problems of translation to Hokkien were considerable, and many initial questions had to be left out because of the seeming irrelevance or else the difficulty of framing the question in a manner that would make any sense in Hokkien.

In the first task, relationships between attitudes and opinions toward animals, cleanliness, women, and children were explored through a set of fifteen questions (n = 124). The following are the rank order percentages of agreement (true answers) to the most agreed upon questions (True > 50%; footnote references report actual associations with the particular questions). Nearly unanimous positive responses to these questions in all sub-samples must be interpreted as representing fairly uniform, and to some extent, core overseas Chinese cultural values.

Older children should take care of their younger brother's and sisters. (97.6%)

If adults are talking, children should not interrupt. (97.6%)

Showing too much affection to a child will spoil the child. (94.4%)

A child should not answer back an adult. (88.7%)

If a woman dresses too daringly, she's asking for trouble. (81.5%)

A woman should not go out to drink by herself. (81.5%)

A daughter-in-law should respect a mother-in-law's wishes. (65.%)

Dogs are dirty. (57.3%)

A child should be punished for spilling its food. (52.42%)

Strong agreement across the sample shows that traditionally a daughter-in-law is in little better position than a child in relation to the mother-in-law, and that the mother-in-law's prerogative will be held to outweigh that of the wife. More loosely, it can be interpreted that the chief responsibility of the daughter-in-law would be to take care of the children of the household. It is interesting that it is among the women themselves that there is the least agreement to this last question (28 out of 51, or 54%).

Dogs do not feel pain like people do. (19.35%)

Women should not sit in coffee shops by themselves. (36.29%)

A dog should not come inside. (43.55%)

Women should always listen to their men folk. (45.96%)

It is best to whip a dog with a cane to make it obey. (48.38%)

Chaining a dog up makes it a good watchdog. (49.2%)

Responses to these tasks were as follows:

A woman who dresses too daringly is shameful. In olden days they closed themselves up, but now it depends on situation. They want face. It depends on the fashion. I don't like to see these things. If a woman is attractive she does not have to dress too daringly, only unattractive women dress too daringly. If a woman is asking for trouble, she can also wear decent clothes and trouble still will come. Nowadays in the modern world it doesn't matter. Depends if its East or West.

Women should not drink. A woman should not sit in a coffee shop by herself. She can drink at home. It is only all right if just for coffee. So many women and girls are working now it doesn't apply anymore. This rule is 40 years old. If it is an older woman it is all right. But she must be accompanied by her parents or other women. If not people will say she is a bar girl. It is nothing just to eat. Some do for snacks and coffee. It depends on the Coffee shop environment, who will know the kind of men there. The modern world is different.

If the mothers-in-law are right, daughters-in-law must listen to them. Daughters-in-law must have filial piety. Chinese law--must always listen to mother in law wishes even if she is wrong. The mother-in-law is like your mother. Only young women should do it. Nowadays its different. They do not listen. Daughters-in-law control their mother's-in-law, sometimes they fight them and even beat them. But some mothers-in-law are mean. If she is right she should be listened to. Now they talk facts. Nowadays it depends.

These responses can be interpreted as showing greater agreement in regard to children than in regard to either dogs or women. In this task, the men's sample (n = 28) had a high average score of 9.6 and the women's sub-sample (n =51) average was 10.843. These were at odds with the child's sub-sample (n =8) that was 8.75, with the Non-Jetty sample (n =17), which was 8.35 or the reference group sample (n = 20) that was 8.95. It can be said that in relation to these questions about dogs, women and children, women have a slightly more conservative and traditional orientation than the men, and both men and women have a more conservative orientation than the other samples. For the women, there were 18 (35.29%) who had a score of 13 or above and 33 with a score of 10 or above (64.7%) between compared to 5 men (17.857%) with a score of 13 or above and 16 with a score of 10 or above (57.14%).

This difference between the men and the women may reflect the nature of the experiences and relative level of education between the men and the women. The women on average appear to be more bound to the Jetty than the men. Another inventory was designed with the aim of eliciting attitudes in relation to women. Items showing the most agreement were the following:

A husband should help do housework. (91.5%)

It is O.K. for little boys to play with little girls. (90.14%)

It is O.K. for the daughter of a hawker to marry the son of a banker. (90.14%)

It is O.K. for an unmarried man over 40 to live with his parents. (88.73%)

It is O.K. for a child to wipe up an invalid parent's bodily excrement. (88.73%)

It is O.K. if a daughter of a doctor marries a construction worker. (85.92%)

It is important for a child to work for and support the parents. (84.5%)

It is right for a woman to leave her husband if he regularly mistreats her.(83.1%)

It is O.K. for a father to clean his infant daughter's bottom. (81.7%)

A child must not be allowed to see its parents naked. (78.87%)

A man can serve his wife a meal at the table. (63.38%)

It is important for a son to continue his parent's religion. (53.52%)

 

Questions that show the most consistent false answer across the total sample include the following:

 

A son or daughter can scold his or her parents. (9.86%)

It is best if a child follows its parents choices in marriage. (16.9%)

It is all right for a woman to get drunk sometimes. (18.3%)

It is O.K. for an unmarried woman to sleep with a man. (19.72%)

It is all right if a woman touches a man in public. (21.13%)

Highly intelligent women are attractive. (26.76%)

It is good for husbands to go out to night clubs or bars on weekends without their wives. (28.17%)

It is O.K. for a single man and woman to be alone together inside a room. (32.39%)

It is O.K. for a man to wash a woman's clothes. (38%)

Women can behave like Tomboys and men can behave like women. (38%)

It is O.K. for a single unmarried woman to pursue a professional career even if it means indefinitely postponing marriage and having a family. (38%)

It is O.K. if a man gets drunk occasionally. (49.29%)

 

Some interesting responses to these questions were as follows:

 

Some fathers dare not clean their daughter's bottom. It is a woman's job. Usually the mother does it. Men will do it, but only when the mother is busy. The mother should wash the babies bottom. They ask the wife to do it. It is not good. According to Chinese, men do not do it.

We wash our clothes by machine now, so men can wash women's clothes, but not by hand, and never hang them out. Older people will scold. But if the wife is sick we can wash only the wife's clothes. If my wife works it's up to me. Only when the wife is busy. Ask wife, some can and cannot, some do and some don't. For Chinese, no. It is women's work, men work outside. My brother washes my clothes for me.

It is not a husband's duty to feed an infant in the middle of the night if he is working. Some men share in this work. They have a share in the baby. Some will help and some say they are going to work the next day. Chinese fathers love their children and will do it. Some will do it, but Chinese don't. Some ask their wives to do it.

It is not right for a woman to pursue a professional career even if it means postponing marriage and a family. It is a big wrong--women must have a family to be complete. She should marry and have a family. Every woman should have a family. Parents cannot take care of her forever. If there is no family, there is no reason for life. Better to marry, you have your husband to take care of you. Must have a family, when you get older you will yearn for family and children. If picky life will pass you buy. Some may be ugly or too choosy. Some are scared they may find a bad husband. Some think getting married to the wrong person is horrible. If you work and earn money but don't have anyone to leave it to, then the government will take it all. Yes it happens, a lot of single women nowadays.

The scores were adjusted such that a low score is equal to a high rating of ethnocentrism. The average score of the female sample was 7.55, compared to a male average of 8.33. The children's average score was 8.75, the non-jetty sample's score was 10.56, and the reference group's average score was 8.1. Again, the women show slightly more ethnocentric attitudes than the other samples.

There is a since of a clear double standard as far as attitudes towards men and women are concerned. For instance, while almost 50% agreed that men can get drunk, only 18% said that a woman can get drunk. While 38% said women should not sit in coffee shops by themselves, 28% said that men can go out to bars on weekends without their wives.

This sample is comparable to another non-overlapping sample of an earlier version of the same task (n = 15, 6 men and 9 women). In this sample, highest agreement was for the question "A child must not be allowed to see its parents naked" and "It is O.K. for an unmarried man over 40 to live with his parents" (100% each), followed by "It is O.K. for a father to clean his infant child's bottom," "It is important for a child to work for and support the parents" and "It is right for a woman to leave her husband if he regularly mistreats her." (93.33% each), followed by "A man should share in the feeding of his baby," (8.6.67%) "It is O.K. for a child to wipe an invalid parent's excrement" and "Women can behave like tomboys and men can behave like women," (73.33% each) "It is best if a child follows its parents choices in marriage" and "It is important for a son to continue his parent's religion" and "It is O.K. if a single unmarried women pursues a professional career even if it means indefinitely postponing marriage and having a family" (66.67% each).

In this sample, the least agreement across the sample was "It is all right for a woman to get drunk sometimes," (6.7%) followed by: "It is best if a child follows its parent's choices in marriage." (13.3%); "A son or daughter can scold his or her parents," and "It is all right if a woman touches a man in public" (20% each) and "It is O.K. for the daughter of a hawker to marry the son of a banker" (33.33%); "It is O.K. for an unmarried woman to sleep with a man" (40%); "It is good for husbands to go out to nightclubs on weekends without their wives;" "A man should share in the feeding of the baby at night", and "It is O.K. if a man gets drunk occasionally." (46.67%). The average score for this sub-sample was 11.066.

On the next inventory, subjects were asked to evaluate comparative relationships between men, women, boys, girls, adults, children and dogs on the basis of five dimensions (cleaner than, more affectionate than, more obedient than, more trustworthy than and more generous than). The greatest amount of agreement was:

Adults are more generous than children. (81.96%)

Children are cleaner than dogs. (78.68%)

Men are more generous than women. (77%)

Women are cleaner than men. (73.77%),

Adults are cleaner than children. (70.49%)

Dogs are more obedient than children. (68.85%)

Children are more affectionate than dogs. (67.21%)

Boys are more generous than girls. (63.93%)

Adults are more obedient than children. (57.38%)

Children are more trustworthy than dogs. (55.74%)

Adults are more obedient than dogs. (49.18%)

The questions show the greatest false answers over the entire sample are:

Men are more affectionate than women. (6.5%)

Boys are more obedient than girls. (9.84% each)

Boys are more affectionate than girls. (9.84% each)

Boys are cleaner than girls. (11.48%)

Men are more obedient than women. (19.67%)

Boys are more trustworthy than girls. (27.87%)

Adults are more affectionate than children. (29.5%)

Men are more trustworthy than women. (32.78%)

Children are more trustworthy than adults. (37.7%)

Adults are more trustworthy than dogs. (47.5%)

Of all the dichotomous tasks, these questions have the highest average inter-item correlation scores, showing strong inter-item associations. From these responses, the following discrimination table was derived based on what were inferred to be "strong" relationships versus "weak" relationships from the complementary scores of agreement/disagreement.

Stronger

child/adults.

women/men

girls/boys

child/do.

adults/dogs

cleaner

0.3

0.75

0.88

0.78

0

affectionate

0.7

0.93

0.9

0.68

0.4

obedient

0.42

0.8

0.9

0.3

0.5

trustworthy

0.4

0.67

0.72

0.57

0.47

generous

0.17

0.23

0.35

0

0

Weaker

adults./child

men/women

boys/girls

dogs/child

dogs/adults

cleaner

0.7

0.25

0.12

0.22

0

affectionate

0.3

0.067

0.1

0.32

0.6

obedient

0.58

0.2

0.1

0.7

0.5

trustworthy

0.6

0.33

0.28

0.43

0.53

generous

0.83

0.77

0.65

0

0

Figure 4. Percentage scores of complementary strong and weak relationships.

There is a -.382 inter-correlation between strong and weak dimensions (cleaner, affectionate, obedient, trustworthy and generous) .From this table, the following rules were inferred:

Women are more affectionate than men.

Women are more obedient than men.

Women are cleaner than men.

Children are more affectionate than adults.

Girls are cleaner than boys.

Girls are more affectionate than boys.

Girls are more obedient than boys.

Men are more generous than women.

Adults are more generous than children.

Dogs are more obedient than children.

Children are cleaner than dogs.

From the foregoing rules it can also be inferred that women and girls are viewed as cleaner, more affectionate, more trustworthy and obedient, and that maleness is associated with adultness while femaleness takes on similar patterns of being a child. Only with the characteristic of generosity did males and adults appear stronger than women or children. Generosity can be interpreted as a negatively valued trait (i.e., a sign of weakness) among Chinese whose strongest spontaneous typifications of themselves is "stinginess."

The final dichotomous inventory was designed to elicit beliefs about the supernatural and about fate. Because it was designed toward the end of the study, it suffered a basic problem of translation. The sample size was relatively small (n = 30), so the scores are collapsed into a single group. The most agreed upon questions were:

People on earth cannot know their places in heaven. (92.5%)

Money is a cause of evil. (77.7%)

Money is good. (74%)

A person who does bad deeds is bound to suffer misfortune. (70.3%)

If a parent is wrong then heaven will punish the children. (70.3%)

Children are basically good and learn how to be bad. (59.2%)

One's fortune on earth is influenced by one's filial piety. (56.67%)

Success in money is a sign of good fortune. (51.8%)

Children are basically bad and must be taught to be good. (51.8%)

Your ancestor's will reward you if you work hard. (51.8%)

Questions upon which there was the least agreement by the answering of false were the following:

Success in making money is a sign of one's fate in heaven. (11.1%)

One's place on earth is influenced by one's ancestors in heaven. (14.8%)

One's place in heaven is measured by one's fortune on earth. (14.8%)

The Gods can be influenced by the deeds of people. (14.8%)

A child should obey its parents even if its parents are wrong. (18.5%)

A person's fate in life determines that person's state after death. (18.5%)

Our parent's are influenced by our ancestor's fate in heaven. (22.2%)

Success in business is influenced by the worship of one's ancestors. (25%)

Our thoughts and actions can be influenced by the will of Gods. (25%)

Success in life depends upon the good will of the Gods. (25%)

A man's good fortune depends upon the happiness of his ancestors. (25%)

If a parent is wrong then heaven will punish the children. (26.67%)

Success in life depends upon the goodwill of the Gods. (30%)

Evil spirits cause human misfortune. (30%)

Fate is controlled by the Gods. (30%)

Good people are favored by the Gods more than bad people. (33.3%)

Success is a sign of respect for one's ancestors. (33.3%)

Happiness is measured by how much money one makes. (37%)

A person will suffer misfortune if spirits aren't placated. (37%)

One's ancestors in heaven are influenced by one's fortune on earth. (37%)

People are controlled by fate. (37%)

Overall agreement to the tasks as indicated by the number of true scores is 45.33%. This may signify that the task was not very well designed or interpreted, but also that there may not be clearly uniform agreement of a theoditical beliefs by these people of the Jetty. Many of the questions were more inherently ambiguous, even with proper translation, thus being more difficult for people to answer in a definite and clear way.

Qualifications to the answers, as in "People are controlled by fate" indicate that either people were not sure or believed that our fate was up to ourselves. Success in life depends not so much on the goodwill of the Gods but upon "shear hard work". Human misfortune is caused as much "by our carelessness" as it is by the Gods. Good fortune in this life depends not so much on the happiness of the ancestors but upon "luck" or Feng Shui. Happiness is not necessarily measured by money, "the best is average person, do not need that much money." Many people were reluctant to answer or unsure whether a person will suffer misfortune if spirits aren't placated. For many, money is "number one" and "without money things cannot be done." People "dare not say" if one's fate in life determines a person's state after death. Children are both good and bad so "we must teach them." The "Gods bless everybody." Each person is for him or her self in the world, so we must work hard. No one will know if one's place in heaven is influenced by one's fortune on earth. One's ancestors in heaven are influenced by the place of their burial. Money may not be the sign of one's fate in heaven, we "cannot say whether we can go to heaven or not." If a child does not obey its parent's even if they are wrong, then the child "will get beaten." Success is not so much a sign of respect for one's ancestors as it is a matter of fate.

There was an assortment of other tasks that entailed completion of sentence frames. It appears that linguistically structured symbolic framing tasks do elicit patterns of response comparable in many respects to the other kinds of tasks such as the inkblots and drawing tasks. These tasks were difficult to administer, in part because of the translation problem, but also because of a great deal of resistance to their completion.

The problem with these type of tasks was the very low response rate and very strong resistance in their completion. There appeared to be a number of difficulties in their design and administering--foremost perhaps was the difficulty of translation from English into Hokkien, which perhaps brings up a need to reassess the argument for linguistic relativity functioning at different syntactic and semantic levels.

Some of these tasks also clearly explored the boundaries of their world view in a manner which they frequently found threatening. There was also a sense that statements they could make may be linked to their own names and identities with perhaps unknown consequences. This made the use of a tape recorder for several of the tasks designed to elicit spontaneous, tip of the tongue type oral responses, virtually impossible to use with anyone but less than a handful of people. On several occasions attempting to encourage completion of these relatively simple tasks (from an American's point of view) led to the characteristic "ingenuine" response which was hiding the truth and which was wasting everyone's time, and even at a point to a closure of a small group of people of the Jetty who had previously been quite open to being interviewed.

The following is a set of sentence completion tasks (n = 24) that dealt with feelings and attitudes toward family.

1. My family is.... happy (50%); cheerful; big (33.3%); small; cooperative; "stable when my brother doesn't gamble."

2. I love... my family (41.67%); parents (25%); nature or mother (16.67%); teacher; relatives; friends; earth; and father. "

3. People... "are good" (25%); "must be together;" "must be realistic;" "are lovely;" "live on the earth;" "are different;" "are created by God."

4. Men... "are strong" (16.6%) "must be gentle;" "must not be selfish;" "made from soil;" "are more responsible;" "must work to live;" "must have a good job;" "are our protectors;" "are very rough;" "are very lusty."

5. Women are... intelligent and the bearers of children (16.6% each); "made from water;" make life more interesting;" caring; "must love the family;" "refined; hardworking.

6. Sister's are... good and solve our problems (16.6%); helpful; "family too;" friendly; clever.

7. Brother's are... good (25%); "must love each other;" "help each other when bullied by someone;" "are helping hands;" "are okay;" males.

8. Fathers... good (41.67%); dead (16.67%); gentle; loving; generous, hardworking, kind.

9. Mothers... good (33.3%); housewife (16.67%); kind; gentle; dead; lovely, friendly; hardworking; "loves my brother more but is a great woman."

10. Children... cute (50%); naughty (25%); wise; "gift from the Gods;" future; playful; innocent; "can like what they like."

11. A spouse... "must love each other;" good; "partner of life;" "future depender;" "must take care of family."

12. Marriage is... happiness (16.67%); "a funny and stupid thing;" "the way of men and women;" "the way to build a happy life;" "beginning of a new family;' "our valuable choice;" "help each other;" "traditional celebration."

The apperceptive tasks employed upon the Jetty explored the themes of subjective identity cast in alternate and different role relationships with other persons. Several tasks were used. The two main tasks were constructed using cultural themata and images derived directly or indirectly from the local universe of the study. The other tasks included versions of the CAT and of the SAT, all of which were mostly administered to children and young adults. All the apperceptive tasks combined proved valuable in exploring attitudes and identities that are clearly tied to familial roles and a kinship model of the world. The CAT's (Children's apperception tasks) explored primarily the parent-child relationship. The SAT (Senior apperception task) was effective in elucidating attitudes towards the elderly and Grandparents. The FAT (Family apperception task) was effective in exploring the range and organization of the familial order, and the PAT (Picture apperception task) proved of value in exploring the possible extensions of this order into a wider universe of social relations and settings, especially in cross-cultural contexts.

The CAT -S (n= 8) was adapted from those cards of the Indian, Japanese and English versions that were deemed most appropriate to the multicultural context of Malaysian society, and revealed the following set of themes from a group of children who were a little older. In these pictures there was no great thematic elaboration or any deep, obvious Freudian content. They were treated in a matter of fact way, even when responses were sometimes unhappy or even disturbing. In all the pictures, the parent-child relationship is clearly marked and demonstrates recurring themes of love, sympathy, hunger and feeding, shopping, playing, separation, scolding, punishing, teaching and talking.

The SAT (Senior Apperception Task designed for senior adults, n = 8) was a little longer task of 16 cards depicting senior men and women in different situations. There is in these responses a sense of understanding of the feelings and predicament of the older people who are usually identified as grandparents/parents, but also there is a general lack of sentiment for their situation, sympathy perhaps precluded by the sense of filial obligation and responsibility.

The family apperception task ("FAT", n = 14) is also of sixteen cards and is the most revealing as far as familial relationships are concerned. There is more sharing of alternate response types that reveals an interesting pattern of identification with different social roles:

1. The first picture shows alternately a father biding farewell to his son going abroad to study or to perform some feat, (58%) and a boss advising, instructing, reprimanding a young employee (41.67%) The affinity of the boss and the father and the son and the employee is clear.

2. The second picture shows a good, happy family with husband/father, mother/wife, and son/child (100%) going out to play or shopping and having fun together. The positive valuation of the nuclear family and parent/child bonding in this picture is most salient. "The mother only has just one child so she loves him more, if she had another, she would not love him so much."

3. The third picture shows a young couple sitting together, either a husband(25%) /boyfriend (33%) and girlfriend (75%), being caught by an angry boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/father/mother who wants to scold and kill them. "Maybe that one is the ex-girlfriend of the boy. Because she is fat and has short hair the boy doesn't want her. Jealous."

4. In the fourth picture the mother is lifting a child (83.3%) because they are playing or their is a snake or the baby pissed. Alternately, a grandmother is lifting her niece or "Teacher (male) teaching student to dance. Holding the girl up like in gymnastics."

5. The fifth card shows a brother and a sister (91.3%) or a mother and a child being chased or frightened by a dog (91.3%) or playing with the dog (8.3%).

6. The sixth card shows a boy (83.3%) who is naughty, waiting for a friend, is very tall, or a man who is waiting or is a laborer. "He is a boy. The boy's name is John. He goes out and fights. When he gets home, his mother beats him. His mother sends him to stand outside."

7. The seventh card shows a doctor (41.67%), a father (33.3%) and a teacher (25%) with a boy who is sick and needs to take medicine (91.3%).

8. Eighth picture shows a mother taking the child to or from school (75%). In one it is a sister taking the child to school, or the mother is also the teacher, and in another scenario it is a bad woman who has kidnapped the child for one year. "Aunt, should I be dismissed early?" "No, you shouldn't. You must wait until the lesson is finished." "Why?" No, why not just follow my order. If not I will, I will..." "Will what?" Eat you!"

9. The ninth picture shows the daughter taking the mother (41.67%) or the granddaughter with the grandmother (25%) or an auntie (8.9%) or a bad woman who has stolen something and has been caught or a girl introducing an older friend to her mother. "The girl is showing filial piety toward her mother. I think they want to go to see the doctor because their faces showing very sad."

10. The tenth picture shows a girl who is a prostitute (83.3%) between two men who are bad men and forcing her into prostitution, or are police. "Two boys force the woman to sign the paper. The girl is a "chicken." She sleeps with these two men." "The girl is a girl friend. Wear low-cut so can see the cleavage. The younger brother holds the woman on the shoulder. The older brother looks like one holding the girl's buttocks and her hand."

11. The eleventh picture shows a young girl (75%) playing with a rabbit on the bed. Alternately it is a man (16.67%) with a rabbit or a bad girl with two men. "The man is showing sympathy because he plays with the rabbit during his free time, and he doesn't mind the rabbit smell." "She messed up the bed so the bed is now dirty. When the mother knocked at the door she quickly hid the rabbit under the covers. Mother asked why it is so dirty. Rabbit ran out under covers so mother beat the girl up. The mother beat her until she has cane marks all on her leg. So the girl decided to give up the rabbit and put it back where she found it and walked home."

12. The twelfth picture shows three women talking (66.6%) or three girls or three people playing (33.3%) or "a mother, grandmother and granddaughter." (8.9%) It could be a wedding, or they are in the kitchen. "Three snoopy women sitting in a five foot way and gossip about some people who they don't know and none of their business."

13. The thirteenth picture shows "James and Joan were at the sports room. They were training about the 'kung fu.' Look how Joanna was practicing and also James. How strong their legs and hands. The muscle is big like a chicken leg." or alternately a man and woman going to investigate something that happened or a girl welcoming a boy to her house.

14. The fourteenth picture shows a woman with pots "See how fair she is?" "Thinner than you!" "What?" "Thinner than you." "Enough, look how more beautiful than the containers." "Me once more pretty" "Stupid!"

15. The fifteenth picture shows one man sitting between two other men who are trying to force him to do something he doesn't want.

16. The final picture shows three friends spinning a top in front of their house (100%).

The final apperception task to be considered (PAT, n = 16) had 21 pictures that were taken directly from local newspapers depicting social situations and events that were both relatively ambiguous and also sometimes graphic, depicting a variety themes of authority, familial relations, conflict, disaster and accidents, violence, sexuality, school, and cross cultural (Malay) customs etc. It appears in these tasks that the same basic familial patterns of identification are largely carried over into most of these pictures. It shows a strong ambivalence towards authority (i.e., the police), with a strong recognition of the correctness of authority, as with police arm locking a young "protester" who is a "bad person" (75%), and at the same time a distrust of authority as being deceitful or vicarious. It reveals themes of "mother-love" and "father-love" as both a sense of obligation and responsibility to care for, feed and play with the child, and these themes are largely carried over to contexts of the Malay household. Authority and responsibility appear to be positively valued, and women and men in uniform or in business suits are handsome and pretty.

These apperception tasks suggest that kinship is indeed central in importance in defining personal identity and interpersonal relationships. This model is basically a moral one of filial obligation and reciprocal duties and interactions between parents and child. The model of parents as care-takers/guardians/nurturers/givers of food and their inherent ambivalence as punishers is easily extended onto other authority role models in society--teachers, bosses, police, doctors and grandparents and uncles. Though there is a sense of duty, there is a not necessarily a connected sense of great romantic sentimentality.

 


 

Malaysian Ethnocultures and the Chinese-Malay Dilemma

 

Malaysia has an unfinished history of "racial" strife. The predicament of the Chinese in Malaysia cannot be adequately grasped outside the framework of this history.

The key text that promulgates and functionally serves to legitimate these policies is Prime Minister's Mahathir Bin Mohammed's, The Malay Dilemma (1970). This book can be considered to represent in a very explicit manner the official and unofficial policies of a Malaysian Government controlled by a single dominant party that is itself controlled by a single dominant leader, the author of the text.

The use of a folk notion of race underlying cultural differences between people is to be found on almost every page of the book. In discussing "other characteristics" of race than ethnic origin, for instance, Mahathir notes (1970: 84) that "The Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively. The Europeans are not only fair-skinned, but have an insatiable curiosity" (Mahathir 1970: 84). Other examples abound in the text, for instance (Mahathir 1970: 96), "Inherent racial character explains the rapid recovery of Germany and Japan after their defeat in World War II." Closer to home, "The Malays are not merely brown, but are also easy-going and tolerant. And the Chinese are not just almond-eyed people, but are also inherently good businessmen" (Mahathir 1970: 84).

The main racial argument of the book is used to explain the social inequalities between the Chinese and the Malays, and to justify "so called discriminatory laws" which are designed to eventually bring about (by unstated means) a measure of social (if not political) equality between the races.

Furthermore, it is used to define the racial basis of national unity, a "Malaysia for the Malays"--"the basis of national unity, simply stated, is a single ethnic group possessing a common language, culture and religion confined in an area of definite geographical boundaries" (Mahathir 1970:98).

Promotion of Malay interests by means of an uneven quota system over non-Malay interests can be found in all sectors of the economy--in education, in housing, in finance, in the military and policy, in government hiring and administration, and in rural development policies. The policies of structural discrimination continue virtually unaltered until today. In Malaysia, since 1969, it can be said that the Malays form the dominant group, and compose a simple majority of the total population of Malaysia. They are also the most united under the twin umbrellas of Islam and UMNO.

Malays have adopted social practices and policies which have served to effectively separate Malays and Chinese and which have rigidly drawn the boundary of Malayness around themselves--the model of what it is to be genuine, correct Malaysian as "Muslim" to the exclusion of any other alternate possibilities.

With the radical polarization of Malaysian society between the dominant Malays and the minority Chinese, we can see the foundation and principle motivations for the elaboration of racial politics and policies, and the rise of what is effectively a two-tiered social system in which there are essentially two separate levels of social status and identity which are separate but parallel to one another in almost every way.

This structural tiering of the Malaysian system has effectively stratified Malaysian society across the board into two separate and unequal levels. It has simultaneously led to the embodiment in social practices and attitudes of the very politics of race on which such a system was built in the first place. The net consequence of this tiering has actually been to perpetuate indefinitely, and without any hope of reconciliation or interethnic integration, the polarization between Malays and Chinese on which it was based in the first place.

This tiering of the system has been effected through a systematic process of "bureaucratic encapsulation" (Strauch 1981:12) that has become the main structural instrument of racial politics and the primary form of manifestation of communal Muslim Malay interests. Such bureaucratic encapsulation has effectively extended itself and brought both Malay and non-Malay tiers under bureaucratic restriction and control at the same time, thus killing two birds with one stone, and assuring that all relevant positions of authority within the organs of government administration are occupied by members and supporters of the dominant political party or one or another of its subsidiary parties.

Through such a system, racial politics in Malaysia has become largely embedded in the background of everyday life as a given, and largely taken for granted "business as usual" fact of life. For the dominant majority who are in a position of blanket advantage within such a system, there is every reason to support it and everything is great. For the minority groups who are in a position of blanket disadvantage within such a system, there is little about the arrangement that is attractive or favorable, and there is a great deal of silent resentment. At the same time there is little that can be done by them, short of exiting the system or trying to work outside of it or around it.

Malaysia has been not merely a radically plural society, but it has also become a radically polarized society--dichotomously split down the middle by the basic cleavages and conflicts of interest and values of the dominant Malays and the Chinese who represent a large and economically strong minority presence.

It is even more important to recognize that the pluralism of the Malaysian mosaic has largely, from a political point of view, become the "bi-polarization" of the society between the Malays on the one hand and the Chinese on the other. It is this polarization between Chinese and Malay which has largely fueled the ethnic differences and the development of contrasting ethnicities, and the drawing of the rigid boundary between the two groups. It has resulted in the clear ethnization of the social and political environment, a process of emphasizing and redefining internal ethnic solidarity and markers of ethnic identity vis-a-vis the counter reference group, and of constructing stereotypes of the out group, which become to some extent self-sustaining and perpetuating of the same "politics of race" in which they are rooted in the first place.

It can be said that for the most part, Chinese and Malays live in separate worlds within the same society, worlds between which there is relatively little passage. Malays and Chinese eat at separate hawkers complexes, and go to different meetings and assemblies. To live within one of these worlds is almost automatically to preclude living within the other.

While this is true for the separate communities as a whole, in which the community orientation tends to maintain the boundary between the groups and reinforce in-group solidarity, it can also be said that individuals can and often frequently pass between the two boundaries into the worlds of the other, but only as individuals, and only under circumstances in which there is individual and interpersonal recognition and friendship.

Communalistic expressions of ethnic solidarity are clearly strongest and most pronounced among the dominant Malays who occupy, at almost every level, every key position of administrative and executive authority, and who are almost exclusively in the military and police force. Such common place and omnipresent expressions can be considered to be part of a system of overt, symbolic marking which highlights the significant racial differences between the main groups. Thus, donning the veil and traditional Muslim garb, adorned with floral patterns and metallic frills, becomes as much a social and political statement of one's ethnic identity, advantage and political superiority as a good Bumi Malay as it is an ethnic fashion statement or a pronouncement to the world that one is also, by the way, a virtuous Muslim.

Communalism can be interpreted as a built-in set of reciprocal or non-reciprocal but mutual expectations regarding different sets of circumstances or typical behavioral settings. One can expect more special, personal treatment from a fellow Muslim behind the window if one is a brother (or sister) of the cloth. One can also come to expect front of the line privileges over the non-Malay.

Such expectations constrain and influence the politics of race in critical ways, frequently compromising authority with the application of sets of double standards to different types of situations, along with accompanying rationalizations and reparations, and allowing the arbitrary relaxation of rules or restrictions in favor of promoting the communal interests and solidarity of one's own ethnic group.

Thus, those in line and those behind the government window share a built-in, implicit set of common expectations of mutual reciprocity and exceptional, interpersonal versus impersonal, treatment that results in the application of a sliding scale of authority that makes the fair and even execution of blanket authority, however limited, difficult if not impossible to achieve.

Such markers and mutual expectations of ethnic solidarity serve to objectively reinforce within those critical social arenas those subjective perceived relations of order in the world, and thus, provide not only a sense of security about the normal, expected order of such relations, but simultaneously reinforce the internalized sense of ethnic identity and belonging to the group.

Such markers and behaviors of ethnic solidarity also provide symbolic reinforcement for the normalcy of the order and thus are a kind of ritual ethnocultural enactment of the sacredness, solidarity, and reaffirmation of one's place within the system as it is symbolically projected out into the larger world view.

Communalistic expressions of ethnic solidarity reinforce the boundaries which on one hand define the normal relations of authority, status and hierarchy of advantage within a designated in-group, while simultaneously serving to exclude from normal participation any member of the out-group.

The Chinese have come to express their ethnic solidarity by the exclusiveness and single-mindedness of their economic orientation, an orientation which frequently precludes political or other social involvements. Few Chinese enter government service of one form or another, and most Chinese, at some point, enter the private sector of Chinese business to find their fortune or fate.

Thus their symbols of such ethnic solidarity involve those symbols of social mobility and socio-economic status--hand phones, business cards, fancy cars, nice homes, servants.

With polarization and a two-tiered system, communalistic differences and loyalties and ethnic solidarity are being emphasized by both the Chinese and the Malays to the point of ethnic schismogenesis--the mutual reinforcement of a separate and distinctive orientation vis-a-vis the other by means of the maintenance of a social boundary.

The Malays, who have always been the dominant majority, and who have always asserted their own Islamic cultural hegemony over Malaysia, have also conferred upon themselves the special legitimation of being an "underprivileged" group vis-a-vis the Chinese. This policy and status-identity of the Malays has two consequences--again killing two birds with one stone--first, it legitimates racial policies of discrimination which give special advantages to the Malays, secondly, it justifies the same policies which systematically disadvantage the Chinese. The ultimate consequence is the perpetuation of the impassable boundaries between the two groups.

Shared, mutual expectations of ethnic, communalistic solidarity, defined within a top-down, repressive authority structure, affects the identity, judgment and motivations of the members involved within such a system in significant ways. We may then speak of appropriate contexts and situations for the presentation of self, and for the alternation of self between fore-ground and background, based upon the ethnic and racial identity of the significant other with whom one is dealing.

The psychology of race and racism emerges full-blown as indirect expressions of psycho-social identity and communalistic ethnic solidarity and serves to further reinforce the boundaries which separate groups. This psychology of race is reinforced by the politics of race and vice versa, such that the structure of the system tends to reify and validate in everyday experience, as givens, attitudes and stereotypical beliefs about counter-reference others associated with racist beliefs and ideologies.

To the Chinese, the Malay is devoted to Islam, to the point that religion comes to preclude successful interest in business. The Malay leads a simple life, eating simply and dressing in nice clothes. The Chinese view the Malay as basically easy-going and lazy people, who can be easily induced by immediate gratification and short-term gains. The Malays, who are not as stingy as are the Chinese, are frequently seen giving alms to beggars and charity to other poor Malays.

To the Malay, the Chinese are unscrupulously business-minded and basically sacrilegious (paganistic idol-worshippers and "non-Muslim"). Dressing simply, they spare no expense in eating. Defiled by a love of pork, Chinese are dirty and stingy and uncharitable. Their exclusive preoccupation in making money precludes a holy way of life. The Chinese is smart and crafty and will do almost anything in order to make money.

A small but important study (Rabushka 1973) demonstrated in a clear manner that inter-group attitudes of consociation and positive/negative ascription are positively correlated with the amount of interethnic interaction experienced in daily life, with different cultural predispositions toward interaction, and with residence along the rural-urban continuum--those located in more cosmopolitan centers were more likely to evince attitudes of positive affect toward counter-reference out groups.

Rabushka;'s work Race and Politics in Urban Malaya (1973) reveals some of the fundamental differences between Chinese and Malay. Chinese tend to be more culturally ethnocentric than the Malay. More cosmopolitan contexts, inducing social extroversion, hence greater interracial social interaction, reduces such ethnocentrism, while social introverts tend to be much more ethnocentric in orientation. In terms of relative social distance, and the degree of tolerance between these groups, ".i.Penang; Malays are more tolerant of the Chinese than their Kuala Lumpur counterparts, but they are less tolerant on the question of interracial marriage. But omitting eating and marriage, the two associations affected by religion, we find (with one exception) that two-thirds of all Malay respondents are not opposed to crossing racial boundaries in employment, social activity or neighborhood of residence" (1973: 62).

In regard to Chinese attitudes, no religious obstacles interfere with Chinese eating with Malays in the same eating houses. "Chinese in both Kuala Lumpur and Penang are more tolerant of Malays than Malays are tolerant of them. In greater degree, they are willing to eat, work, join and live with members of the Malay race." The study holds that racial stereotypes have little or not role in promoting social or political harmony, and that positive or negative attitudes are relatively independent of such stereotypes.

Chinese tend to see Malay behavior in the local context as childlike, with a lack of ambition--"traits that can be smiled on with some condescension" (Rabushka 1973:254) These attitudes are somewhat separate from feelings of structural discrimination as second class citizens. "Government officials, by contrast, may be viewed as heavy-handed tyrants spoon-feeding the Malay peasant on the one hand and constricting natural Chinese rights on the other"(Rabushka 1973: 254).

Malay stereotypes of the Chinese; are that they are intelligent, ambitious, active, honest, thrifty, industrious and hardworking, yet ritually unclean and impure. The Chinese tend to see the Malays as clean, and yet lacking ambition, while "Intelligence, thrift, activity, and honesty are given approximately equal point values... and fall significantly below the scores registered for cleanliness and (lack of) ambition"(Rabushka 1973:67).

Most Chinese believe that Malay racial policies are unfair. Most Malays believe that such policies are necessary to reverse the disadvantages that Malays suffer, ostensibly at the hands of the Chinese. Chinese do not feel a need to adopt a subordinate or inferior status vis-a-vis the Malays, and fundamentally resist the formation of any such complex. Malays feel a need to compensate for and overcome those attitudes of inferiority related to their identity that was the carry-over of the British colonial era. Symbolically, the Chinese have come to occupy the place that the British created, and have become the objects of Malay racial projection.

Many of the social issues which are couched in terms of race in Malaysia can be more realistically defined in terms of ethnicity. Often "racial politics" or the "politics of race" is used in the literature synonymously and as connotatively interchangeable with multi-ethnic or ethnic politics, and understanding of the position of the Chinese of Malaysia versus the Malays is necessarily a study in ethnicity and ethnic politics.

Ethnicity has become an increasingly important consideration in the modern integration of the world (Ratcliffe 1994). In general it can be said that ethnization of issues, the promotion of ethnic consciousness, identity and solidarity, and ethnic-based social organization is rarely without its current political-economic motivations, which are frequently the exclusive prerogative of an ethnic elite who pose themselves as the leadership, models and trend-setters of such ethnic movements. It can also be said that no such ethnic movements are without their symbolic ideologies and systems of rationalization, which are often rooted in and derived from deeper religious and ethnocultural traditions.

In the elaboration of ethnic principles of corporate organization, Brown (1976) hypothesizes that ethnic diversity varies with closed hierarchies, which beget community closure in the intergroup competition for resources. Hierarchy begets cultural differentiation. Closed hierarchies can base such cultural differentiation upon ethnic distinctions between biologically "closed groups." Open hierarchies cannot be based upon such a presumption of ethnocultural difference. Such societies, like traditional Chinese society, have tremendous powers of universal incorporation (Brown,; 1976:95).

According to Strauch (1981:235), .i.ethnic groups;, .i.ethnic identity; and ethnic categories are separate but interdependent phenomena in Malaysia. Ethnic identity and categories may operate independently, but ethnic groups, with the connotation of some form of consensus or corporate, functional organization, must be built upon internalized identities and categories, and in turn reinforce these. .i.Ethnic categories; promote order and expectability in complex, heterogeneous social situations--ethnic identities result from a labeling process relating to categorical expectations of social behavior.

Differences which arise from and primarily exist upon the structural level may not be apparent upon the social, interpersonal level. Individuals may readily cross ethnic-group boundaries, and individual ethnic classifications and identity may not completely coincide with these boundaries. Tension may exist as a "subsurface" phenomena--as a latent potentiality of structural rift and schism. Structural discrimination may exist where social discrimination does not. There is a general need to maintain some form of alignment between the structural and social levels of interaction--social conflict may lead to structural breakdown and change, while structural contradictions may result in social conflict.

The predominant racial categories and racial policies provide the foundation, structurally and socially, for the construction of alternate, counter-reference ethnic identities and groups, and for the maintenance of boundaries between these groups which preserve asymmetrical relations. Thus race-based construction, maintenance, manipulation and negotiation of ethnic identity constitutes a central methodology in the formation of ethnic groups and boundaries. These identities are often stereotypical in their appropriation of symbols and markers of identity, and we are left to consider the role of ethnic stereotypes in the management of differences between the Malays and Chinese and in the organization of diversity that these kinds of differences imply in a plural society.

Promotion of ethnic identity (ethnicity) and solidarity often involves markers of in-group identity--language, dress, behavior, styles of life, values, attitudes, etc., which serve to both identify membership and rank within the in-group, as well as to mark off the boundary of difference between in-group members and non-members who are associated with other out groups.

Ethnicity and race are terms often used interchangeably, in part because obvious markers of "racial identity" are often used in the definition of ethnic identity. Though related, the notions of ethnicity and ethnoculture must be critically distinguished. Ethnoculture consists of that orientation that is more-or-less culturally embedded and traditionally defined, whereas ethnicity tends to be defined in the social context, in terms that are economic, religious, and political, and which tend to be more superficial, hence transient, than more deeply embedded ethnocultural traits.

Ethnic communities in a plural setting like Malaysia, in competition in the (now global) market place with one another, are emergent from such processes, defining ethnic based values as reward structures, "reinforcement priorities" or "resource systems", and come to compose networks of "opportunity structures" (Siaw 1981:395-6).

The intrinsic nature of the Chinese community in Malaysia and its responses to "outsiders" can best be interpreted by Max Weber's ideas about the nature of a community in relation to ethnicity (Weber 1946). Weber contends that ethnic or racial .i.stereotypes; are developed as a result of competition for, and successful monopolization by groups of, economic and social power at various levels of the society's opportunity structure.

Such stereotypes can be accumulated through what Weber calls "direct understanding" of social action. Weber contends that meaningful social interactions must be based on a common system of linguistic and nonlinguistic symbols. When such a common system of symbols is absent or inadequately developed (as, for instance, with the heterogeneity of a typical pioneering Overseas Chinese community in the early days and the plural nature of Malaysia's present-day multi-racial society), meaningful interaction is hindered, hence limiting interpersonal and intergroup understanding. Such a situation tends to strengthen in-group solidarity and heighten the ethnic and racial stereotype conceptions of other groups, thus causing the sanctioning of actions taken by the dominant groups, depriving the weaker ones of access to economic and political opportunities (Siaw 1983: 395).

Rabushka considers such stereotypes as economical means for storing large amounts of information, which might otherwise be costly to elaborate or validate. .i.Stereotypes; do not vary in relation with social .i.introversion/extroversion; and are not correlated with expressed attitudes of willingness to interact. "....the holding of narrow stereotyped views in Malaya has no visible impact on either social interchange or political unity" (Rabushka 1973: 67).

From these findings, a conclusion is drawn, among others, that "multi-racial living experiences do not necessarily promote racial tolerance or political unity" (Rabushka 1973:101). The data tended to support a "transaction hypothesis" that higher levels of daily social interaction tends to promote higher levels of positive effect. On the other hand, evidence points out that social integration does not necessarily correlate with "democratic political stability"--"the transaction model does not clearly distinguish the political and nonpolitical aspects of "integration." Living in multiracial neighborhoods increases affect, whereas ethnic enclaves reduces it. Education enhances interethnic interaction, while age, religious and sexual differences have little impact "on the extent of racial integration" (Rabushka 1973:124-5).

Stereotypes provide "cognitive models" defining expectations and appropriate behaviors in situations of interethnic contact and interaction, models of reciprocal expectations of behavior that can be managed and manipulated under different circumstances to achieve status vis-a-vis the counter-reference other.

Thus, stereotypes can be expected to be employed in contexts in which alternative symbolic or behavioral realities as represented across ethnic boundaries serve to threaten and "relativize" the collective function and orientation of one's own primary reference orientation. Ackerman and Lee (1981) refer to the use of ethnic or sub-ethnic stereotypes in mutual ascription as a means of managing social identities in complex interethnic interactions and as a convenient means of rationalizing differences or handling unexpected events which occur across such boundaries.

Wallace's theory of the organization of diversity holds that a society must have developed a set of mutually shared equivalence structures that facilitate communication and interaction across ethnic boundaries, mechanisms which allow for the translation of common value across such boundaries.

It is to be expected that a complex multi-ethnic society like Malaysia will have worked out a simple set of equivalence structures for the translation of value between groups, that the expression of these equivalence structures will follow the idioms of the dominant group, or will be of Malay in expression or substance, and that they will be focus to deal with interactions across the main set of boundaries between the Malays and the Chinese.

Ethnic symbolizations are preeminently symbolisms of collective group awareness--that are a part of the collective representations of our culture by which we define all our experience, values, beliefs and relations with others in the world. The collectivizing function of such symbolizations serves to unify our experience, to render as if real the subjectivity of our awareness, and to unite this experience inter-subjectively with other people.

The Malays and Chinese can be seen to be pursuing fundamentally different strategies in the management of their ethnic identity and position vis-a-vis the other group. These strategies must to some extent be characterized by a certain amount of mutualism and asymmetrical accommodation to the other group, through reinforcement of mutual expectations and stereotypes.

What are recognizable are a dominant, semi-explicit strategy by the Bumi Malays as they are organized by and under the UMNO umbrella, and another predominantly entrepreneurial business strategy that is adopted in one form or another, and with different amounts of success, by most Chinese. Few Chinese regard a career in government or politics as rewarding or worthwhile or even very promising, while most Malays are probably too intimidated and insecure to consider an entrepreneurial business strategy with the degree of seriousness required to make such a course in life very profitable.

The very same type of attitudes which drive the Chinese to sub-ethnic and individualistic competition and achievement within a strongly, but basically open, sino-centric world, drive the Malays toward greater communalistic cooperation and co-optation over non-Malays in a relatively closed ethnocentric Malay worldview.

The Chinese community can be expected to be more divided than the Malay community by the hyphenation of its Malay-Chinese identity and by its interpositional relation between a tradition bound Chinese orientation and a modern Malaysian Chinese orientation. Leadership within the Chinese community will reflect this distribution of orientation, as well as different expectations and ideologies of involvement in the dominant national culture. It can be expected that few if any Malays will adopt a strongly pro-Chinese orientation, but more Chinese may adopt a more pro-Malay orientation, while still maintaining a sense of distinctive Chinese identity by virtue of their racial designation.

Leadership orientations and socialization for leadership appear to be also significantly different. Religious involvement and UMNO party politics describe the leadership training for the almost exclusively male Malay world of politics, while economic involvement, education and social activities provide the forum of leadership socialization among the Chinese. Chinese leadership is taking its model from the business world, Malay leadership is finding its model in the political and religious world.

Majority-minority differences can also be seen sociologically and asymmetries of relations between these two communities, and in the processes which characterize these relations. There is next to no cultural amalgamation, assimilation ,or acculturation between the two communities as these processes are sociologically defined by intermarriage, and the adoption of dominant majority culture or cultural values by the minority group. There is thus next to no national integration between Malays and Chinese, or of Malaysian society overall, occurring in critical areas. The situation in such a racially polarized society can be described as one of minimal interethnic acculturation between the Chinese and the Malays, and usually in the direction favoring Malay cultural values.

Thus, while many Chinese will dress with the sarong, frequently visit Malay hawkers and eat Malay food, and watch Malay programs and movies on television, worship local Malay spirits or deities, and while the language of almost all interethnic, government, or school interaction is now in the national Bahasa Malaysia, or in the pidgin Pasar Malay, except in the world of Chinese business which remains either dialectically Chinese or English, most Malays will never eat in Chinese places which are considered basically contaminated by the presence of pork, will not learn Chinese or watch Chinese movies, even though the Malays are probably frequently using products of Chinese manufacture or frequenting or working within businesses organized, run or owned by Chinese on a Chinese model.

The dominant model of acculturation for both communities appears neither the Chinese nor the Malay, but rather the values and facets of Western cultural orientations. Western cultural values and facets are of course adopted or effect the Chinese and Malay worlds in different ways and to different amounts.

This aspect of Western acculturation demonstrates that both Malay and Chinese groups occupy a structurally subordinate position vis-a-vis dominant Western cultures. Thus the nature of the interrelationships between the Chinese and the Malays is also constrained by the nature of the relationships of either of these groups to the Western World. To some extent it is the nature of the interethnic competition between the Malays and the Chinese for markets, opportunities, advantages, etc., in relation to the West, that we can see some of the reason for the continued polarization of the two communities for reasons other than those of a history of internal strife or irreconcilable interethnic or ethnocultural differences or racial policies.

Many of the racially motivated policies are designed to make the Malay community more competitive and more prosperous within a global market economy, and often at the expense of the Chinese, while many of the Chinese business practices in relation to foreign companies are often to the effective exclusion of Malay participation.

By policies of systematic exclusion, the Chinese have no other option but to go out and succeed in business. They begin in their business because they have no other existential option to earning their income to support their families, and then they finally figure out ways which will maximize their income and reduce their costs, ways which will never come to pass on a meager government salary or by working for someone else.

Both Malay and Chinese share a deeply rooted sense of the importance of their own cultural orientations--the vitality of culture that is intimately bound up with a sense of security, identity, feeling and reality of the self. To threaten or to question the culture is to automatically threaten and question the sense of reality of the self that is shared with the significant others of his/her world. It can also be expected that the limits of tolerance for the two cultures vary as well, such that one or the other culture may be strained to its limits of forbearance and tolerance sooner than the other culture.

The politically subordinate position of the Chinese minority entails that they are inherently more vulnerable and susceptible to victimization--to conflict and confiscation, and are less capable or willing to react violently unless pushed to an endpoint. On the other hand, the political super-ordinate position of the Malay majority, their "disadvantaged" orientation vis-a-vis the Chinese minority, and the virtually unlimited arbitrariness of their supreme authority, entails that they are more likely to respond to an uncertain situation with violence and that it would not require a great deal of friction to light their fuses.

Racial politics and multicultural rhetoric has been the principle platform of UMNO from the beginning, and remains effectively the basic strategy of its political management of Malaysia. "Economic interests are viewed in an ethnic framework come to be seen as structured by that ethnic framework. The shift is so subtle as to be easily overlooked or ignored "(Judith Strauch 1980:11).

Contemporary Malaysian society is an ideal context for the development of ethnocultural studies of human social complexity. It has long been known as a laboratory for ethnicity. Besides providing the multicultural context for studying interethnic relations, ethnic identity, etc., contemporary Malaysian society conveniently juxtaposes the modern and the traditional, the developed and the underdeveloped, the rich and the poor, native and western. Malaysian identity is also stratified on more than one level. This multi-leveled tiering is also cross-sected at many points by basic cleavages of sex, ethnicity, age, language, religion, sense of tradition, history and world-view, class, rural versus urban settings and backgrounds and the many modes of labor and production found in any modern society.

An understanding of modern Malaysian ethnoculture stems from a general analysis of the broader national patterns. The following set of basic problems are important in considering this Malaysian social patterning: 1. tropical poverty; 2. the organization of labor; 3. the dilemmas of development and dependency; 5. asymmetrical accommodation and acculturation; 6. national integration, solidarity and legitimation.

These six problems are themselves intertwined in complex ways, suggesting that there can be no simple or straightforward solutions.

The patterning and complex stratification in contemporary Malaysian society encompass a number of social differences besides race. These differences include: 1. gender; 2. age; 3. class; 4. occupation; 5. religion; 6. lineage and clan (especially for the Chinese); 7. rural-urban; 8. modern-traditional, and, 9. caste. Though these differences may not be as well marked as the more prominent ethnic 'racial' categories, they may nonetheless be basic to Malaysian society and important in understanding its social organization.

There is a relative distribution of these different factors, as well as of knowledge, values, sentiments, habits, stresses, etc., across a variegated and uneven social landscape, in many ways which may cross-cut the conventional racial or ethnic boundaries.

I introduce the Malaysian ethno-class spectrum as an ethnocultural model which consists of a social scale in which Malaysian social patterning can be defined by certain empirically overt patterns of behavior, dress, possession, class and income. This scale of being and status can be used in analyzing the overall class system of the Malaysian society, and in possibly divining some of the basic models of identity, class and social difference upon which the patterning of Malaysian society may be based.

We may use these distinctions and their implied statuses to examine alternate "profiles" or shapes of the curve defined by various dimensions of difference across the different ethnic categories. Thus Chinese men may be distinguished from Chinese, Malay or Indian women according to the differences in the profiles of each of these groups within the spectrum.

Familial patterns vary markedly among ethnic groups, and yet in all three groups a familial orientation remains strong, even central, in understanding the ethos and dynamics of the social patterning. Mobility is largely achieved not just individually, but as an individual attached to some family unit which is also relatively mobile. Familial immobility or factors of dependency may hinder or effectively block individual mobility, and individual patterns of dependency may affect adversely or positively familial patterns leading to mobility. Families may effectively work together or pool resources to achieve common, shared goals--including more than just the income of a husband and wife, but of siblings and siblings-in-law as well. The small family owned and operated businesses can be a source of much profit and eventual mobility for many hardworking families who are able to overcome petty personal differences in pursuit of a shared goal of fortune or success.

The close similarity between this model and the differences of class stratification that is fundamental in any state organization, suggests a critical connection between ethnocultural factors and class differences and what can be referred to as "class-based" consciousness. Several hypothetical considerations follow from this possible connection between class and the ethnocultural spectrum:

1. Status role identity defined by one's class position, occupation and prestige within a larger social framework is the primary determinant of the psycho-social integration and conflicts which serve to characterize the various categories of the spectrum.

2. Though class considerations underlie and affect all the different dimensions, the different profiles of alternate groups suggests that class and class-based consciousness varies significantly between the different groupings.

3. Class considerations and class-based consciousness largely underlie ethnocultural values, attitudes, behaviors and factors of familial relation in the construction of complex, stratified realities.

4. We can hypothesize the patterning of alternate ethnocultural "models" which are central to and critically influence the patterning of belief, behavior, attitudes and relations within different ethnocultural groupings and between different categories within the different groupings. The common identities, values, attitudes, styles of life, etc., are most shared within the grouping and category and serve to define the social boundaries for that grouping. We can refer to an ethnoculturally typical and corporate "class based" consciousness and stylization of patterns of living which stereotypically characterize different groupings and categories.

5. Ethnoculturally predominant patterns rooted in class stratification tend to reinforce and reproduce in a conservative manner the typical class-based consciousness and constructions of reality which preserve the overall integrity of the class system.

6. Exogenous acculturative pressures (from totally outside the social system) and endogenous acculturative pressures (between different groups and categories of people who are asymmetrical), tend to have a divisive, skewing effect upon the patterning of ethnocultural integration upon the subordinate categories and groupings, resulting in an overall shifting of the profiles of such categories and groupings, as well as of the entire class system.

7. Secondary institutions such as the news media, education and formal religious organizations will serve to reinforce the received normal order of class relations in the society, and in a characteristically Southeast Asian pattern, will define this normal order in terms of an isomorphism between the person, the ethnic group, the state and the supernatural.

8. Ethnocultural identities and relations rooted in class stratification within the state will be symbolically expressed in a number of different ways. Conflict, contradiction and "marginalizing" experiences of alternate conflictual realities that serve to delegitimate and relativize the collectivizing function of such symbolisms will be expressed symbolically in terms of an "anti-structural" order rooted in rites (i.e. religion, trancing, spirit possession, devotional worship).

Different ethnocultural models may be based upon similar factors across the social spectrum and the different ethnocultural groupings of Malaysian society. These factors are: 1. the family; 2. the primary ethnic community, including religious symbolisms, dress, shared values, food, etc.; 3. the secondary interethnic community.

Altogether, these basic factors provide a sense of obligation, emotional attachment, social screens of support and personal identity. These factors are expressed differently across the many groupings and categories and may work together to reinforce one another, or may be locked in a fundamental contradiction.

Furthermore, underlying all of these principles is the overarching principle of psycho-social integration which is critically tied to status-role identification at each of the three levels. Thus, there is a source of constant conflict between personal desires and goals and familial relations and obligations, communal interests and expectations, and super-communal commitments and loyalties.

For each ethnic category, the pressures of change and conformity to tradition will differently effect alternate ethnocultural and sub-ethnocultural groupings and identities, and thus will have an effect of rending in different directions the entire ethnic category that is constructed mainly upon the basis of a shared traditional cultural orientation.

Despite great ethnic differences that characterize Malaysia, and despite the racial politics which continue on course, evidence from participant observation and from a variety of indirect sources suggest strongly that Malaysians may actually share a great deal in common with one another on a very basic level that can be considered to be a part of a rich and elaborate national cultural heritage.

Already, there are a number of genuine "shared" values that can be said to characterize most Malaysians no matter what age, sex, or ethnic category. Most Malaysians value stability and security, family, work, discipline, obedience, propriety, communal solidarity, national achievements in development, food, religion, ethnic diversity, health, upward mobility, social status, and peaceful, polite and friendly interrelationship with a wider world--what might be referred to as social harmony.

Although there are obvious cultural differences among the different ethnic groups within Malaysia, the real boundaries of basic cultural differences, especially those of a primary orientation, are less clear-cut, and many patterns which definitely apply to the Chinese may also apply in altered form to other communities as well.

The poorer people of the Jetty seem largely caught in a self-perpetuating web of social relations that is a community adaptation to poverty and which is rooted in the common and widely shared interrelation between a number of salient factors in "primary" and "secondary" orientations of basic culture.

Primary orientation of children's basic culture is operationally defined as those patterns of child behavior and response directly tied to domestic family relations, child socialization and enculturation, parent-child relations, and which affect mostly the child's identity and ego-development. A secondary orientation consists of those adult-oriented institutions--religion, education, labor, social organization, social networks and extra-familial relations, and patterns of secondary socialization and identification, which reinforce and affect mostly adult behavior. Intermediate, pre-adult institutions specifically affecting adolescent and teenage culture must also be taken into account.

At the primary level of basic culture, there are salient patterns of strong authoritarian identification between both the parent and child, frequent and common verbal and physical punishment of children, lack of enrichment and deprivation of children tied to the lack of self-esteem, inconsistent reinforcement of behavior, and orality as a primary form of compensation.

These patterns of primary socialization are reinforced by strong nurturance, large, crowded extended family households, physical proximity and personal closeness, early socialization and enculturation in a number of community-wide habits which are incongruent with the dominant ethos of national society, including gambling, profane language, early introduction to sexually explicit knowledge, participatory involvement in certain religious rituals, a strong sino-centrism including preference for Chinese-style education, reliance upon Chinese medical practices and beliefs, a basic distrust in government and police, and a lack of trust in the efficacy of nontraditional or western medicine, lack of privacy, and widespread involvement in local patterns of gossip and external social pressures to communal solidarity and conformity, reinforced by threats and abuse.

These pattern of socialization are reinforced by high rates of early school leaving, the relative lack of opportunity, experience, training or participation within wider society, or part-time, impermanent or irregular employment only on the most menial levels of the social structure and a tendency to remain within the security of the local community versus more uncertain and stressful participation within the larger world. This pattern appears to be stronger and more prevalent among males than females, though gender inequality and the subordination of women effectively hinders their capacity to improve their own and their children's condition.

Thus, there may be a fundamental sense of a "personal lack of control" over the effective environment, a basic insecurity which may be tied to early parent-child relations and which may become extended in adulthood onto other social relations in the wider world. Furthermore, this sense of "lack of control" that may normally be rooted in the local community itself may become displaced during nearly exclusive participatory involvement in local community life onto social relations in the wider world or onto other people or groups which are considered not to be a part of the community.

Many of the hypothesized patterns described above should not be regarded as the predominant or exclusive predicament of poor Chinese, but possibly also of poor Malays and Indians as well. It cannot now be effectively determined the extent to which patterns characteristic of the Chinese may be shared by Malays or Indians, nor the extent to which such patterns may be foundational to the formation of Malaysian national culture.

I would risk making the tentative hypothesis that incomplete secondary socialization and inadequate "undifferentiated" adult ego-development results in greater compensatory reliance and dependency upon external, symbolic and behaviorally defined, communally defined secondary orientations of ethnoculture, and a basic lack of internalization of social control mechanisms or nationally oriented values or world-view.

There may thus already exist in place the potential for a more common foundation for national cultural unity and interethnic integration than is currently realized or realizable within predominantly communal and "race" oriented political policies.

A great deal of the tension present in Malaysian society can be attributed to the loss of traditional culture, especially among the younger generation, and especially impacting young teenage females. It can also be related to the alienation attendant upon the adoption of new, foreign and unfamiliar values and habits and the acculturative displacement and loss of more traditional basic patterns.

These constitute hierarchical and historical relations that cross-cut racial and ethnic boundaries, that are reified by radical ethnization and the structural reinforcement of Barthian ethnic boundaries, and that are critically tied to the inherent dilemmas of national development within a larger World System.

 


 

Symbolic Framing and Ethnocultural Gestalt

You can take the girl off the Jetty, but you can't take the Jetty out of the girl.

 

Ethnocultural models presume that cultural reality is to some extent "situated" within a specific social and historical context. If we traverse cultural boundaries, we suffer culture shock. This response is inevitable and unavoidable, even with the best of us. Not only are ethnocultural groupings contextualized by a particular period and place, as an historically rooted and socially entangled reality, but the symbolisms of ethnoculture become "planted" inside of our heads. Cultural reality occurs mostly on an implicit level--it is contextually defined and bound to rules of practice. It is therefore also an unconscious process that moves us in mysterious ways.

A number of different tasks were designed and administered upon the Jetty with the aim of describing significant patterns of response by these people. The design and inter-correlation of these tasks rests upon several related theoretical presuppositions. In some largely unknown way and to some largely unknown degree: 1. "Culture" is planted "inside our heads;" 2. shared patterns of response across a common community are significant indications of "culture"; 3. both this "sharing" of culture and its psychological correlates are "situated" and rooted in the common setting and group context of the culture bearers' daily lives.

These tasks have been constructed and grouped under an alternative theoretical framework that is only interested in these tasks as largely perceptual gestalt-like frames in analyzing the differentiation of the perceptual field. These symbolic frame tasks are capable of elucidating not just any random response, but non-random patterns of response that meet certain requirements of statistical significance in at least two ways. First, they are capable of eliciting a limited range of similar response sets between any number of people, and, second, they are capable of eliciting a relatively wide, but not unlimited range of variability both within and between these response sets. These types of response patterns I define as symbolic.

To paraphrase Gregory Bateson (1972), "structure," "order," "pattern," is anything with meaningful information, a culture, a frog, a painting, such that when we draw our slash marks through it we can guess at what is hidden on the other side by what is apparent to us on this side.

The symbolic frame battery (or SFB) was designed during the course of the field work with the intention of standardizing the elicitation of a series of different symbolic frame tasks. It was designed the aim of implementing basic controls over the administration and elicitation of response of these tasks, and in order to simplify and ensure greater reliability of analysis between individuals and of different tasks by the same individual. It was designed for the purpose of cross-cultural research based upon etically measured differences of response patterns between different cultural (or sub-cultural) samples. At the same time it may provide an objective means of measuring the relative "distance" between samples in terms of the profile of scores (and hence of the cultures they represent). Correlational patterning and differences between the samples may represent structural differences between cultural samples. This "search" for underlying structure in the response patterns of the symbolic frame protocol can be usefully extended through more sophisticated techniques such as factor analysis.

What follows is an analysis of three samples of the second revised form of the SFB as it was given to Chinese people, mostly from the Jetty (n = 35), a small sample of British students (n =14) and of Americans (n =14).

The first task were the six MPDT figure-frame images given in reverse order, following "form B" or the "parallel" version of the original task (Fuller, 1982: 101-113). In terms of scoring of reduction/enlargement of figures and of minor distortions, there were clear differences between the samples. The chi square test for significance of total left/right rotations between Chinese men and English/American men is 11.9, which is significant past the .001 level. Women of all the sub-samples show similar numbers of left and right rotations. Chi square tests between British and American totals, English and Chinese and Chinese and American all reveal significant differences between the .001 level.

Unadjusted average raw MPDT scores for the different sub-samples are: Chinese as a total sample, 22.8; English as a total sample, 14.4; Americans as a total sample, 17. These differences can largely be accounted for on the basis of educational achievement, as the American male sample is clearly the most strongly represented in the total number of years in school.

The third task was a revised version of the rotating frame task, which shows a clear bipolar pattern of response, especially for the British, and to a lesser extent, the American samples, but much more of a continuum for the Chinese sample.

There is -.7 correlation between men's and women's scores. There is a perfect negative correlation between Chinese and English, and Chinese and American scores, and a perfect positive correlation between American and English scores. Chi square comparing raw scores of American and Chinese males and females reveals a significant difference past the .001 level.

It was apparent that the adult Chinese females had the greatest consensus, followed by the Americans and the other Chinese sub-samples, while the English had the least amount of agreement. There is .9 correlation of these frequency scores between English and Chinese color patterns, a .68 correlation between American and Chinese and a .65 correlation between American and English.

The symbolic profile (Fry, 1976) consists of six small squares on the paper, each containing a different little symbol. In some of the squares the "underlying" geometric form of the symbol of the square thematically "unites" the different pictures drawn within the square, and also provides a basic form which may take many alternate shapes. A round dot can become grapes, marbles, suns, concentric circles, dots on the ends of pencils, holes in walls or tables, while small squares can become elaborated into larger rectangles--computer screens, hallways, boxes, books, puzzles or houses. From these lists basic "symbol chains" for each sub-sample can be constructed based on the most frequently occurring things across the six task items.

 

Chinese females face 13; house 12; fish and flower 6; pencil, 5; triangle 4; flag, 3.

Chinese males triangle 6; face 5; pencil 4; flag 3; concentric circles, 2

English face 13; house, boats, and suns, 5 each; eyes, 4 flower 3; kite, 3.

Americans face 13; animals (dogs, cats, snails, snakes, fish, reindeer) 12; ocean 4; flowers and house, 3.

 

The sixth set of tasks involves 5 different sets of basic items (geometric shapes, basic symbolic shapes, animals, household things, flora and fauna). The subjects were asked to select and rank from 1 to 10, and then to draw lines connecting as many items together on the page by any criteria of relationship of the subject.

There are clear, consistent individual differences in patterning of the linkages, individual consistencies that are carried over from one task to the next, as well as different overall tendencies for the different samples to link things together in fundamentally different ways. Differences in frequencies of linkages, things linked, and ratios of linkages to things linked have been calculated for the different groups. British have more average linkages than the American or the Chinese, and a higher average ratio of linkages to things linked, than either the Chinese of the Americans. Also the pattern of what kinds of things are linked to others varies considerably between different samples, and shows some significant consistencies within samples.

Across all of the tasks, the British had the highest average number of linkages per task (12.8) compared to an American total average of 8.81, a Chinese Male total average of 8.11 and a Chinese female total average of 5.97 (Chinese total average was 7.04). These averages reflect well the simple fact of different styles of linkages, ranging from the style typical of Chinese females of 1 linkage to every two separate things, to the American tendencies to form longer "chains" of linkages, and to the British pattern of forming "star clusters" and larger groupings in which everything is implicitly connected to everything else. Relatively high correlations were obtained with the scores of the different subsamples were interrelated across the five tasks, with .98 correlation or above within the three cultural groupings, and with the lowest correlations between these groupings occurring between all of subsamples and the adult Chinese males and adult American males respectively. These differences may be the result of the skewing of the Chinese and American male samples and their small size.

A similar pattern exists for the average number of things connected between the different samples, except that the Americans (12.4) are higher on average than the British (11.6) and both are higher than the Chinese total average (8.425). English males have the highest average (13.2), followed by American Females (12.5).

The ratio of linkages (N) to things linked is a better indicator of the differences of patterning between the samples, the English ratio of .97 approximates the N to N average of total connectedness. The English female ratio of 1.14 actually exceeds this ratio, indicating a tendency to form closed groupings. The Chinese sit at the opposite end of the continuum, with young Chinese females (.65) and Chinese Females in total (.69) tending toward the N to N X 2 pattern of single connections between two otherwise unconnected objects, whereas the American pattern is clearly similar to the Chinese, except that American males (.68) are more like Chinese Females and American Females (.72) are more like Chinese males (.71). Americans in general tend to form short chains of linkages, while these chains become a little longer with Chinese Males--these chains constituting an intermediate pattern between the English and Chinese female pattern with expected frequencies of N to (N + N/2).

The seventh task involves a 12 color rank order. Though similar in form to the 8 color task, it should not be considered the same--it is more complex and leads to a wider variation of choice. There is a .7 correlation between American and English scores and between English and Chinese scores, and a .5 correlation between American and Chinese scores.

The seventh task involves the three symbolic images on which the subject is asked to draw in each. Response patterns are very similar to the symbolic profile with some of the same basic qualitative differences between the samples, except that there is a greater frequency of sharing of basic shapes, and of greater thematic unity within and between the drawings.

The final task consists of six inkblots which subjects are asked to outline and detail anything that they may see in them. Form scores are the best overall indicator of performance and clear perception of "gestalt" in the inkblots. Average form score of the English sample was 26.2, compared to an American average of 23.5 and a Chinese average of 15.7.

It is evident by these scores that in terms of overall form American males do the best, followed by British females, British Males, American females, Chinese males and then Chinese females. Other total averages of relative scores of the inkblots are presented in Figure 5.

 

W.

Wd.

D.

dd.

c.

K.

M.

S.

Total English

2.35

3.4

17.1

4.2

1.15

3.2

1.6

4.8

Total Americans

1.2

4.8

14

2

0.38

1.45

1.44

2.65

Total Chinese

13

2.85

10.04

4.33

1.023

1.37

1.36

1.05

Figure 5. Average relative psychogram scores of the three samples.

Other scores include average number of whole responses (W); number of part whole responses (Wd); number of major detail responses (D); average number of minor detail responses (dd); average number of K-type responses (K);, average number of "c"-type responses (c); average number of movement responses (M); and average number of space responses (S). Comparison of the other scores is shown in the following table

Finally gross content scores include average number of the following response types: whole human (H), human part (Hd) and human object (Ho), whole animal (A); animal part (Ad); animal object (Ao); whole plant (P); plant part (Pd); plant object (Po); Object (O); Abstract-type (Abs); Shape (Sh.) and Pathonomic (Path.).

 

H

Hd

Ho

A

Ad

Ao

P

Pd

Po

O

Abs

Sh

Path

Net

Total English

2.7

6.6

1.8

7

3.8

0.5

2.7

0.4

0.3

6.8

0.7

0.3

3.3

37

Total Americans

1.9

4

1.4

7.5

5.9

0.2

1.9

0.6

1.2

3.4

0

0.2

0.8

29

Total Chinese

1.8

2

0.8

0.9

2

0.6

1

0.4

1

2.3

0.2

0.6

0.9

14

Figure 6. Average content scores across the three samples.

The small sizes of the cross-cultural samples compromises the statistical significance of their differences. But consistent differences appear to occur not only on a cultural level, but also in terms of age and sex. Basic differences between males and females emerge as important in almost every aspect of the study, and these differences suggest that many patterns of culture to be found upon the Jetty are indirectly tied to a predominant "androcentric" orientation of the culture. Differences that tend to preclude the possibilities of an alternate orientation that might be linked to the human development of women in society, not just on the Jetty, but in Malaysia and in the entire world.

There is a great deal of cultural consonance and consistency of shared values in the Jetty community. The Chinese there have elaborated a locally situated version of a wider familial model of order which has been extended symbolically, principally through their religion, to incorporate larger relations with the social, natural and supernatural worlds. There is a sense in which the mother with a cane in one hand and a candy in the other is performing a similar role as the community shaman-turned-baby God who in a state of semi-trance gives candy to the children while cracking his whip with the other hand. The Gods which protect from harm and bless the jetty people with good fortune in the lotteries or in gambling, can also punish and chastise them for going against the established way and values of the community.

The traditional Chinese order of the universe is itself not without important contradictions. Jetty society provides an entangling social web that individuals can find very comfortable, a web that may reinforce their basic insecurities in relation to the larger world. It also provides very basic mechanisms and values of familial solidarity of hard work and independence that the individual or the nuclear family can utilize to "step out" from the Jetty into the larger social world. These serve to define the basis of Overseas Chinese style "familial Capitalism" in the Nanyang.

In this we can refer to basic field dependency theory and the differences between articulated and "global" personality structures, in which the articulated personality is relatively differentiated (individually) from the surrounding nexus of perceptual relations. "To characterize a system as more differentiated implies, first of all, segregation of self from nonself" (Witkin and Goodenough, 1981: 19-20). Developmental differentiation depends upon the effective environment. It involves separate identification and sense of autonomy, an articulated concept of the body as having definite limits and of integrated but different parts, and the availability of structures for controlling impulse. It includes use of specific defenses such as intellectualization, projection and isolation, "rather than relatively nonspecific defenses such as repression and denial." Such differentiation is associated with neuro-physiological specialization of brain function.

 


Blanket Copyright, Hugh M. Lewis, 2005. Use of this text governed by fair use policy--permission to make copies of this text is granted for purposes of research and non-profit instruction only.

Last Updated: 08/22/06