Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 12/28/2013 18:21 | By Channel NewsAsia

Eurasian Association urges 15,000-strong community to enhance ties

Eurasian Association urges 15,000-strong community to enhance ties

Eurasian Association urges 15,000-strong community to enhance ties

SINGAPORE: Plans are underway to further strengthen ties within the Eurasian community in Singapore.

This comes amid concerns that the 15,000-strong community risks losing its identity because of its small size and the rise in inter-marriages.

Eurasians are by definition of mixed parentage, commonly between a European and an Asian.

In Southeast Asia, they are more often descendants of Europeans who arrived during the colonial eras of the Portugese, Dutch and British.

Mr Benett Theseira, President of the Eurasian Association, said: "Small size also contributes to the fact that the Eurasians who are by nature very open in terms of 'we are very open to other cultures and other influences'.

"Many Eurasians do marry outside the community, in fact the majority do. And so with each generation, the family unit gets more diluted from the Eurasian perspectives because where one parent is non-Eurasian and so the ability to pass down traditions, cultures, history gets diluted over time."

And, to address these risks, the Eurasian Association hopes to focus on community development.

Mr Theseira added: "Through the process of self-help, we hope to bring the Eurasians together to help the other Eurasians whether in areas of education or welfare that can actually help to bring in or strengthen the ties.

"The other focus in on community development and in community development we focus firstly on - just bring Eurasians together whether it is in social activities or otherwise, get Eurasians to meet each other, get to know each other, to build strong bonds because it is only by having those ties and bonds really a community can survive."

Among their initiatives, the association has invested time and effort, with the help of volunteers, to put together a heritage centre at its Eurasian Community House.

Located in Katong, the small museum showcases the culture and history - from music, local celebrities and even the language "kristang" - of the Eurasian community in Singapore.

And whether it's through music - like "Jinkli Nona", the popular Eurasian folk song and dance - or food, some in the community see themselves as guardians of the community's heritage.

At Quentin's The Eurasian Restaurant, it means keeping alive the quintessential Devil's Curry.

Mr Quentin Pereira, owner of Quentin's The Eurasian Restaurant, said: "Eurasian food is a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian with European influences, so that makes it Eurasian. Usually Eurasian food is a home-cooked meal. It is cooked with passion, it is with love, it is with care, because it is usually the mother or the father who cooks at home. A lot of this passion and love put into the food. You can say other races also do that. For the Eurasian culture itself, cooking is an art, recipes are family-kept secrets."  - CNA/de

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