- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.43, no.4, pp.374-396, 2006-03-31 (Released:2017-10-31)
About forty years ago, Edgar Wickberg, in his pioneering and seminal work on the nineteenth-century Philippines, established how the Chinese had emerged as a commercially powerful foreign group in a Spanish colonial setting, while the Chinese mestizos had risen as a “special kind of Filipino” to support Philippine national awakening toward the turn of the century. Recently, scholars such as Richard T. Chu have questioned the identity of the Chinese mestizo as a “special kind of Filipino.” Chu argues that Chinese mestizos at the turn of the century had multiple, fluid, and ambiguous identities and cannot be said to have had a simple Filipino identity. He concludes that the Filipino identity as a nation was only established definitely after 1910. This paper identifies some of the particular historical factors that brought about the social rise of the Chinese mestizo as an uniquely Spanish colonial being distinct from the “chhut-sì-á” or “tsut-sia” of later years. This paper also shows that the “Chinese mestizos” Wickberg had in mind were not the same “Chinese mestizos” that Chu deals in his recent works, and suggests that the study of overseas Chinese or Chinese overseas can be relevant to Southeast Asian Studies only when it is placed in a historical context and perspective.