"The Straits British Chinese - a community which emerged in the
colonial Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore) -
constituted a truly unique blend of Chinese, Southeast Asian and
European cultural identities, manifesting the tradition of hybridity
which has long marked coastal populations along the Straits of Melaka.
The subjects of this volume, Yeap Chor Ee and his family members, were
key figures in this cultural milieu from the first half of the 20th
century, an age when the community flourished. The central thread of
this book - the life of Yeap Chor Ee, the "merchant prince of Penang"-
touches on a multitude of people, events and businesses which extended
from trading to banking, and sugar refining to property development.
Locating this account ofYeap Chor Ee in the pulsing commercial centre of
pre-war Penang, and in a Malayan peninsula which was undergoing rapid
change, Daryl Yeap has sketched a portrait not only of this famous
towkay, but of a society. By introducing us to the prominent Penang
families, to family politics and practices, education, cultural
hybridity, festivals and food, and placing these in the wider context of
the social changes and political events affecting both the island and
the region, she provides us with both a Yeap family history and a
broader story of Penang. Together these present an enthralling and
edifying contribution to Malaysian history."
- Geoff Wade
Historian, author and translator
"The King's Chinese
is an important book that fills in much of the tapestry and colour of
early history of family and business in Penang, Malaya and Indonesia.
Daryl Yeap writes with a keen eye for detail to weave the rise of a
penniless immigrant barber who rose through sheer wits and ability to
become one of the most successful tycoons in Asia. The stories of the
tumultuous age of boom, bust, war and independence are brought alive
through the intertwined careers of Yeap Chor Ee and his Javanese
business partner and in-law Oei Tiong Ham. A great contribution to
Malaysiana and Penang history."
- Tan Sri Andrew Sheng
Distinguished Fellow, Asia Global Institute, The University of Hong Kong