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The Interpretation and Standardization of Place Names by Chinese in Singapore and Malaya: A Study of Lat Pau, 1887-1932

Wee Chuen PEK (New Era University College)
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Through a close study of the place names in the "Lat Pau", this article aims to discuss the formation of the geographical knowledge among the Chinese immigrants between the 19th and early 20th centuries. Lat Pau was the most influential Chinese daily newspaper during the time. It was headquartered in Singapore and widely distributed in the Malay Peninsula and its surrounding areas. Most of the newspaper's content is related to various parts of Southeast Asia, including many of the newly-opened regions. Many of the place names that are well known today were still fresh for the Chinese at that time. Thus, the Chinese immigrants were inevitably involved in the process of interpreting and standardizing those foreign place names, and many new place names were therefore created. Having collected the place names appearing in the Lat Pau and supplemented with other place-name materials, this article discusses the standardization process and spatial distribution trends of these place names and shows the formation and changes of the early Chinese immigrants' geospatial view.

Journal of History and Anthropology