The King's Chinese: From Barber to Banker, the Story of Yeap Chor Ee

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The King's Chinese: From Barber to Banker, the Story of Yeap Chor Ee

Author: Daryl Yeap
Publisher: SIRD
ISBN: 9789670076355
Price: RM55

Book Description and Praises:

"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

About the Author
The great-granddaughter of Yeap Chor Ee, after a career in banking and finance DARYL YEAP returned to Malaysia to work for the family business, during which time she helped to establish the House of Yeap Chor Ee, a Penang-based gallery of social history on the Overseas Chinese of Malaya. It was during this time that she began to research into the life and times of Yeap Chor Ee, which formed the material for, The King’s Chinese. DARYL is currently working on her second book, on Oei Tiong Ham, the Sugar King of Asia, and his remarkable daughters.

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