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Arts

They arrived in Southeast Asia, built fortunes and kept secrets

Now Peranakan descendants are trying to preserve a rich culture

The unique Peranakan aesthetic can be seen in fashion, food, architecture, tableware and accessories. (Photo by Yoshiyuki Tamai)

It was during the 15th and 16th centuries that men from China's Fujian and Guangdong regions emigrated to a new world opening up along the Strait of Malacca. Some dreamed of striking it rich as traders. Others were merely looking to escape poverty or to flee after experiencing crop failures.

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