“Space” and Identity Creation of Thai Siam People in Kelantan, Malaysia
Keywords:Space, Identity Creation, Thainess
AbstractThai Siam group is a minority group living in Malaysia where many ethnic groups living together such as Malay, Chinese and Indian people. At the same time, they are under the rule of Malaysian government who enforces the Islamic rule strictly. To live in such pluralistic society, Thai Siam group needs to adjust themselves and manage to create their group identity.Thai Siam identity creation is an important mechanism in their struggle and negotiation with the Malaysian government to ensure that their minority status has been recognized in terms of religious, cultural, traditional, belief and language differences. Thai Siam identity creation has been adhered to the “Third Space” concept which explains that “space” is a cultural invention filled with coded space and includes a physical space or an existing empty utilized and managed by those living with interesting method. The space management method reflects their thinking method as well as the way they utilize the space in their identity creation. Therefore, this paper aims to present the “space” which is not only an empty or living space of Thai Siamese group, but the “space” is also utilized in establishment or creation of Thai Siam identity. The author studied Bangkaew community (pseudonym) as a case study to answer a question of how do Thai Siam people living in Bangkaew community (pseudonym) create their identity and how do their identity relate or adhere to the “space”? This paper defines Thai People or Siamese living in Kelantan as “Thai Siam People”. Even other researches define this group as “Thai People”, “Siamese” “Thai Thai People” or other terms, these terms mean the same definition. However, the author’s version based on the study results which found that this group defined themselves as “Thai People” but they did not live in Thailand, while Malaysian government defined them as “Siamese”, the author defines them as “Thai Siam” in this paper, accordingly.
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