China's growing efforts to tug ethnic heartstrings raise eyebrows abroad

Growing up in Singapore, Mr Chan Kian Kuan always took pride in his Teochew heritage - the dialect, the cultural traditions and the famous steamed fish. But after visiting his ancestral village in Teochew, in Guangdong province, China, and seeing the progress there, he became truly proud to be not just Teochew, but also Chinese.

"It's very messy. We are Chinese, but we are Singaporean, too," said Mr Chan, vice-president of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, a clan association in Singapore. "When China becomes stronger, we feel proud. China is like the big brother."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2018, with the headline 'China's growing efforts to tug ethnic heartstrings raise eyebrows abroad'. Subscribe