Historian Wang Gungwu: Being at home with multiple identities

Prof Wang studying at home in Green Town (left) in Ipoh after the end of the war, and (right) at age seven or eight in Ipoh. He spent his boyhood in the colonial quarters of Green Town when his father accepted a job as a school inspector and moved th
Professor Wang Gungwu reveals in a recently published memoir, Home Is Not Here, that he had once felt at odds with his identity in the years of his childhood and adolescence straddling Indonesia, Malaysia and China.ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
Prof Wang studying at home in Green Town (left) in Ipoh after the end of the war, and (right) at age seven or eight in Ipoh. He spent his boyhood in the colonial quarters of Green Town when his father accepted a job as a school inspector and moved th
Prof Wang studying at home in Green Town (above) in Ipoh after the end of the war, and at age seven or eight in Ipoh. He spent his boyhood in the colonial quarters of Green Town when his father accepted a job as a school inspector and moved there from Surabaya in 1931. COURTESY OF WANG GUNGWU
Prof Wang studying at home in Green Town (left) in Ipoh after the end of the war, and (right) at age seven or eight in Ipoh. He spent his boyhood in the colonial quarters of Green Town when his father accepted a job as a school inspector and moved th
Prof Wang studying at home in Green Town in Ipoh after the end of the war, and (above) at age seven or eight in Ipoh. He spent his boyhood in the colonial quarters of Green Town when his father accepted a job as a school inspector and moved there from Surabaya in 1931.COURTESY OF WANG GUNGWU
The book is available in Singapore at Kinokuniya and other leading bookshops for $25.68, inclusive of GST.
The book is available in Singapore at Kinokuniya and other leading bookshops for $25.68, inclusive of GST.

Home to historian Wang Gungwu has evolved into a many-layered concept over the years

Growing up in Ipoh, Perak, Professor Wang Gungwu had always seen home as a country.

After all, the Mandarin phrase for "country" - guo jia - places the Chinese character for "nation" right next to "home".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 09, 2018, with the headline 'Being at home with multiple identities'. Print Edition | Subscribe