DOI: 10.1177/12063312231210176 ISSN: 1206-3312

Vihara: The Making of Social Space for the Chinese and Malay Communities in Pekan Labuhan

Morida Siagian
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Urban Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies

This article describes the creation of social space in the historical area of Pekan Labuhan of two ethnic groups, Chinese and Malay. The existence of two viharas (Chinese monasteries), Siu San Keng and Liat Sim Kong, and a row of Chinese-style shophouses were some of their heritage sites in Pekan Labuhan. The social relations between the Chinese and the Malay communities became strained after the political developments. Eventually, for their respective interests, the two ethnicities found ways to interact harmoniously. The viharas have turned into a social space that restores the harmonious relations between the two communities. At the same time, the viharas became a tool of struggle, where the Chinese’s interests in security and existence and the Malay’s need for living space were brought together.

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