Su Yen Chong is currently the Heritage Manager of Exhibition and Research at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto. Her work encompasses curatorial research for the Moriyama Nikkei Heritage Centre and managing Sedai, an oral history database of Japanese Canadians born prior and during World War II. In 2018, she graduated from the University of Victoria with a Master of Arts under the direction of Dr. Astri Wright. Her research interest lies in the arts and culture of diasporic communities in Southeast Asia with a focus on textiles worn by women in the Straits of Melaka during the early 20th century. Her research has won the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholar grant and the Lieutenant Governor Silver Medal Award. After graduation, she worked at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to review their collection of Japanese prints, which culminated in an exhibition titled Landscapes of Edo.

Imported Pekalongan Batik Emblems of Cosmopolitanism in Imagined Communities of Straits PeranakanWomen

Batik sarong made in Pekalongan by Peranakan and Indo-European batik entrepreneurs were the garment of choice of Nyonyas, the Peranakan Chinese women of the multi-cultural cities of the Straits in the Malay Archipelago. Prior to the commercialization of batik cloth, they were primarily produced at home by the women in the family including royal women. In the royal court of Cirebon, only men applied wax onto the cloth creating designs. In Pekalongan, commercial batik workshops run by non-Javanese employed Javanese men and
women. Through the worker’s expertise and designers who were actively engaging with consumers from different ethnic background, a new genre of batik design was formed allowing the Nyonyas to communicate their distinct identity in relationship to a diasporic past through a local sartorial medium of communication. By wearing batik sarong from Pekalongan, Nyonyas communicated their interwoven local and cosmopolitan
identities.