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Profile of Dr. Wong Yee Tuan


Academic Qualification:
Dr. WONG Yee Tuan
Assistant Professor

PhD in History, The Australian National University
MA & MA (Hons) in History, University of Wollongong, Australia
BA in History, University of Tasmania, Australia
MAJOR Business History of Southeast Asian Chinese, Southeast Asian History and History of Malaysia
  1. Business History: Malaya’s Chinese Business Networks
  2. Local and Regional Historical Research
  3. Reconstruction of Southeast Asian Histories and British Colonial Files
TEACHING SUBJECTS Research Methodology


Research Fellow, Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies Malaysia(7/2009-3/2010)
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Malaya(2010-2011)
Senior Fellow (History), Penang Institute, Penang(6/2011-3/2020)
Assistant Professor-cum-Vice Dean, Graduate School, New Era University College(3/2020- )
MEMBERSHIP OF ADVISORY BOARDS COMMITTEES / PROFESSIONAL BODIES Member of Editorial Board, Malaysian Journal of Chinese Studies of New Era University College (2020 -  )

MA: The Foreign Direct Investment of Overseas Chinese (from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia) in Vietnam: Magnitude, Reasons, Trend, and Implication, 1991-1995

PhD: The Rise and Fall of the Big Five of Penang and their Regional Networks, 1800s – 1900s.

  1. Penang Chinese Commerce in the 19th Century: The Rise and Fall of the Big Five, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies,2015.
  2. From Free Port to Modern Economy: Economic Development & Social Change in Penang (with Chet Singh & Rajah Rasiah) (eds), ISEAS & Penang Institute, 2019.
  3. Biographical Dictionary of Mercantile Personalities of Penang (with Loh Wei Leng, Badriyah Salleh, Mahani Musa, and Marcus Langdon) (eds), Think City and MBRAS, 2013.
  1. Book Review on ‘The Malayan Emergency: Essays on a Small, Distant War, by Souchou Yao. Copengagen: NIAS Press, 2016’, Kajian Malaysia, Vo..35, No.1, 2017, 133-137.
  2. ‘Hokkien Merchants and the Kian Teik Tong: Economic and Political Influence in Nineteenth-Century Penang and Its Region’, Frontiers of History in China, Volume 11, Number 4, December 2016, 600-627.
  3. The Rise and Prosperity of Penang in the 19th Century: Big Five Families’ Business Networks), (Journal of Studies on Fujianese Entrepreneurs Culture.
  4. ‘Family Firms and Brand Products in Malaysia: Originality, Productivity and Sustainability’ Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies (with Terence Gomez), 76-98.
  5. ‘Aceh-Penang Maritime Trade and Chinese Mercantile Networks in the 19th Century’, Archipel 87 (with Lee Kam Hing), 173-202.
  6. ‘Baba Hokkiens, Big Business, and Economic Dominance in Penang and its Region’, Malaysian Journal of Chinese Studies, Volume 2, Number 2, 2013, 65-76.
  7. ‘Uncovering the Myths of Two 19th-century Hokkien Business Personalities in the Straits Settlements’, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Volume.5, 2011-12, 146-156.
  8. ‘More Than a Tea Planter: John Archibald Russell and his Businesses in Malaya 1899-1933’, Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS), Volume 83, Part 1, 2010,29-51.
  9. ‘Khean Guan Insurance Company and Penang’s Big Five Families, 1855-1911’, Asian Culture (亚洲文化), No.33, June, 2009,56-71.
  10. ‘The Big Five Families in Penang, 1830s-1890s’, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Volume 1, 2007,106-115.
  11. ‘Australian Diplomatic Policy towards the Southeast Asian Region, 1945-1965’, Sejarah: Journal of The Department of History University of Malaya, No.10, 2002, 139-158.
  12. ‘The Censorship and the Truth: An Analysis of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Coverage on the World War II in the Pacific, 1941-1942’, Sejarah: Journal of The Department of History University of Malaya, No.7, 1999, 146-156.
  1. ‘The Penang’s Baba Businesses and Networks: From Regional Dominance to Disintegration and Resurgence/Disappearanc’, in ed. Leo Suryadinata, Peranakan Communities in the Era of Decolonization and Globalization, Singapore: Chinese Heritage Centre and NUS Baba House. 2014
  2. ‘Loh Boon Siew’ in ed. Leo Suryadinat, Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary, ISEAS Singapore, 692-694. 2012.
  3. ‘Penang’s Big Five Families and Southern Siam during the Nineteenth Century’, in ed. Michael J. Montesano and Patrick Jory, Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on a Plural Peninsula, Singapore: NUS Press, 2008, 201-213. (Also available in Thai language)
  1. History of Inter-Ethnic Business Relations in a Diaspora Space: Russell Family’s Businesses in Malaya as a case study,2008-2009.
  2. Biographical Dictionary of Mercantile Personalities of Penang2010-2013
  3. Towns of Malaya 2018-2019
  4. Book on History of Penang Hill 2018-19
  5. First Generation Buddhists in British Malaya: A Transnational History (The Chiang Jing-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange 2020–2022
  1. 19th-century Penang Region: The Role and Function of the Big Five Hokkien families’ Mercantile Networks, a talk presented at the Penang Seminar 2019: When the Wind of the Sinophone Blows (華夷風起:檳城文史研習營), 8 July to 13 July 2019.
  2. ‘Straits Settlements Colonial Records: Reconstruction of Business History of the Penang’s Big Five Hokkien Families’, a talk presented at Fujianese Cultural Research Group of Zhong Hua Research Centre, University of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus, Perak, 31 October 2018.
  3. ‘Research on Penang’s Chinese Business History: English Colonial Sources’, a talk presented for Wacana Penyelidikan Sejarah 2018 organized by the Universiti Sains Malaysia, 24 September 2018.
  4. ‘The Rise of Singkeh Chinese Businessmen and Their Business Networks in Penang, 1900s – 1960s’, a talk presented at the symposium on "Exploring history of Penang as a port city" – organized by Yale-NUS College and Penang Heritage Trust, 24-25 April 2018.
  5. Business Networks and Business Ascendancy of the Hokkien Merchants in the 19th-century Penang Region’, a talk presented to post-graduate students at Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur campus, 18 March 2018.
  6. ‘Mercantile Networks and Economic Ascendency of the Hokkien Merchantsin the 19th-century Penang Region’, a talk presented at International Seminar on Maritime Southeast Asia from Historical Perspective, CSEAS, Kyoto University, December 23, 2017.
  7. ‘Baba Hokkien Merchants and Kian Teik Tong: Socioeconomic Dominance and Political Influence in the 19th-century Penang and Its Region’, a paper presented at the international conference on “Secret Societies and Popular Movements in Chinese and Southeast Asian History” University of Macau, 17-19 December 2014.
  8. ‘Penang’s Baba Businesses and Networks: From Regional Dominance to Disintegration and Resurgence/Disappearance’, a paper presented at the international conference on ‘Peranakan Communities in the Era of Decolonization and Globalization’ co-organized by Baba House (NUS), Chinese Heritage Centre, and National Library Singapore on 27th September, 2013.
  9. Resource person for the members of The University of Hong Kong Museum Society Tour in George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from 9 to 12 September 2012.
  10. ‘Penang’s Chinese Diaspora: Baba Hokkiens, Big Business, Kongsis, and Regional Networks, 1800s – 1900s’, a lecture delivered to 2012 Fulbright U.S. Scholars to Penang at Penang Heritage Trust in July 2012.
  11. ‘Penang Hokkien Merchants and Indian Ocean’, a paper presented for the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Lecture Series, organized by Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore on 14 March 2012.
  12. ‘The Big Five Families in Penang, 1830s-1890s’, a paper presented at the conference on ‘The Second Water Frontier Workshop’, organized by Centre for the Study of the Chinese Southern Diaspora of the Australian National University in Phuket, Thailand, on 18-19 February, 2006.
  13. ‘Penang’s Big Five Families and Southern Thailand’, paper presented at the International Workshop on ‘A Plural Peninsula: Historical Interactions among the Thai, Malays, Chinese and Others’, organized by Asia Research Institute of National University of Singapore, Regional Studies Program of Walailak University, and Institute of Asian Studies of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand on 5-7 February 2004.
AWARDS/ HONOURS Australia-Asian Society of Tasmania Prize 1994