The Mandarin term “华巫印” is an abbreviation to refer to Chinese, Malays and Indians.
In Singapore and Malaysia, usage of the term reflects the region’s unique multi-racial societies.
The characters “华” and “印” refer to the Chinese and Indians respectively. As for the use of the character “巫” to refer to Malays, it is said that this first appeared in ancient records of the Chinese voyages to Nanyang (present-day Singapore), in which the Malays were referred to as “巫来由”. The term “巫来由” is the transliteration of the Malay word Melayu . The transliteration of Melayu into “马来” or “马来由” only appeared later on.
Use of the character “巫” to refer to Malays is more common in Malaysia, and has given rise to other terms such as “巫族” (the Malay race), “巫人” (Malay person/people), “巫裔” (people of Malay descent).
Click here to view references for Chinese, Malay, and Indian
guān yīn mā
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