|dc.description.abstract||Zuo Bing-long (1850-1924), with the courtesy name ‘Zi-xing’ and the art name ‘Yan Zhou Leng Huan’, was the first official Chinese Consul of Singapore directly appointed by the Qing Empire. Zuo was one of the first intellectuals who received a new style education in China near the end of the Qing Dynasty. He worked as an assistant instructor in English and Mathematics at the Tongwen Guan in Beijing, a translator at the Chinese embassy in the U.K., a Chinese consul in Singapore, and the General Director of what was then called Guangdong Western Affairs Office, one of the many titles he held. Nevertheless, his achievements in life can mainly be attributed to the decade or so that he spent as a Chinese ambassador in Nanyang (Southeast Asia). His legacy is closely tied with that region. Most of his works had been lost, and the only ones passed on to later generations were 610 poems found in the seven volumes of ‘Qinmiantang shichao’ (‘A Representative Poetry Collection from the Dwelling for Diligence’), 40% of which were written in Nanyang. These poems not only describe his thoughts and emotions while being stationed in a foreign country; they also serve as regional writings on his experiences in Nanyang. Hence, they were of significance in relation to the research on the phenomenon of the literary migration that took place at the birth of traditional Malaysian Chinese literature. This is also the tenor of this paper.
This paper investigates the poetry in ‘Qinmiantang shichao’, which was written by Zuo during his time as an ambassador to Nanyang. There are six chapters in this paper, all of which, except the introduction and the conclusion, are dedicated to discussing Zuo and his poems. This paper approaches this subject—Zuo and his poems—from various perspectives: the perspective of Zuo’s biographical sketch and background, the roles and influence of literary exchanges, the literary circle of the Chinese diaspora, his writings about the Nanyang region, and his poetic style and expression of emotions. This paper then observes and analyses the characteristics of and symbolism in Zuo’s poems in terms of literacy practices and social aspects. Lastly, based on the above discussions, this paper offers certain conclusions concerning the significance and implications of Zuo’s Nanyang poems in the development of traditional Malaysian Chinese literary history.||en_US|