I am not a linguist. My mother tongue is Penang Hokkien. I am doing this to preserve my mother tongue, to ensure that it survives and outlives me, and that users of Penang Hokkien will have a writing system that can be easily used on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and with that, our local culture can flourist in the form of written material, be it Facebook posts, stories, songs, jokes, and other creative material.
Penang Hokkien is a language spoken by over a million people on the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. It is similar to Medan Hokkien. Both trace their roots to Chinese refugees who fled Zhangzhou in Fujian Province in the late 17th century. The language is also closely related to the Hokkien spoken in Singapore and Klang, whose ancestors were likewise refugees but from Quanzhou in Fujian Province. Penang Hokkien existed as a spoken language until 2013, when a homegrown writing system was finally created for it. In this presentation, I want to share the history of Penang Hokkien, culminating with the effort to create an effective and easy-to-learn writing system for the language.