Sinhalese in Malaysia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Singhalese are believed to be of Aryan descent. They migrated from India (Bengal, Orissa, and Gujarat) to Sri Lanka as early as the 6th century B.C. where they were known as Singhalese. The Singhalese King, court, and people converted to Indian Buddhism in the 2nd century B.C.

Singhalese, mainly jewel merchants, began migrating to Malaysia as early as 1890. Many of these early Singhalese immigrants returned to Sri Lanka after earning enough money. The Singhalese consider themselves Indians. There are no distinct physical features that set the Singhalese apart from other Indians.


What Are Their Lives Like?

In the early 20th century, Singhalese youth migrated to Malaysia with intentions of settling down permanently. Unlike the Sri Lankan Tamil, these Singhalese youth had no family or friends already settled in Malaysia to assist them. However, with the growth of Malaysia's rubber plantations and tin industries, there was an increasing demand for railroad transport providing a major source of employment to migrants from Sri Lanka. The Singhalese primarily settled in the Kuala Lumpur and Taiping where they work as drivers, security guards, bus ticket inspectors, and later on as station masters. Those with an excellent command of English work as government employees. On the rubber plantations, they held positions such as conductors, bookkeepers, clerks, and hospital assistants. There were a few Singhalese craftsmen and surveyors.

Today, there are less than 800 families bearing Singhalese names living in Malaysia. With the number of mix marriages with Indians and other Malaysian communities, the number of Singhalese continues to decrease in Malaysia. The majority of Singhalese prefer to use English and Malay despite efforts of the older generation in trying to maintain their mother tongue. Western clothing is becoming the norm among Singhalese in Malaysia, with the exception of ceremonial functions. Many Singhalese practices such as burial rites have strong Indian influences.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Singhalese in Malaysia are Theravada Buddhist and the temple is the focal point of their activities. Minorities of Christian Singhalese maintain their ties through the church. Besides the religious Wesak day (a Buddhist celebration of Buddha's enlightenment), the Singhalese Buddhist community also celebrates the New Year usually on 14th April. New Year's Day begins with lighting a lamp and placing it in a prominent position in the house and it is believed to drive away evil spirits. Certain foods are required, and it is believed that eating these foods on an auspicious day will bring one good fortune throughout the year. This custom is still practiced despite disbelief among people in their community today.


What Are Their Needs?

Though they are proud of their heritage, this small Singhalese community continues to struggle to preserve its cultural distinction as they blend more with the mainstream Malaysian society. As they integrate into the society, pray that they will be open to Indian believers and see the Truth in their lives. Pray that local believers will relate and respond to the unique needs of the Singhalese.


Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Sinhalese in Malaysia.


Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Sinhalese
People Name in Country Sinhalese
Pronunciation sin-uh-LEEZE
Alternate Names Cingalese; Singalese; Singhalese; Sinhala; सिनलीज़
Population this Country 4,700
Population all Countries 402,000
Total Countries 17
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14196
ROP3 Code 109305
ROP25 Code 307552
ROP25 Name Sinhalese
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Map of Sinhalese in Malaysia
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
3.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Primary Language Sinhala (4,700 speakers)
Language Code sin   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Sinhalese
Dialect Code 345   Global Recordings Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Sinhala (4,700 speakers)
Language Code sin   Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect Sinhalese
Dialect Code 345   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Sinhala

Primary Language:  Sinhala

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1739-1966)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1776-1991)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1823-2009)
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Sinhala Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Sinhala YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Sinhala YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Sinhala Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  The Road Provides - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  Copyrighted ©  Used with permission 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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