Chrita Dulu Kala

Publications such as this ‘chrita dulu kala’, loosely translated as ‘stories from ancient times’, were written for popular reading at the turn of the 20th century right upto the 1950s. Written in serialised format, chrita dulu kala featured famous Chinese folklore, legends and historical epics such as ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’, ‘Water Margin and ‘Journey to the West’ written in Baba Malay - a unique Malay creole with substantial Hokkien (Chinese dialect) influence. These books are not published any more. The author-translator of this publication was Chan Kim Boon, who was one of the more prolific and well-known authors of chrita dulu kala. Chan was an example of a Baba who, although educated in an English-medium school, was well-versed in Chinese literary traditions through Chinese lessons held at home.While the general readership of Chrita Dulu Kala was generally thought to be male and educated, it is possible its contents reached a wider audience. Some older Peranakans today recall being told stories from these books by their elders.

Early 20th century
Image size: L: 16.2cm x W: 10.0cm x H: 1.0cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Chan Soon Cheang, Mr. Chan Soon Hin, Mdm Chan Swee Chooi in memory of the late Mr. and Mrs. Chan Eong Beng
Rare Books