Hainan people

The Hainan people (Chinese: 海南人), also known as Hainam nang (pronounced in Hainanese) or Hainanese people, is a geographic term referring to the natives of Hainan, the southernmost and smallest Chinese province. The term "Hainanese" was frequently used to refer to all natives of Hainan island. Hainam Min speakers often refer to themselves as Qiongwen to distinguish themselves from other groups of Hainan such as the Cantonese, the Tanka, the Hlai, etc.

Total population
5 million+ worldwide
Regions with significant populations
Hainan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia), British Isles, Oceania, Americas
Hainanese, Mandarin
other minority languages: Hlai languages, Lingao dialect, Kim Mun, Tsat, Danzhou dialect and various other languages of the counties that they inhabit
Atheism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc.


Hainanese girls playing.

Most Hainam Han people were originally fishers[1] from nearby[2] later settled in the island of Hainan, while the Lingaoese, Hlai, Tanka invaded the island earlier and were descendants of the Yue tribe.[3]

Later on Hainam Min-speaking colonists arrived and colonized Hainam island from the three districts of Xinghua prefecture chasing the native aborigines to the impoverished mountain areas. As a result of the assimilation of other dialect groups, many Hainanese genetically cluster with Han Chinese from Guangdong and Guangxi instead of Fujianese people.[4]

Similarly to Fujian and Guangdong provinces, Hainan has been a source for immigrants. Towards the turn of the 20th century, many Hainanese migrated to various Southeast Asian nations, where they worked as cooks, restaurateurs, coffee shop owners, clothes makers, sailors and hoteliers. Chan Sing, one of the "villain" movie stars that dotted the Hong Kong movie industry was of Hainanese ancestry, as was the bartender who invented the world-famous Singapore Sling at the renowned Singapore Raffles Hotel, Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon. In Thailand, prime minister Pote Sarasin, Bank president Boonchu Rojanastien, singer Nichkhun of 2PM, media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul, the politically influential Sarasin family, as well as two of the wealthiest business families, the Chirathivats and the Yoovidhyas, all trace their ancestries to Hainan. In Laos, former deputy prime minister Somsavat Lengsavad is also of Hainanese descent. Singapore minister politicians Lawrence Wong, Lee Chiaw Meng, Cedric Foo, Chin Harn Tong and Mah Bow Tan are also Hainams.



In Hainan, the local lingua franca is referred to as Hainanese.[5] Numerous Wenchang Hainanese descended from Jinshi and merchants from Putian as many of their Jiapu (family genealogies) show.[6] Standard Chinese is also the lingua franca in the island province as in the rest of China.


Numerous signature dishes such as the Hainanese chicken rice, Wenchang chicken, Hainanese pork chop, Hainanese mutton soup, Hainanese salted fish soup and beef noodle soup. Hainanese chicken rice is a recognised dish throughout Southeast Asia due to the Hainanese diaspora in these areas who famed it.

All these signature dishes are served at the various eateries located along Purvis Street, within the Hainanese enclave; as a result, Purvis Street is often referred to as "Hainan Second Street", while Middle Road and Seah Street are referred to as "Hainan First Street" and "Hainan Third Street" respectively.[7] It is often labelled as Singapore's national dish.[8]


Hainanese opera (Qiong opera) is a passion for many Hainanese, particularly for the older generation. Enriched with local flavours, Hainanese opera is part and parcel of Hainanese culture.[9]

Vintage skirt with human figures woven by the Run Li people of Hainan, courtesy the Wovensouls collection

See also


  1. Tim Doling (1972). The Annals of Philippine Chinese Historical Association, Issues 3-7. Philippine Chinese Historical Association.
  2. Koen De Ridder (2001). "Weiying Gu". Authentic Chinese Christianity: Preludes to Its Development (nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries). Leuven University Press. ISBN 90-586-7102-X.
  3. David Goodman (2002). China's Provinces in Reform: Class, Community and Political Culture. Routledge. ISBN 11-347-1270-7.
  4. "A comprehensive map of genetic variation in the world's largest ethnic group - Han Chinese". bioRxiv 10.1101/162982.
  5. "Wenchang City". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-04-15.
  6. "莆田先民移民广东海南缘由初探 - 莆田文化网". www.ptwhw.com. Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  7. Abigail Ng WY (23 March 2017). "Youth camps keep Hainanese alive". The Straits Times Singapore. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  8. Kugiya, Hugo (March 18, 2010). "Singapore's national dish: Hainan chicken rice". Crosscut. Archived from the original on 2011-08-31. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  9. Tim Doling (1996). Visiting Arts regional profile: Asia Pacific arts directory. UNESCO Publishing. ISBN 92-310-3254-2.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.