Kin Groups and Descent. In Chinese society, descent is patrilineal, and each child is given his or her father's surname, one of the Chinese "100 surnames." With the exception of Singapore and Malaysia, Chinese in Southeast Asia have been urged or required to adopt non-Chinese names as a step toward identification with the nations in which they live. Many surname groups have kongsi that maintain genealogical records for that surname, though the importance of this aspect of identity has waned somewhat.
Kinship Terminology. The extensive and detailed Chinese kinship terminology distinguishes members of the patrilineage from matrilateral kin, as well as marking generation and birth order. Maintenance of the Chinese kinship terminology is a fundamental aspect of a claim to Chinese identity for creolized Chinese such as the long-resident Baba community of Melaka (Malacca), Malaysia.