What remains intact, when long-established communities largely cease to exist, in any meaningful sense, in the places where they had become established over several generations? Across maritime Asia, from the 16th century onwards, ethnically, linguistically , culinarily and culturally distinctive, creolised Eurasian communities steadily evolved as a direct consequence of European colonial rule throughout the region. Within the branches of a single family tree, initial European ancestors could encompass Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, British, French or – as the centuries slowly passed, and rulers superseded one another – a melange of several distinctive backgrounds. Asian heritage also varied widely among these communities; as extended families steadily intermarried, migrated to other colonial territories in search of better economic opportunities, and established themselves there permanently, new languages were acquired, dietary and other domestic customs modified to suit local conditions, and another variant group evolved. With the passage of time, these Eurasian communities simply became part of the places where they were born, lived their entire lives, and then lay buried in cemeteries mostly populated by their own kith and kin. For more than three centuries, documentary evidence that charted these Eurasian foundation stories could be found right across Asia; whether in church records, administrative reports, memoirs, novels – Eurasians were everywhere. Or they were until, within a few decades – they mostly vanished. Mixed-race children and how they are perceived is focus of photography show Since these hybrid communities came into existence as a direct result of a European presence right across Asia, unsurprisingly they also mostly disappeared – at least as distinctly recognisable entities – in the decades after European rule ended, and new nation states were formed. Many Eurasians had survived and thrived over time by doggedly and pragmatically hanging upon the coattails of their territory’s erstwhile rulers – an unpalatable, indisputable fact. Formerly tolerated patterns of inherited racial arrogance , economic and linguistic privilege , and petty power did not endear them to their successors-in-power. Who was the ‘Grand Old Man of Hong Kong’ and how did he make his fortune? New ethnic identities, along with radically improved manners towards “the natives”, had to be found; many found their new circumstances untenable, and departed. In particular, the Indo community largely ceased to exist in Indonesia by the end of the 1950s; either they moved to the Netherlands, when Dutch nationals were expelled in 1957 , or became culturally Indonesian – no third category was officially permitted to exist. Hong Kong society – as ever – was binary; as one elderly Eurasian once bluntly and bitterly explained to me, “depending on looks, we either fitted with the white or with the yellow; it all came down to something as basic as that, in the end. There was no middle ground in Hong Kong.” Some may say that – if anything – this racialised distinction has only become more pronounced in recent years. Hong Kong ‘a barren rock’? Who first used the famously dismissive phrase? From the late 1940s onwards, from India and Ceylon to Southeast Asia and China, those Eurasians who could “pass” for white emigrated to Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In the effort to forge new lives in the wake of decolonisation, pan-Asian origins were often downplayed, if not actually denied. While sporting prowess, “come-one-come-all” party-loving gregariousness and an enduring fondness for their own distinctive homestyle cuisines were retained, other cultural markers were sloughed off like an unwanted skin. From the late ’40s to the ’70s, the local Portuguese community in Hong Kong met a similar fate; hollowed out when dozens of families left, mainly for North America and Australia, their formerly distinctive social habits, food customs and way of life also vanished from the local scene. In most new countries, a few die-hards persisted with their old lives in the face of change; with the passage of time, these relics gradually became quaint cultural curiosities pointed out to newcomers, before they finally passed away themselves. Once-thriving, sought-after members’ clubs slowly decayed into melancholy gathering points for a dwindling band of ghostly stayers-on, instead of the vital community hubs these institutions once were. But little else remained.