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Eating Together: Food, Space, and Identity in Malaysia and Singapore

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Accepting the challenge of rethinking connections of food, space and identity within everyday spaces of "public" eating in Malaysia and Singapore, the authors enter street stalls, hawker centers, markets, cafes, restaurants, "food streets," and "ethnic" neighborhoods to offer a broader picture of the meaning of eating in public places. The book creates a strong sense of th Accepting the challenge of rethinking connections of food, space and identity within everyday spaces of "public" eating in Malaysia and Singapore, the authors enter street stalls, hawker centers, markets, cafes, restaurants, "food streets," and "ethnic" neighborhoods to offer a broader picture of the meaning of eating in public places. The book creates a strong sense of the ways different people live, eat, work, and relax together, and traces negotiations and accommodations in these dynamics. The motif of rojak (Malay, meaning "mixture"), together with Ien Ang's evocative "together-in-difference," enables the analysis to move beyond the immediacy of street eating with its moments of exchange and remembering. Ultimately, the book traces the political tensions of "different" people living together, and the search for home and identity in a world on the move. Each of the chapters designates a different space for exploring these cultures of "mixedness" and their contradictions-whether these involve "old" and "new" forms of sociality, struggles over meanings of place, or frissons of pleasure and risk in eating "differently." Simply put, Eating Together is about understanding complex forms of multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore through the mind, tongue, nose, and eyes.


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Accepting the challenge of rethinking connections of food, space and identity within everyday spaces of "public" eating in Malaysia and Singapore, the authors enter street stalls, hawker centers, markets, cafes, restaurants, "food streets," and "ethnic" neighborhoods to offer a broader picture of the meaning of eating in public places. The book creates a strong sense of th Accepting the challenge of rethinking connections of food, space and identity within everyday spaces of "public" eating in Malaysia and Singapore, the authors enter street stalls, hawker centers, markets, cafes, restaurants, "food streets," and "ethnic" neighborhoods to offer a broader picture of the meaning of eating in public places. The book creates a strong sense of the ways different people live, eat, work, and relax together, and traces negotiations and accommodations in these dynamics. The motif of rojak (Malay, meaning "mixture"), together with Ien Ang's evocative "together-in-difference," enables the analysis to move beyond the immediacy of street eating with its moments of exchange and remembering. Ultimately, the book traces the political tensions of "different" people living together, and the search for home and identity in a world on the move. Each of the chapters designates a different space for exploring these cultures of "mixedness" and their contradictions-whether these involve "old" and "new" forms of sociality, struggles over meanings of place, or frissons of pleasure and risk in eating "differently." Simply put, Eating Together is about understanding complex forms of multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore through the mind, tongue, nose, and eyes.

34 review for Eating Together: Food, Space, and Identity in Malaysia and Singapore

  1. 4 out of 5

    Max Loh

    A good book on food culture in Malaysia and Singapore, and how we built our respective identities around it. I was especially interested in how economics and development shaped the food culture in Singapore and Malaysia, and the commodifying of food culture to appeal to a more global audience. Highly recommended for readers interested in food culture in Malaysia and Singapore from a social studies standpoint.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    This book adopts a semi-Bourdieuan approach to considering how foodways and foodscapes intersect with issues of not only class, but also race and national identity. The ethnographic slant of the book may be slightly dense, but there is a good mash of empirical perspectives layered with theoretical discourses. A very interesting read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tito Quiling, Jr.

    It took about two years for me before I was able to get a copy. From the time I saw this one in Kuala Lumpur, I finally got a copy in Yogyakarta, to which I started reading on the way home to Manila. With two subjects intersecting, an interesting conclusion came about as histories between Malaysia and Singapore, similar food cultures as well as familiar spaces were underscored throughout the chapters. Both the authors anchor on the existing historical data in terms of the pre-divided peninsula, It took about two years for me before I was able to get a copy. From the time I saw this one in Kuala Lumpur, I finally got a copy in Yogyakarta, to which I started reading on the way home to Manila. With two subjects intersecting, an interesting conclusion came about as histories between Malaysia and Singapore, similar food cultures as well as familiar spaces were underscored throughout the chapters. Both the authors anchor on the existing historical data in terms of the pre-divided peninsula, in which these countries share a significant amount of cultural markers. From kopi tiam to Tamil Muslim eateries, to urban villages, and inflections of Chinese tastes--there is a generous amount of background provided that helps the reader throughout the narratives. What makes this book riveting to read through are the inclusion of personal narratives interwoven with the passage of time that reflects the changing mindsets of Singaporeans and Malaysians and how cultures continue to mix. Moreover, whether one looks at individuals and groups of people, it is how food and familiar places create a distinct recognition, and a sense of self, which makes up one's identity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kwan Qi Xiang

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aziff

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  7. 4 out of 5

    Najah MD Alwi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Han Ming guang

  9. 4 out of 5

    Belen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lara Larara

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dinesha

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Ng

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chandravani

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chen Bernard 陈家喜

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chrys

  17. 4 out of 5

    muteclamor

  18. 5 out of 5

    Yu-Mei Balasingamchow

  19. 4 out of 5

    AJ Calhoun

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Rackowitz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liy

  22. 4 out of 5

    François De la bellevie

  23. 4 out of 5

    JC

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zee

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fatin Nadrah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Harry Shi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jia Ling Pan

  28. 4 out of 5

    yamu

  29. 4 out of 5

    Agnes Tan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Cruz

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sonny YW

  32. 4 out of 5

    Zhang Jingrong

  33. 4 out of 5

    Enochq

  34. 4 out of 5

    Bri

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