Found in the crooks and corners of the streets in Malaysia, there are establishments that offer a glimpse into the country’s heritage and the locals know it as “Kopitiam”.

KOPITIAM

Kopitiam [“kopi”, Malay for coffee, and “tiam” Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) for shop] is a traditional coffee shop where the locals start their day. The Kopitiam serves a simple breakfast menu that consists of charcoal-toasted bread with kaya paste, half-boiled eggs and homemade coffee. It tells the story of how immigrants from China came to Nanyang (“south sea” or South East Asia) in the late 18th century, a land they saw as a heaven for prosperity and a life-changing future for their family. Kopitiam is the evidence of a melting-pot culture started by the Hainanese immigrants who called Malaysia their second home. Societies collided and new cultural practices were formed as the local's and the immigrant's lives intertwined.

RESEARCH AND PROCESS

Inspired by the Kopitiam's down-to-earth interior and unique material culture; this collection acts as a medium to revisit my childhood memories, to trace my heritage, and to preserve the rich history and nostalgic value attached to these establishments. The collection envisioned a nostalgic representation of 3 generations within a family within the setting of a Kopitiam through the materiality and the reiteration of traditional crafts.

© 2017 by Chia Lee

© 2017 by Chia Lee