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Kopitiam Culture in Klang

English 2 (ENGL 0205) Assignment 2


Kee Zhong Jian (0309584) Tan Jia-Qi (0310107) Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei (0310050) Goh Yee Thong (0310044)

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Content Page
1. 2. 3. Research Report Attachments Reference List pg 1 pg 11 pg 12- pg 15 pg 16- pg 17

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Research Report
Over the past 60 years, the culture of kopitiam plays an important role in life of every Malaysian. Kopi, in Malay means coffee whereas tiam in Hokkien means shop. The common perception about the kopitiam is that it is a place where people start their day by sipping a cup of coffee, perusing the newspaper. It is a place where the true local Malaysian culture can be shown and a media for the culture to merge together among different races. We chose two kopitiams in Klang, Cheong Foh (located in Lorong Gopeng,Klang) and Chong Kok( located in Jalan Stesen Klang) for research and have drawn a few conclusions in addressing these following questions: 1.What is the origin and history of Cheong Foh and Chong Kok kopitiam? 2.What are the signature foods in kopitiam? 3.What is the targeted market and who are the main customers? 4.How does the business promote and advertise its products? 5.What are the main threats/competition to the kopitiams and the strategy of facing the competition? 6.How does technology affect the kopitiam? 7.What is the future plan of kopitiam? These review on kopitiam as trade and business are based on these questions. What is the origin and history of Cheong Foh and Chong Kok kopitiam?

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word origin means the ancestry or the point at which something begins or rises or from which it drives (Merriam-Webster, 2013). A quotation by Marcus states, A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. The origin or family history of Cheong Foh began in year 1950s. The founder of Cheong Foh was the descendant of Hakka and Teochew, the unique ethnic groups of "Han" Chinese. Hakka are thought to be one of the earliest "Han" settlers in China. During the long migration history of 2000 years, the Hakka people have also married with other ethnic groups and adopted their culture. For this case, the founder of Cheong Foh is the fusion of the two different ethnic groups. Until now, Hakka people preserve certain cultural characteristics that could be traced to pre-Qin period as expressed in the custom, spoken language and food culture. The Chao Zhou people which commonly known as the Teochew are native to the Chao Shan region of eastern Guang Dong province of China who speak the Teochew language. The shop is operated by Mdm. Goh Shw Hui, daughter-in-law of the founder of Cheong Foh with assistance of her son. Mdm. Goh was previously a teacher teaching English at a local primary school. She then took over the business when her father-in-law passed away. She was unfamiliar with the operations of Cheong Foh, but with her hard work she was able to cooperate and manage the business well. The location of Cheong Foh has changed three times before the shop that currently located at Lorong Gopeng. The shop was first located under the Klang Bridge then it was shifted to Jalan Nanas. It was then moved to Lorong Tapak for renovation purpose.
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

The next coffee shop, Chong Kok was first founded in 1940. With the history of 70 years, Chong Kok is the most established coffee shop in Klang. The founder himself was a Hainanese. In the past, the traditional occupational of the Hainanese group was coffee shop operators. The 1930s was a pivotal period for the overseas Chinese population in Malaya due to two remarkable developments, which are the Great Depression and the China National Salvation Movement. (Book News, 2009). The Hainanese Chinese were among the last to make their way to British Malaya, beginning in the late 1800s and continuing into the early 20th century.(Eating Asia,2012). Majority of them were exposed to various cultures such as the Peranakan culture and the British culture, by working as a cook in the rich British military camps and also in the homes of wealthy Chinese. In Singapore and Malaysia, the term Peranakan refers primarily to Straits-born Chinese- that is, to those born in the former Straits Settlement (specifically Singapore, Melacca and Penang) or in the former British Malaya and their descendants.(Encyclopedia Britannica,2012). The founder of Chong Kok was one of them. He was once a sailor during the British colonization. He worked as a chef on the ship and learnt to cook in western style. Hence, he adapted the British style breakfast with Hainan style and here goes the born of Hainanese coffee shop concept. Chong Kok is operated by the third generation of the family with no relocation involved. During the 1940s, Chong Kok was once named as Chong Kok Hotel because the rooms at the upper floor were for rent and there was a restaurant and bar at the ground floor. It was then converted to Chong Kok coffee shop. What are the signature foods in kopitiams?
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

In terms of traditional Hainanese breakfast, there are three important components which are the coffee, toast with kaya and butter spread, and half-boiled egg. It is believed that coffee is originated from Ethiopian province of Kaffa. The coffee culture in Malaysia is rather special. There is a need to specify the order in local kopitiams. One will actually get a cup of milked coffee, which is served with great amount of condensed milk while one orders Kopi. In order to get a taste of the local baked coffee, one has to mention Kopi-O while taking order, O is black in Hokkien dialect. Hainanese derived their recipes in preparing the best coffee after learning the habit of drinking coffee was introduced by the British. The Hainanese cooks could often afford only cheap beans, they enhanced their aroma by wok-frying them with butter (or lard) and sugar. ( Tan,2012). Coffee can be brewed in various style and the methods are originated from the Europe. According to Kummer (2003), the examples of coffee brewing methods are the manual filter method, which involves dripping of coffee from the filter, and the Chemex, which was introduced by Peter Schlumbohm involving the usage of a handblown glass coffee maker with an-hour glass shape. In traditional kopitiams, the freshly brewed coffee is poured into the coffee filter net. Both kopitiams has their recipes on frying the coffee beans. The recipe created by the founders was not leaked to any outsiders as it is the key of winning the customers heart. Coffee beans in both Cheong Foh and Chong Kok are fried by outsiders and packed in small packages. It enables the tourists and loyal customers to brew the coffee on their own. The charcoal toasted loaf of bread with thick butter and kaya(coconut jam) spread is one of the signature foods in kopitiam culture. Kaya, has the other name
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

which is called sri kaya, in Malay which means prosperous in its colour of golden. The main ingredients of preparing the coconut jam are coconut milk, duck or chicken egg and sugar. It is also essential to add pandan leaf to enhance the aroma of kaya. Origin of this mouthwatering spread is Indonesia or Malaysia as all the ingredients can be found locally. Miller et al.(2010) suggested that kaya has a creamy textured and available as golden brown or green coloured depending on the amount of pandan and extent of caramelization of the sugar. Duck eggs are used in producing kaya spread in Chong Kok and Cheong Foh as it will create a smoother texture. According to owner of Cheong Foh, Madam Goh, 200 duck eggs are needed one day in order to cater the crowd. The mixture of coconut milk, brown sugar and duck eggs are constantly stirred in a huge boiling pot by the worker to ensure the well mixture of coconut jam. What is the targeted market and who are the main customers? Basically, both Chong Kok and Cheong Foh target local market. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the total population of Klang is 744062 in year 2010. Statistics also show that the population by age group of 0-19 is 255719; age group of 20-29 is 164511; age group of 30-59 is 277777; and age group of 60 and above is 46109. From our observation, both Chong Kok and Cheong Foh customers age group range from 30 to 70. Klang is a developed township and a high percentage of residences involve in construction, plantation and service industry. Blue collared workers are the major customers as the food in kopitiam is affordable for them. In the year of 2010, the population of Malay, Chinese and Indian is 335739, 190854 and 140519 respectively. Customers of Chong Kok are from various ethnic group as it
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

serves a variety of halal foods like Nasi Lemak or Nyonya cake. In contrary, Cheong Foh serves mainly Chinese food such as soup noodle and chicken rice. Consequently, only Chinese and Indian customers visit Cheong Foh. Chong Kok and Cheong Foh target customers of the middle income group. According to the statistics done by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the average percentage of household by income class in year 2009 is RM4, 025. There are tourists visiting both kopitiam from outstation during the weekends due to the promotion and reviews online. How does the business promote and advertise its products? Chong Kok and Cheong Foh Kopitiam find that they need all three components of marketing communications such as promotion, advertising, and public relations, in some combination. In order for their business to succeed, they generally promote their products or services to the same customers that their competitors are targeting. Cheong Foh and Chong Kok Kopitiam consciously utilize public relations as a way to obtain free advertising about their products and services. What is public relation? Often, it gets confused with advertising, yet advertising is a very different medium and can be defined as the antithesis of public relations. Public relation is the art of managing perceptions and building relationships with the people who use your products, where both Chong Kok and Cheong Foh rely much on the recommendation of the customers. Both kopitiams package their coffee beans and homemade kaya and sell them to their customers. Moreover, Chong Kok Kopitiam always update its website to avoid visitors encounter outdated material, difficulties with navigation, and poor layout.
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Also, regardless of company size, Chong Kok Kopitiams blog includes a News and Events section. This is a place to release its news and events. Its website has updated biographies and photos of company management and a contact email and phone number for media inquiries. In order to be successful in their public relations efforts, they also introduce themselves to key media. They are familiar with all the reporters, broadcast and print, that would potentially cover their company or brand. Before introducing themselves to a reporter, the kopitiam owners claim that it is essential to be fluent in what the reporters regularly write about, what reporters have recently said that they could reference, or to offer a counter position that makes their business or products more interesting. Besides, there is social food web that offers free tools to help them attract and reward customers. For example, Foursquare has millions of business listings, all submitted by customers who go to those places. Customers will pin their location, price, cuisine, distance ratings and reviews, links to websites. Customer use foursquare to check-in, which is a way of telling people their whereabouts, some customers even pin the Kopitiams location, distance, ratings and reviews, and website links. When people are searching for great meals and great places to go, they look to Foursquare for recommendations; it is a great way to help people discover Chong Kok and Cheong Foh Kopitiam as they are already very famous in town. What are the main threats/competition to the kopitiams and the strategy of facing the competition? Cheong Foh and Chong Kok Kopitiam are competitive with respect to price, value and promotions, service, location, and food quality. There are a substantial
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

number of restaurant operations that compete with them for customer traffic, some of which have significantly greater resources to aggressively market to consumers, which could result in their concepts losing market share. Consumers are highly focused on value and if other restaurants are able to promote and deliver a higher degree of value, their guest traffic levels may suffer, impacting revenues. In addition, with improving product offerings at quick-service restaurants and grocery stores, coupled with the present state of the economy, consumers may choose to trade down to these alternatives, which could also negatively affect revenues. In order to counter the competition with new kopitiams, Chong Kok always keeps their ears open. Many restaurants reviews only get passed on through word of mouth, so they listen to what people are saying, both on the street and at their business. Often times, customers in their kopitiam will be talking about the competition in comparison with where they are currently eating. They also ask their servers and other staff to keep their ears open for any comments like this. But overall, both Kopitiams do not face really big threats and competition as they are well established and well reputed. How does technology affect the kopitiam? In terms of technology, a minimal amount of technological knowledge and machines are required to run the traditional coffee shop businesses. According to the owners of both coffee shops, Closed-circuit television (CCTV) system is used in the shop for security purpose. This is because Klang has always been known as a place with safety issues. (Chng, 2012) On the other hand, to prepare the food in the shops, the owners have chosen not to use any machines and remain using the manual way of
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

cooking food and brewing coffee. It was said that no changes are supposed to be made to the food including the method of cooking to preserve the original taste of traditional kaya. Therefore, the kaya is stirred and cooked manually in the shop every day. Besides that, one of these coffee shops also opened up a website to promote its food and update food lovers on their new product and so on. Such way of advertising is definitely helpful towards their business as it is free and the information can be spread easily online. Other than that, reviews given by authors online can also bring a big impact to the coffee shop businesses. A good review can help in boosting the shops popularity and reputation while terrible ones can close you down. (Doward, 2012) In conclusion, we can say that the technology does help in bringing positive impacts and benefits to the traditional coffee shops. What is the future plan of kopitiam? According to the owner of Chong Kok coffee shop, they have decided that their shop is most likely to remain more or less the same and has no plans of expanding the business any bigger in the future. This is because they believe that the old and authentic style of the shop is one of the main reasons why people like to visit their coffee shops. They also hope that these old style coffee shops will not be replaced by the new coffee chains as this industry is growing fast with restaurants like Paparich and Old Town White Coffee opening up. These new coffee chains adapt the traditional cuisine into their modern designated restaurants and provide a more comfortable and hygienic environment for their customers to eat in. They are also well spread in all around the country with franchises. As for Cheong Foh coffee shop, it has a branch
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

nearby which is a more modern coffee shop managed by the owners son. The new branch serves the same food as its headquarter but provides a better environment for its customers. In conclusion, Chong Kok and Cheong Foh coffee shops are two very similar shops with some differences. One of the biggest similarities between Chong Kok and Cheong Foh coffee shops is that both of the shops were opened for more than 50 years and are now being managed by the 3rd generation owners. Both of the shops also have similar opening hours which are from around 7am in the morning to 6pm in the evening. According to the owners of both, their customers are multiethnic and wide in age range. The shops are usually busiest in the morning as their customers love to have breakfast in their shops before going to work or study. Besides that, Chong Kok and Cheong Foh coffee shops are also famous for their bread, toast and homemade kaya. Both shops have their own special recipe and way of making kaya which are left by the founders of the coffee shops. They have been using these recipes since they opened up the coffee shops and no changes are supposed to be made to remain the taste of the traditional kaya. Their kaya is revealed to be made of duck eggs and is cooked manually everyday in the shop without any high technology machines. On the other hand, there are also a number of differences between Chong Kok and Cheong Foh coffee shops. First of all, Chong Kok coffee shop is run by a Hainanese family while Cheong Foh coffee shop was founded by a Hakka. Therefore, there is a difference in the menu of these two shops. Chong Kok coffee shop serves their food in Hainanese style and offers a much wider variety of dishes such as
FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2 Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Hainanese Chicken Chop, nasi lemak, malay kuihs, and even homemade cheesecake. On the contrary, a Cheong Foh coffee shop only serves basic toast with butter or kaya, all the other food are served by the individual food stalls in the shop. Besides that, Chong Kok coffee shop hires foreign workers to work in their shop including the kaya and coffee makers. On the other hand, Cheong Foh coffee shops baristas and kaya maker are local people, one of the barista is even the shop owners relative. It was said that most of their workers have worked with them for a long time. Other than that, Chong Kok coffee shop has never relocated its shop before. According to the owner, Chong Kok was previously a hotel in the 1940s and the ground floor, which is currently the coffee shop, was previously a bar in the hotel. Contrastingly, Cheong Foh coffee shop was relocated for a several times before it moved to its current location. It was said that the food stalls owner also followed them every time they move. The kopitiams displayed the food culture in Malaysia and it is certainly a valuable asset for Malaysian to preserve and embrace.

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Attachments:

Figure 1. Group photo with Madam Goh Shw Hui and her son

Figure 2. Interview Session

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Figure 3. Cheong Foh Kopitiam counter

Figure 4. Process of Kaya making

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Figure 5. Kitchen in Chong Kok Kopitiam

Figure 6. Chong Kok Kopitiam

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Figure 7. Counter of Chong Kok kopitiam

Figure 8. Nasi Lemak stall in Chong Kok Kopitiam

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

Reference List
Asiawind, 1995. Hakka - An Important Element of Chinese Culture. [online] Available at:< http://www.asiawind.com/hakka/> [Accessed 16 January 2013] Book News. (2009). Journal of Chinese Overseas, 5(2), 381-384. Retrieved January 22, 2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.taylors.edu.my/ehost/detail?sid=7568070c-c4174208-887eeafdc256ee05%40sessionmgr12&vid=7&hid=126&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZS ZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=a9h&AN=52743539 BrainyQuotes, 2001. Marcus Garvey Quotes. [online] Available at:<http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/marcus_garvey.html> [Accessed 18 January 2013] Chng, B. (2012). Klang folk living in fear. Selangor Times, Retrieved January, 22 2013 from http://www.selangortimes.com/index.php?section=news&permalink=20121012101914klang-folk-living-in-fear Department of Statistics of Malaysia. (2010). Household Income And Basic Amenities Survey [figures]. Retrieved January 18, 2013 from http://www.statistics.gov.my/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=164 0%3Ahousehold-income-and-basic-amenities-survey-report2009&catid=42%3Apublications&lang=en Doward, J. (2012). How online reviews are crucial to a restaurant's takings. The Guardian, Retrieved January, 22 2013 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/02/ratings-boost-restaurants Eating Asia, 2012. On Hainanese Cuisine, Or How Chicken Chops Became Comfort Food in Malaysia, [online]. Available at :< http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2012/01/malaysian-hainanesefood-how-chicken-chops-became-malaysian-comfort-food.html> [Accessed 22 January 2013]

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong

English Project 2- Comparative Report FNBE March Intake 2012

In Peranakan. (2013). In Encyclopdia Britannica. Retrieved January 23,2012, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/451004/Peranakan Kummer ,C. (2003). The Joy of Coffee: The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcour. Retrieved January 23, 2013 from http://books.google.com.my/books?id=qNLrJqgfg7wC&dq=brewing+of+coffee&source= gbs_navlinks_s McQuillan, M. (2008). Picasso. In Oxford Art Online Encyclopedia. United States: McGraw-Hill.Retrieved February 25, 2009, from http://www.oxfordartonline.com. Miller,F.P., Vandome, A.F., & John, M. (2010). Coconut Jam. Germany: VDM Publishing. Retrieved January 23, 2013 from http://books.google.com.my/books?id=r1cjYAAACAAJ&dq=coconut+jam&hl=en&sa=X& ei=3Bf_UJ2aD4r9rAeym4DACw&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAw Portal Rasmi Majlis Perbandaran Klang, 2010. Maklumat Taburan Penduduk. [online] Available at:<http://www.mpklang.gov.my/web/guest/taburan_penduduk>[Accessed 18 January 2013] Tan, Cheryl.(2012). A Ritual for Starting the Day in Singapore. Retrieved 23 January, 2013 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.taylors.edu.my/ehost/detail?sid=3989e165-a1dc4c86-a23f8e5eb13dadd7%40sessionmgr14&vid=5&hid=25&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZS ZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=fsr&AN=77419974

FNBE SEPT 2012 - ENGL 0205 English 2

Names of group members: Kee Zhong Jian; Tan Jia-Qi; Jocelyn Tan Wan Wei; Goh Yee Thong