Koping with Changing Times:The Viability of George Town’s Kopitiams for Modern Consumers
研究論文 Research Paper
This article is an analysis of the traditional coffeehouses, locally known as kopitiam, of George Town, Penang, Malaysia. I examine various issues which surround the sustainability of kopitiams with respect to the emergence of other types of coffeehouses that have since given customers more options in dining outside of home and of coffee consumption, with arguably more comfortable experiences. I also look at whether these iconic coffee shops are more representative of one ethnic group than others in Malaysia, given that non-halal food is usually sold in kopitiams, a culinary feature that hinders the patronage of Muslim customers. This article is primarily guided by Sharon Zukin’s notion of authenticity in examining how customers construct and experience authenticity in kopitiams. Authenticity in kopitiam is linked to preconceived spatial and temporal images that customers draw. I argue theoretically that seeking ‘authenticity’ leads to their varied coffeehouse experiences.