To Eat Tiong Bahru Book Cover/Artwork Proposal

A Book Cover for To Eat Tiong Bahru

A proposal for a commissioned artwork to be crowdfunded on Avvio

Target: $800


I Ate Tiong Bahru, Stephen Black’s popular book about Tiong Bahru, has a sequel that’s nearly finished. It’s called To Eat Tiong Bahru. And it needs a cover.

A striking cover will allow a second fundraising campaign (for actual publishing) to begin. For now, though, the goal is to commission an artist to create an artwork. That artwork will become the cover as well as the basis for a limited edition print.

To Eat Tiong Bahru features more original research, more interviews, more creative writing and more life experiences; it will be another “must read” for anyone who enjoys great writing about  the food and culture of Tiong Bahru, Singapore and Southeast Asia.

“... the anecdotal tales you have recorded jump back at me through time. It is a rare occasion when I get the opportunity to meet someone who is so dedicated to writing up the heritage of the area with stories from the street.

Donald Wyatt, resident of Tiong Bahru since 1942

“… I Ate Tiong Bahru, your exquisite ‘lyrical documentary’ on Tiong Bahru, gave me many hours of pure pleasure… I wish I’d read it before visiting the estate, and still in Singapore so I would be able to go there again. It’s in Paris that I read it, and followed all your descriptions and encounters, street by street, on my detailed map of Singapore… I loved your book.”

-M.Abreu, urban scientist

“ I Ate Tiong Bahru is a must-read for gourmets, architects, historians and just about anyone who wishes to learn more about this evolving neighborhood.”

-5 star review on Amazon

“.. reads like a travelogue, a personal story and a history book... a pleasure to read.”


To Eat Tiong Bahru, and the cover you help make, will continue the excitement of I Ate Tiong Bahru.


red and black text, Palatino bold

graphic statement about To Eat Tiong Bahru, teh sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru

What will the cover be like?

Colorful! Descriptive! Charming! Thoughtful! Contemporary!

Scenes to be featured include The Tiong Bahru Market, Yong Siak Street, a typical coffee shop, architectural highlights, “Tony’s”, the Monkey God Festival and The Hungry Ghost Festival and morel. Kite flying on the roofs, a bit of the Bukit Merah Fires and other historical scenes too.

And you! (Check the rewards section.)


The money will be used for...

To create the cover artwork, three steps are necessary: creating and finding photographs, layout tests and actual creation. The cost for the artist/illustrator cannot be exactly determined at this time. Frankly, the budget means that either a fantastic artist/illustrator will work at a special rate or we can find a  promising young artist/illustrator who would like exposure and a great portfolio piece. Either way, photographing, researching and testing are necessary.

Once the artwork is made the poster will be created. The feel of the cover will be light-hearted and contemporary, with a little surprise.


What happens after the goal is reached?

We start an Avvio campaign for publishing!

And, the poster will go on sale, with a portion of the profits going to the Tiong Bahru Benevolent Association. For more than thirty years, this all volunteer group has been feeding and helping the elderly and low income families in Tiong Bahru.

About Stephen Black

An artist/writer/photographer/producer, Stephen Black has been based in Asia since 1984 and has lived in Singapore since 2002. His artworks and images have been shown, published and collected around the world and he has worked with Annie Liebovitz, Kazuo Ono, Michelin three-star chefs, CNN, Cartoon Network, Fox, Fuji TV and France 2. His other books include Obama Search Words, Furikake, Bali Wave Ghost and Contact With Shadow. A fictional biography that he co-wrote featured prominently in Michael Lee’s Office Orchitect installation which premiered at the 2011 Singapore Biennale and has since been shown regionally. The co-founder of 3how, a music/theatre performance ensemble, Stephen co-produced 3how: The Riverwalk Session, a spontaneous recording session by Amith Narayan, Curtis King, Bani Haykal and award-winning vocalist Wilson Goh.

Online until February 2015 is SPOKEN, a co-production with Eugene Soh, that is a phenomenon of art, creative writing, social media and virtual reality.


Online at until February 2015 is SPOKEN, a project Stephen co-produced with Eugene Soh. A phenomenon of art, creative writing, social media and virtual reality, SPOKEN features contributions from Yasumasa Morimura, Stelarc, Sjon, Nhung Walsh, JUMPTHECUT, Lagos 2060, Buke and Gase, Vincent Leow, Irving Paul Pereira, Xu Xi and other dynamic creatives.


About To Eat Tiong Bahru

Like its predecessor, To Eat Tiong Bahru will skillfully merge anecdotes, historical research and loving explorations of food. The book will be a rojak of snapshots of daily life, snippets of information, essays, written portraits, short stories and food tips.

For example, the story of Singapore’s first rock and roll band, Ronnie and the Burns, will be revealed for the first time. The long vanished Chinese School is brought to life through interviews and research. Also included is Donald Wyatt’s breathtaking story on how his family outran the Japanese across Malaya to become one of the first families to live in Tiong Bahru. These and other factual essays contrast with lyrical short stories that include one about a Danish woman who fancies herself to be the Diane Arbus of Tiong Bahru, circa 1974. Other short stories feature a narcissist, the Monkey God, a very wealthy Indonesian and cats.

Why I’d like you to consider funding this project

Over four years of research, interviews and life experiences have gone into these books about Tiong Bahru. All this work was self-funded. Although the first book has been well-received, the reality of the situation is that, without your help, To Eat Tiong Bahru cannot be published. Your support of the cover/art edition is a beautiful way to support a notable independent project about Singapore, while adding to your art collection at the same time.

The first book cover symbolized the white architecture  of the Estate. It was anonymous, with no information except the title. The cover was meant to be an intriguing challenge.The cover of To Eat Tiong Bahru, however, will be dynamic! Festive scenes, depictions of everyday life and private moments will make the cover artwork eye catching and informative.


$5  An original  photographic postcard mailed from Tiong Bahru and signed by Stephen Black and a whole lot of thanks!


$35  A signed copy of the poster plus the postcard from Stephen Black.


$80 A customized  Tiong Bahru tour of at least two hours, for one to five people.


$180 Be in the cover artwork and in the poster! Your caricature will appear in a Tiong Bahru scene. Eating in the market, walking down Yong Siak, watching the Monkey God Festival parade etc.If you have a request of how you want to be pictured, let me know. However, first come, first served, so get your request in soon, lah. Great gift idea! Limited to 12


Note: I would like to thank anyone who even considers supporting this project. And, if you do think To Eat Tiong Bahru is worth supporting with your hard-earned dollars, I am extremely grateful and honored. I will do my best to make it the best reading experience possible for both Singaporeans and an international audience. Getting the cover artwork finished would be a great help. I cannot thank you enough. Sincerely, Stephen Black

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