To Eat Tiong Bahru Book Crowdfunding Proposal

To Eat Tiong Bahru

A proposal for a book to be crowdfunded 

Target: $8,888


I Ate Tiong Bahru, Stephen Black’s popular book about Tiong Bahru, has a sequel that’s nearly finished. Your help will get it made.

More original research, more interviews, more creative writing and more life experiences will make To Eat Tiong Bahru 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 will continue the excitement of I Ate 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 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.

The money will be used for...

- A print run of 3000 books. The dimensions will be the same as IATB.

-Cover artwork. The cover will be more dynamic than the anonymous style used on IATB.

- Proofreading and fact checking.

-ebook creation

-Food for the writer. Three years of full-time, intensive self-funded research produced the material that is the basis for this book and its predecessor. Two months of writing is needed to complete TETB. This financial amount is extremely small by book industry standards. Both books have been a labor of love.

What happens after the goal is reached?

About 80% of To Eat Tiong Bahru is finished. Once the goal has been reached, proofreading will begin, then layout. Administrative things like getting an ISBN number and creating metadata will get done. The final 20% will be written. Publicity will begin. Local and international distribution channels will be secured.

Why I’d like you to consider funding this project

Your support  allows for another factual yet creative book about Tiong Bahru to be produced independently.

It wasn’t easy to produce I Ate Tiong Bahru . No government agency would support it; neither would any publishing company, I Ate Tiong Bahru is considered to be a cross-genre “difficult-to-sell book. It’s “arty” and “experimental”. Not a straightforward history book, nor is it a novel or a food book. It’s not really a guidebook. I was unknown as a writer and not affiliated with any recognized institutions.

Now in 2014, I know that some people like it. I Ate Tiong Bahru  enjoys very small but steady sales .In another year it may be a Singaporean bestseller. The book’s mix of styles and genres has been well received critically.

To Eat Tiong Bahru faces the same challenges as I Ate Tiong Bahru. Both required a huge investment of time and resources. Simply put, I need your help to get To Eat Tiong Bahru published. I promise the writing will be the best I can do and, this time, the cover will be colorful!


$5  Postcard from Tiong Bahru from Stephen Black and a whole lot of thanks!

$10 A copy of To Eat Tiong Bahru, plus the postcard from Stephen Black.

$28 Your name acknowledged in the book as a supporter of To Eat Tiong Bahru, plus your copy signed by Stephen Black, and the postcard.

$38 A copy of I Ate Tiong Bahru plus a copy of To Eat Tiong Bahru, both signed, and the postcard.

$58 Your name acknowledged in the book as a supporter of To Eat Tiong Bahru, plus a copy of I Ate Tiong Bahru and To Eat Tiong Bahru, both signed.And that postcard!

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

$108 A customized  Tiong Bahru tour of at least two hours, for one to five people, Your name acknowledged in the book as a supporter of To Eat Tiong Bahru, plus your copy signed by Stephen Black, and the postcard.

$300 for one of five signed  11 x 14 inch digital photographic prints. A set of all five images is available for $1000

“... a spontaneous, studied and ever eloquent eye."

Xu Xi, 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize nominee, commenting upon the  hardcover  version  of Bus Stopping, Black’s photographic book about Singapore.

$800 You (or your friend) is featured in a short story or essay. Some ideas:  exploring Tiong Bahru together, a story or essay about your memories of Tiong Bahru, a dinner together that becomes an essay of the food and your associations with it;the possibilities are endless. And yes, you and a group of friends can purchase this reward together and all be featured in the writing. This reward would make an unusual and unforgettable gift or wedding present.

$1000 A customized  10 minute screenplay for an actor/actors or a  production company. Although the details will be discussed, basically Stephen Black will meet the actors (or whomever supports this reward) and  begin discussions so as write a screenplay that showcases the actor’s strong points and acting range. Although the location will be set in the interiors and exteriors of Tiong Bahru, the themes would be universal. (Note that Stephen Black has studied semi-privately with Robert McKee, considered to the foremost authority on Hollywood screenwriting. Black also starred in The Changi Murals by Boo Jun Feng and was the director of photography for Japanese legendary actress Kumiko Akiyoshi’s directorial debut. Finally, the desire here is to create a screenplay, though a theatrical script is also possible.)

Note: I would like to thank anyone who even considers supporting this book. 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. I cannot thank you enough...

One Response to To Eat Tiong Bahru Book Crowdfunding Proposal

  1. Pingback: I would probably go see Stephen Black at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival | blacksteps

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