Singaporean scholar Chua Beng Huat is one of Asia's leading commentators on the sociology of shopping and consumption. In a wide-ranging series of essays he explores the consumption experience in Singapore, whether that be hanging out at the town centre McDonalds, riding the escalator at Ngee Ann City, or learning how to look at price tags at Prada. Why do powerful women wear cheongsam? What is the symbolic significance of Peranakan food in Singapore? What do locally-made films say about class in Singapore?
Singaporeans will recognize themselves in these pages, as Chua looks beyond the shop windows and the TV commercials to examine how we constitute Singapore's social reality in an environment steeped in global consumer imagery.
is professor in the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore.