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Choi! Touchwood!

— the first book in the series of Singapore tradition, superstitions, myths and taboos



Jesvin Yeo

Liew JieNi

Alvin Ng



part of singapore culture & design research project


Research Project: cultural research and inquiries in intangible heritage – Part One.


Why are there bat motifs in Chinese temples?

How do you rarely find cacti in Chinese homes?

Why are red dates and melon seeds must-haves at Chinese weddings?


For many Chinese in Singapore, these are just some of the traditions, myths and taboos that shape their daily lives, and they are passed on from generation to generation. When they reached Generation X, most of these oral traditions disappeared because Generation X felt that these oral traditions had little scientific evidence. Based on this, Choi! is a project to investigate and archive before these oral traditions and practices disappear.


The outcome of this archiving work is an illustrated book - Choi!Touchwood! Through visual media, the project aims to evoke reminiscent feelings of old traditions and remind people of their childhood days when traditions, myths and taboos are a big part of their lives. Although traditions have become irrelevant in this modern, developed and globalized Singapore, it is always valuable to archive them for younger and future generations.




Choi!Touchwood! is an illustrated book that takes you on a whirlwind journey into the world of Chinese tradition, superstition and taboo. It also includes a pocket-sized guide, which is your handy companion as you traverse the streets of Chinatown.


The unique features of this book are:

•       The book jacket is designed in a way that it can be folded into two different cover designs. It can also be opened as a 430x425mm poster. The repeated pattern is composed of lucky and unlucky symbols; you may find that the unlucky number four in Chinese as part of the pattern.

•       The book sleeve can be removed and opened as a gift bag.





Together with Liew JieNi and Alvin Ng, we shared the making of the book with many Chinese newspapers and were invited by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and the National Library of Singapore to give seminars and walking tours.




book launch

book launch

book talk

book talk

cultural walk

cultural walk

Choi!Touchwood! is supported by National Heritage Board, Singapore and Chinatown Business Association, Singapore.

Research period: 2008-2009

Production period: 2009-2010

Second version: 2012 


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