Single Story

Recently, I  watched this Tedtalks video by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled ‘The Danger of A Single Story’ which I found was really useful for my research and project that I am currently working on as it touches the subject of ‘cultural authenticity’

According to Adichie, she stated that most of us gets immersed with the media where it only tell us a single story. People tend to get influenced by media and believe how the (media) portray a person or a culture, just because that is the only single story that they’ve heard. Adichie challenged us to expand more in terms of knowing a person and their cultures  by getting to know other things better than a single story.

This reminded me of situations when my friends who are from the Peninsula (west) Malaysia thought about East Malaysia (which consists of Sabah and Sarawak state). My friends who have never been to East Malaysia has always thought that the people over there live on trees, having a vision that Sabah and Sarawak are one big tropical forest. This is one of the examples on how a single story could influence people’s perception on something like how Adichie described as well.

In researching about cultural authenticity, I believe there are ways for us to break the stereotype thinking of ones culture. It is also important for us to always understand who we are and identify with our own culture as well. Towards the end of Adichie’s talk, she added that if we can reject a single story anywhere, we will regain some kind of paradise.

Video link:

[visited on 16 January 2014]


Visual Research: Tamparuli Tamu

Another interesting illustrated book written and illustrated by Tina Rimmer called The Tamparuli Tamu. This book is a good source of visual research as I am able to see the art style and the way how Rimmer portrays the Tamu in Tamparuli. (Tamparuli is a small town and a sub-district of Tuaran on the west coast of Sabah, Malaysia)

Rimmer puts he focus on illustrating the local native people through observing them while they were doing their weekly trading and what’s fascinating about this book is I am also able to get a better understanding on the lifestyles of the native people by studying their poses, movements and actions. It is also a very straight to the point way to show readers on how a scene in a Tamu looked like.


The Tamparuli Tamu by Tina Rimmer


Fig 1. Medicine, music and massage


Fig 2. Different type of fruits and also the traditional sacks carried by the native people.


Fig 3. Squatting poses by the native women. This is also a typical scene in Tamu.


Fig 4. Native women


Fig 4. Portraits of native women


Rimmer, T. (1999) The Tamparuli Tamu: A Sabah Market. The Sabah Society

Available at:

FAT2: Research

December has always been the busiest month for me and it has been pretty tough trying to balance or even find time to focus and continue with my research. But since it is already January 2015, there will be another major deadline soon hence it is time to get back into the ‘study mode’ although I am sure I’ll be having another tough time when I officially start my day job again next week. I am here in the public library once again in my hometown and currently in the midst of planning and looking for ideas to continue my FAT2 project.

I came across this book called “The Tamu: Sabah’s Native Market as a reference for this project. With relevant information and more visuals, I am planning to continue with what I left of from my FAT1 project and create a ‘campaign’ to promote this native market, mostly targeted to tourist and younger generations.


Fig 1. Sabah Tourism Board’s print ad.

The above picture happened to be on the last page of the book and upon seeing it, I’ve also decided to have Sabah Tourism Board as my potential project client to work with. Apart from that, I am also looking into re-designing Sabah Tourism Board’s brochure/booklet, applying contemporary design elements to suit my target audience. My keyword ‘authentic’ will still play an important role in this project, so I will need to work on my ideas to have the outcome that I am visualising in my head.


Fig 2. Tamu in the past.


Fig 3. Tamu in the past



Fig 4. Tamu in present day.


Fig 5. Tamu in present day.


    Fig 6. Tamu in present day.

Fig 6. Tamu in present day.

    Fig 7. Tamu in present day.

Fig 7. Tamu in present day.

Tamu offers the opportunity to meet the local people, and experience the way they live in distinctly different cultures and yet in harmony with one another and with nature.

Tamu provides ‘authentic’ encounter with the rich cultural, culinary and traditional aspects of the lives of Sabah’s many ethnic groups.


H.S, Chong., A.F, Low., (2008), The Tamu: Sabah’s Native Market, Opus Publications

Available at:

(assessed on 2 January 2015)