Jiak Kantang (eating potatoes in a foreign land )


(eating potatoes in a foreing land)

a MOTUS production

for  the  Choreografic Residency Project 2019


“Jiak Kantang” is a multi-disciplinary co-devised performance featuring dancer Neo Jia Ling and musician Tan Li Yun Jocelyn.

A commonly used slang of Singaporean Hokkien and Malay origin, the phrase “jiak kantang” is literally translated as “eat potato”, and is used to negatively refer to Singaporeans who choose to reject their traditional culture, heritage and languages in favour of more Westernised variants (e.g. choosing to eat potatoes as a staple food instead of rice, as Asians traditionally do).

In this piece, both performers explore different facets of identity as Singaporean artists of Chinese descent: Jocelyn, despite years of performing in various capacities as a traditional Chinese musician and composer, struggles with definitions of authenticity and what it means to be a good musician, whilst Jialing, attempts to examine the implications of putting forward a genuine, performing body on a stage (which in itself, is an oxymoron), that is all at once, inescapably female, and undeniably Asian.

Questioning the need for quick judgement and assumptions made on one’s character, personality and artistic choices upon surface values, the duo attempts to subvert the notions of who they are as performers/ unique individuals. Together, they aim to challenge the generic societal perceptions of identity, and by extension, confront audiences with issues of cultural appropriation, and the ways of seeing.


Choreography and dance Neo Jia Ling e Tan li Yun Jocelyn
Original live music   Tan Li Yun Jocelyn

Photos by Greta Sartarelli

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