Woods in the Books
Posted on May 10, 2020 by woodsinthebooks on blog!, Elf Reads

#BuySingLit, Read Our Stories: Understanding Singaporeans — Why Do Malays Avoid Pork?

This post is part of our series for the duration of the Circuit Breaker measures to shine a spotlight on SingLit books that we find to be uniquely encouraging. If you already own the book, perhaps you might want to dig out your copy to read again. If you don’t already have it, we’ll drop a link to our online catalogue below.

Over the next two weeks, we’re spotlighting books that celebrate our Malay friends and neighbours. As part of our Circuit Breaker series, we hope these books will remind us to be kind, mindful, and encouraging of each other during this Ramadan period. Happy reading!


The Understanding Singaporeans series works off a simple premise. Over the span of twenty questions, each of the four books explains cultural festivals and customs practised by races in Singapore. Why Do Malays Avoid Pork? focuses on the cultural practices of the Malay community in simple, factual language aimed at readers from age 7 and above.

The questions span from ‘Who fasts during Ramadan?’ to ‘What does gotong royong mean?’ Every question is answered in a two-page spread, which is filled with bold lines and bright colours, written in prose that’s easily digestible but never condescending. The art style is bright and cheery without being overly elaborate and pairs perfectly with the text, conveying visual information directly as possible.

Small ‘Did You Know?’ sections appear at the end of some spreads in bite-sized paragraphs, giving readers further context and avenues to research without bogging down the text. There’s also a compact glossary of Malay terms and basic greetings to help readers learn more. 

While the premise of this book seems simple, its very simplicity forms the building blocks of empathy. When we understand our differences, we begin to appreciate each other as a society. The Understanding Singaporeans series is the first step in that direction.

Other books in the series include Why Do Indians Dot Their Foreheads?, Why Do Eurasians Love Sugee Cake?, and Why Do the Chinese Shout Yam Seng?, which are great books for readers of all ages who want to learn more about the multicultural diversity that makes Singapore unique.


To purchase the Understanding Singaporeans books from Woods in the Books, WhatsApp us at 88152446.

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