Fabricating memories, narratives and identities through the good morning towel and its consumed ‘Nostalgia’ in Singapore
Tay, Nika Hui Min
Date of Issue2017
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
In recent years, scholars and experts have agreed that a nostalgia phenomenon and hype has swept across Singapore. Discussion of nostalgia has manifested in two main varieties. One, the “fuzzy sentimental feeling” exhibited in our longing for a lost physical landmark or landscape. Two, defined as a “hipster heritage impulse” exhibited through an urban sprawl of hipster cafes, fashionable stores such as Naiise or BooksActually and gentrification of ‘hip’ areas within estates of Tiong Bahru and Haji Lane. Such is the intriguing trend of marketed nostalgia that has gone seemingly overlooked and unexplored within the scholarship and discussion in Singapore, the latter being one which has manifested through a capitalistic consumption and a material production. A consumed nostalgia: a commodity, a product, a physical thing that can be bought and sold. In particular, my object and subject of focus is the Good Morning Towel. Aside from the Good Morning Towel being just a towel, it has been transformed, re-produced and re-designed into an array of ‘new’ everyday merchandises. Now, the Good Morning Towel has become a tangible commodity and relic that can be bought and consumed. In this essay, I argue that the Good Morning Towel and its numerous reinventions exist within the dichotomy of the public-private functionality-symbolism dichotomy. Furthermore, I posit that the Good Morning Towel – as an everyday object – is not one that is passive or static. But rather the Good Morning Towel has established itself as a contested ‘site’ whereby narratives, meaning-making and memories are constructed and weaved into the material production of the Good Morning Towel and its commodities. Ultimately, this essay seeks to answer two key questions. One, to explore how narratives, meaning and memories are constructed and weaved into the (material) production and commodization of the Good Morning Towel and; Two, who(s) makes nostalgia; Whose nostalgia is being exhibited and memorialized.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University