“Kopi, che pui!”
This is what my dad usually says to the lovely old aunties who work at our local ‘kopitiams’. The sentence above is actually in Hokkien, a dialect known by many of residents over here. It directly translates to “One coffee, please!” (which is also “咖啡，一杯!” in Mandarin)
Kopitiam, is one of the slangs we usually use over here in Malaysia, means “Coffee Shop”.
Unfortunately, Kopitiams are a dying thing nowadays.
The younger generation are big consumers of coffee and tea these days as it sustains them in their studies or work and it helps keep them awake for longer periods of time. Aunties and uncles from ages 50 and above do not really need to consume as much coffee anymore as their bodies cannot take such a massive strain anymore by clocking in long hours with little sleep every day.
Apparently, the younger generation prefer frequenting Western or high end places like Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The older generation on the other hand, don’t really like to frequent these places as the prices of coffee there are often (to their demise) quite pricey. The younger generation apparently care more for the ambiance and brand of the coffee rather than the originality of the coffee itself; The older generation are fine though with drinking normal, unadulterated coffee, as they only crave the oh-so-familiar aroma and scent of ground coffee beans.
With the younger generation now being unsubconsciously lured into the “Starbucks mentality”, small kopitiams just cannot compete with the big players in the market.
Most kopitiams don’t provide services like Wifi and air conditioning. That is a big turn off to youths and working adults. In addition to that, working adults prefer a comfortable and cool environment which is available in cafés when discussing trade deals with business partners than a hot and humid one, as the environment can affect a person when making a decision and maybe risk the reputation of the company.
But as these big franchises continue to grow and thrive, the local kopitiams slowly lose business and will soon close down one by one. Those people who survive on this business will soon go bankrupt. For all we know, the kopitiam business if the only business they have.
To prevent them from going out of business, there is only one thing we can do: By giving them OUR business.
I’ll give you 3 reasons why you should go to a Kopitiam:
1) Kopitiams make good breakfast spots. Almost every kopitiam offers you the most classic meal to kick start your day: a steaming cup of coffee, a plate of toast and a portion of half-bowled eggs. The perfect combination for a light and healthy breakfast.
2) You don’t have to break your wallet for a good cup of coffee. Although you most definitely won’t get anything fancy, like an Iced Mocha (Iced Milo anyone?) or a Frappuccino, if you don’t mind just drinking normal, ordinary coffee, then the coffee at a local kopitiam is the best option.
3) The pace of life in a Kopitiam is slower and more laid back. So head there if you feel like cooling off during your break time. Reward yourself with some peace and quiet and a well earned cup of coffee. It’s also a good time to sit down, unwind and have a real conversation with your pals without constantly being distracted by emails or messages on your phone. Just make sure you don’t sit too near to the regular goers — super chatty uncles!
Kopitiams are part of the Chinese culture here in Malaysia, just as Mamaks are to the Indian culture and Warung to the Malay culture. How can we just let them die after having such a rich history of a few hundred years?
Calling all Malaysians! Please remember to support our local kopitiams! 😃