When Cooking Was a Crime: Masak in the Singapore Prison, 1970s—80s


By Sheere Ng

Chamber pots as cooking pots. Blankets as fuel. Cooking was no easy task for those in prison. Moreover, it was illegal. But that did not stop male inmates in Singapore’s prisons and Drug Rehabilitation Centres (DRCs) during the 1970s and 1980s. Driven by the desires for a hot meal and a sense of freedom, they invented ways and means to “masak” with the little resources they had.

When Cooking Was A Crime offers a rare glimpse into the flavors of prison life based on the memories of eight former inmates. Through photographic recreations and interviews, it explores how food and cooking took on new meanings and tastes for those living behind bars.

Copy editing by Justin Zhuang
Photography by Don Wong

Designed by Practice Theory

Published by In Plain Words, 2020

Softcover with plastic sleeves, 125 pages, full color, 7 × 10 inches

ISBN: 978-9-81-148239-7

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