University of Nottingham Malaysia
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Image of Gaik Cheng Khoo

Gaik Cheng Khoo

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts


  • workRoom EA15 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
    Malaysia Campus
    Jalan Broga
    43500 Semenyih
    Selangor Darul Ehsan
  • work+6 (03) 8725 3572


Gaik has experienced different tertiary educational systems, obtaining her B.A. (English) from The University of Texas (Austin), then moving to Canada for her MA (English) and PhD (Interdisciplinary Studies) at The University of British Columbia. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute (ARI-NUS) in Singapore in 2004-05 where she built up invaluable networks in the region before becoming a lecturer at The Australian National University where she taught gender, cultural studies and Southeast Asian cinema (2005-2012).

Expertise Summary

Gaik's work focuses on cinema and independent filmmaking in Malaysia; cosmopolitan spaces including public eating places like kopitiam and mamak stalls; race, religion and the politics of identity; multiculturalism and food. She is focusing on Korean migrants in Malaysia as exemplary of generational and attitudinal changes among South Koreans. As transnational migrants on the move for studies, work, play, or retirement, they register in complex, layered and sometimes contradictory ways, a kind of resistance to traditional stereotypes of S. Korean middle class aspirations and status. Gaik is interested in how temporality, modernity and happiness figure in their migration and settlement. Her most recent research is on a political economy of the Malaysian durian, focusing on the supply chain.

Teaching Summary

Gaik has previously taught courses on Southeast Asian cinemas, dance film musicals, Australian multiculturalism through food and sport, feminism, introduction to cultural studies.

She will be teaching transnational film and television.

Research Summary

  1. Focusing on the cultural sustainability of Penang hawker food.
  2. Korean migrant adaptation in Malaysia and the role of Korean restaurants in advancing gastrodiplomacy.

Recent Publications

  • KHOO, G.C., 2018. Bersih and Civic Empowerment in Malaysia. In: WELSH, BRIDGET and LOPEZ, GREG, eds., Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore Gerakbudaya (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia).
  • KHOO, G.C., 2018. Penang hawker food: preserving taste, affirming local 'distinction'?. In: FALCONER, EMILY, ed., Space, Taste and Affect: Atmospheres that shape how we eat 1st. Rouledge. (In Press.)
  • 2017. “The Cheapskate Highbrow and the Dilemma of Sustaining Penang Hawker Food.” SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia. 32(1), 36-77
  • KHOO, G.C., 2017. Civil Society in Malaysia. In: OGAWA, AKIHIRO, ed., Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia. Routledge.

Past Research

Independent filmmaking in Malaysia, the meaning of Malaysian "Gangnam Style" parodies, co-edited a special issue on

"New Ethnoscapes and different forms of belonging in Malaysia" for Citizenship Studies.

Co-authored a book Eating Together: Food, Space and Identity in Malaysia and Singapore with Jean Duruz (Rowman and Littlefield, Dec 2014).

Future Research

Building on notions of cosmopolitanism as a form to transcend racialisation, Gaik wants to continue exploring new ethnoscapes in Malaysia and to see what kinds of relationships there are between citizens and non-citizens in real-life as well as in films. Her current work on Korean restaurants and Korean migrants in Malaysia is part of this research. She hopes to return to writing on film, specifically work, migration and affect and the representation of non-citizens in future.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

University of Nottingham Malaysia
Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih
Selangor Darul Ehsan

telephone: +6 (03) 8924 8000
fax: +6 (03) 8924 8001

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