Friday, August 03, 2007

Chinatown- Singapore

A big thank you to all my friends who sent me birthday wishes...thanks for remembering...^^

I took the day off last week and went down to Chinatown, a place I normally go only during Chinese New Year. There are quite a few changes and it's more touristy now. At the same time, I must admit that the whole place is alot livelier...

Chinatown Heritage Centre

I've actually passed by this place numerous time but have always given it a miss as I thought it was just another one of those place meant for tourists.

But my good friend, YL, actually recommend it so despite my reservations, we decided to visit it.

Somehow this made me think of the famous TCS drama- 雾锁南洋 (starring 黄文永 & 向云)。

The Chinese Heritage Centre records the history and lives of those who used to live in Chinatown. Most of them would be migrants, who came seeking for a better life. It was actually quite fascinating to read about the hardship and vices of these early migrants. But I think it could have done with a little more actual display. The more interesting sections would be the video clips of interviews with various types of people who used to live or continue to live in Chinatown (including a samsui woman and a hawker) and the recreation of living quarters in the shophouse.

I have these bowls too..^^

The recreation and restoration of the cramped, dark and unhygenic living quarters of a typical shophouse was the highlight of the whole museum. I'm totally amazed (and shock) how 12 to 15 familes could live together in such tiny area. I'm not sure how they survived. But then my grandparennts and their children lived in similar quarters too though my aunt told me that theirs was slightly better and it wasn't in Chinatown.

The musuem shop was so-so. Entrance fees is $10 (which is way too expensive) but if you flash your POSB/ DBS card, you get 50% discount. Not sure if this promotion is permanent though. Here's the website for you to check out- Chinatown Heritage Centre. There are some more information and pictures on the site. Ok lah, I think well worth my time spent there.

We had tea and coffee in this coffeeshop, just opposite the heritage centre and I had a heart attack when I paid for the drinks.

$1.50 per cup!!!!

This is daylight robbery...just because there were lots of tourists sitting in the coffeeshop. This was just your regular tei or kopi, served in your regular kopitiam cups. Of course, to the tourists...$1.50 probably is nothing. I'm definitely not stepping into this coffeeshop again.

Expensive kopitiam

We continued on our journey of Chinatown. I didn't know that the street stalls have become permanent. I thought they were only there during the festive season. So 'sua koo' right? But the stalls are really targted at the tourists lor..nothing very interesting. At least not to a local like me.

Street stalls....beginning to look like 'Ladies Street' in Hong Kong

Hehe! Someone told me that this shop is special....

Toys for the living....

Toys for the dead....

What's Chinatown without dimsum right?

One thing I did like about Chinatown is the restoration of many of the shophouses. The architect is really beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs J

I too walk passed the Heritage Museum many times without going in.

Last year when my cousin & niece from Taiwan came over, I decided to join them and was quite impressed too.

Anyway, I visit Chinatown quite often with my parents, its just my ways of keeping them company at places that they are familiar with. Those pictures of yours are actually familiar sights to me too.

Maybe you can bring Mr J along next time, maybe he will have some interesting opinions of the place too...just maybe....

take care & thanks for sharing!!

the silent visitor
jc (^_^)/~

yeelee said...

it's a bit strange, i too wouldn't have visited that place if not for my foreign visitors last year
in fact i visited it 3 times within 6 months!
one of my visitors asked a good question…how did the couples manage to do "it" when the rooms were divided by only those thin wooden planks huh?

when i was young, i used to stay at a grand aunt's place in tanjong pagar so the heritage centre did bring back some good memories. i will always remember the tidbits/cigarette stall that sat outside the house …and the fat cat…and the python…and playing with the dough meant for making youtiao…yeah! ^_^

jc, obviously mr J went with her lah

tiffany said...

JC... I did go with Mr J.

He enjoyed it too. But Chinatown has changed alot...sometimes I think it's for the better... sometimes it's for teh worse.

tiffany said...


did you say python playing with the dough meant for youtiao?

That's gross!

yeelee said...

we the kids played with the dough lah! the python was in a cage…i can't understand why they kept a python in the house then. as a pet? for wat huh?