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.
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.
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.