Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Guide To Singapore Chinatown

January 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Singapore 新加坡

With its gleaming high rise buildings, Singapore is one of the most modern cities in Asia. The tiny nation state, with its mixed population including Chinese (77%), Malay (14%) and Indian (7%) is a case study in multiculturalism.   Everyone here lives and works together in harmony.  Only in Singapore can one see a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple and an Islamic mosque all in close proximity to each other.  The country has four official languages being English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.  One of the great advantages of such a multiracial scene is that there are different ethnic neighborhoods to check out including Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.  All have their own distinct flavors in little shops, markets and cuisine.  In addition to restaurants, there are outdoor food vendors which serve very low priced meals so one can dine well at any budget level.

In a way, the whole city of Singapore is predominantly a Chinese city, but Singapore’s Chinatown is an ethnic neighbourhood featuring distinctly Chinese cultural elements and a historically concentrated ethnic Chinese population. Chinatown is located within the larger district of Outram. Although Singapore Chinatown is considerably less of an enclave than it once was. However, the district does retain significant historical and cultural significance. Large sections of it have been declared national heritage sites officially designated for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The name Chinatown  is usually used by non-Chinese Singaporeans whereas Chinese Singaporeans usually use the term Niu Che Shui since the term Chinatown usually refers to enclaves of Chinese people in regions where Chinese people are the minority ethnic group.

Chinatown Heritage Centre
The Chinatown Heritage Centre occupies three lovely old restored shophouses in the ethnic quarters of Chinatown at 48 Pagoda Street (open daily 9.00am – 8.00pm). The Centre revives memories and stories of Singapore’s early inhabitants. Each level of the takes you to a different era in the history of Singapore and allows you to trace the lives of its early occupants with displays showing life in the early days, including the evils of opium smoking, prostitution, gambling and secret societies. Enjoy a beverage in the Centre’s Kopi Tiam or select a memento at the shop from a range of unique traditional souvenirs.

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