To the Chinatown Preservation Society

9 04 2010

I would like to start this post with a shout out to historical preservation societies everywhere.  Granted, I know very little about these shadowy groups (although lawn bowls and angry letters to the newspaper spring to mind). But I’m assuming there was some sort of super historical preservation conglomeration that helped make this corner of Singapore the way it is.

Chinatown. It’s like a little timewarp bubble next to the downtown buildings. Little streets lined with 2-storey houses with long window shutters and red tile roofs. Night markets with lanterns strung above the shoppers below. Street stalls with dinners for $5.

The main street adjoining this area  covers off three of the four major religions within a couple of blocks. It’s like major supermarket chains competing by whacking their buildings right next to one another.  The buddhist temple is grand enough to have a street named after it, but the hindu temple is staging a lavish upgrade with enormous, exquisitely painted sculptures from their mythology, and they win by sheer number of deities to display. The mosque comes in third, I guess. (Images of Mohammed are not the current party line.)

Up the road (across squares lined with frangipani trees) are the high rises where I will be spending the vast majority of my time. Each high rise seems to hold a small town – tomorrow I will probably join a gym, buy a sim card and grab lunch without leaving the building where I work. There are so many floors that it helps to pressurise your ears, diver-style, when you’re going down to ground floor. And when you’re in the work cafeteria, you can look out the window and see the red tile rooves far below, and it’s like looking down through time.

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One response

14 04 2010
brin

song-of-a-poor visitor

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