Singapore's Chinatown

One of the things that remain impressive to me having visited Singapore many times is the preservation of heritage buildings by retaining the exterior architecture. Many of these heritage buildings have the recognizable style of windows and today there could be restaurants, bars, and boutiques that occupy these buildings. In Singapore's Chinatown, the building preservation is no different. Each storefront has their windows painted uniquely so that each store carries its own character and personality. People will say this is probably the cleanest Chinatown they've been to (but of course, this is Singapore we're talking about). Ironically, we've heard laments from a few friends who see this environment as too "artificial" and they long for the old days where the streets felt more "natural". Well, the old days are not going to come back though one can always continue to romanticize the past. For now, we still have these buildings (no matter how overly preserved they may be, if there is such a thing) to cling on to that offer a glimpse of the past. The main commercial strips of Chinatown are along Pagoda Street and Temple Street.

The area beyond the main commercial strips have evolved into a night spot destination among the young professionals. Who ever says that Chinatown is not a place to hang out in the evening? Along Erskine Road and Ann Siang Road are boutiques. Club Street has intimate eateries offering European cuisine and these establishments that take on the colorful facade of what one would expect of Chinatown.

Perhaps my most favorite part of all is how true diversity is reflected in Chinatown. In the multicultural fashion of this city state, there are three different places of worship located on the same street in Chinatown. The Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, Jamae Mosque, and a Chinese temple are located just a block from each other along South Bridge Road.

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