18 December 2006

Cultural Heritage Tour

So Mr and Mrs Wang decided to take the little kids to Chinatown. You know, so that they will appreciate our cultural history, Asian values and all that.

Along the way, we stopped by an McDonalds outlet for breakfast. Then just a few doors away, I noticed this shop:

Click to enlarge. The picture, I mean.

Isn't that funny? This being a country where the government tells us that people are supposedly so conservative that we need laws that impose life imprisonment on gays.


Anonymous said...

Crawled out of the rock recently Mr Wang? Chinatown ain't like what it used to be. Get used to it.

I loved Chinatown as a kid. Last time they got lots of video game stores in those old shopping centres. I got my first console, a Nintendo set, there.

And those odd chinese herbal shops with their characteristic smell, they intrigue and fascinate me.

Those dirty, run down shophouses, the old theatres, they mesmerise me.

A wet market ( I mean really WET) that sold live chickens and seafood. The fishes were swimming and twitching as you bought them. My mother bought a live turtle for some homemade turtle soup.

Those days are gone, and Chinatown is now a culturally dead town with sleaze. Even the tourists find it sterile, especially those who have visited in the past.

Anonymous said...

I can't really put my finger on it, but I do feel that Chinatown, with its previously not-that-hygienic streets and shops, along with those non-renovated shophouses were better at presenting the real side of our history.

Those renovated ones had new tenants, which might well reflect this age and time, rather than what we would have loved to conserve with the renewal plan anyway.

I don't really know about the sleaze part, since the last time I have been there, I haven't seen any red-light district related activities around there - it could be that I was blinded, considering that I was racing through the area...

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

The wet market was still pretty wet the last time I went. Yeah, with lots of live things crawling and swimming around in pails and cages and buckets.

Actually that was what we really wanted to bring the kids to see. Unfortunately it turned out that the wet market is currently under renovation.

When the renovation is completed .... well, I have a funny feeling it's just not going to look that "wet" anymore.

quatscherei said...

no heritage what...one day gahmen will say we have no sense of belonging again.

how to have belonging when our memories keep getting destroyed?

btw mr wang...i loved chinatown as a kid too. nowadays ah...haha i don even go there anymore.

simplesandra said...

screwthepap wrote: "A wet market ( I mean really WET) that sold live chickens and seafood."

And prior to that the stalls used to line the streets, and you get to see snakes skinned alive. ;-)

There was a certain buzz to it, and that was the Chinatown many tourists came to see; now it's just the facade.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

Ah, roasted whole pigs. I had one of those for my wedding lunch event, six years ago. :)

Joseph Chiang said...

oh, a fast-food shop next to a balloon shop! perfect!

Anonymous said...

Chinatown used to be filled with people who lived, worked and ate there. As a child, Porco used to visit relatives in their shops, stalls and houses. It was dark, dank and slightly squishy. Now it is bright and plasticky. It is a complete tourist trap. The area has not done as well as Little India or even Arab Street in terms of preservation. Heritage needs to earn its living before it comes alive - real people need to inhabit the space. A couple of rows of fake Chinoiserie lamp posts does not make it. You want Chinese culture, go to Geylang opposite the red light district where the food is - that's much more authentic.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's always a question of which Chinatown you want preserved. The 1913 ordinance did quite a bit to shake things up as well.

Mr Wang - surely you are aware of the gay pub smack on Temple/Trengganu? It advertises itself as such - short of actually putting up a sign.

And I don't see why the condom shop would be seen as odd given the government's Singaporeans-are-conservative stance. Condoms are clearly for *heterosexual* Chinese couples, since gays don't use condoms, so that's ok. Plus, they're novelty condoms, increasing the potential for failure - so even better, more Chinese Singaporeans! *tongue firmly in cheek here*

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that you are also into soaking in a bit of heritage and culture. There is actually quite a lot of cultural treasures and quirky little bits of information in Singapore if you dig hard enough to find. You guys may want to check out the heritage and museums blog


for little nuggets and gems on heritage, museums, nostalgia and days gone by. :)

moomooman said...

Hi wang,

Glad that you decided to bring your kids to appreciate our cultural history, asian values and also eat at Macdonald. haha.

Joseph Chiang said...

i'm actually more concerned about having a MacDonald there than the condom shop.

Anonymous said...

Ciscoblog: it's pretty courteous for you to post that in blogs which actually mention gambling, but I'm wondering if it's not more than just tangentially related, and how it's not an advertisement of some sort?

Henry Leong said...

Singapore is getting more open and accepting new ideas

ettesa said...

I loved Chinatown as a kid but now the world has changed as I have, where I used to walk under people washing strung overhead now in the suburbs your lucky if you see rotary washing lines never mind actual washing, but thats life.

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