Working on a dying culture, a dying trade, a dying Heritage.
Singapore has definitely moved and changed so much over the last twenty years. Many of the Singaporean culture, heritage and values have developed because of commercialisation. In fact, looking back, life was much better though we weren’t as advanced as we are now.
Last week, we decided to find back our culture, a Singaporean Chinese culture. So we decided to make a trip down to Chinatown in search of our roots and also, to see how Chinatown has developed since the last time we were there.
Do you Know?
That in the early day when Sir Stamford Raffles and Lieutenant Jackson, the colony engineer, drafted the Town plan in Singapore, the Chinese immigrants were located at the SouthWest of the Singapore River?
Interestingly, the dialect segregation also had an unintended effect on commerce in Chinatown – business owners, either for the convenience of communication or the comfort of the familiar, would often hire workers of their own dialect. This eventually led to trades being dominated by particular dialect groups:
Like the Cantonese, the Hakkas worked in craft-related occupations but also dominated the niche trade of pawn broking.
The Hainanese were among the latest to arrive and had fewer options – they entered the service industries, and specialised in occupations associated with food and beverage, such as coffee stall holders, assistants, bakers, barmen and waiters. – No wonder i am in the F&B trade!
Soon, modernity came knocking. By the time the 70-80s came around, the rest of Singapore was changing. Public apartments were built in mass, allowing Singaporeans to break away from the cramped squalor and live in comfort. People moved out of shophouses and into new, high-rise flats built by the government – and Chinatown was no exception. Even the street stalls were relocated into the purpose-built Chinatown Complex.
The charm of Chinatown seems to be lost, opening up to commercialisation, the vibe that we used to get when we were young seems to be diminishing. More and more developments and changes to meet the ever-growing influx of people coming into Singapore, perhaps one day we’ll lose everything. Probably it’ll just be another plot of land, a piece of land that we use to build homes, high-rise buildings and offices.
As for now, enjoy while you can!
*P.s. In case you’re thinking why Ms. Small Girl has such big and rough fingers, that’s just me “hijacking” her self shot! Hahaha@@