Friday, 30 August 2013

Chinatown Heritage Center, Singapore

Singapore has realized that its future partly depends on its rich past. A city forever re-developing and staying modern risks losing its soul if it bulldozes its heritage. The Chinese in Singapore form a big part of the city's history and they're now recognized in a nice cultural center in Chinatown.

Similar to New York's Tenement Museum, The Chinese Heritage Center tells the story of a poor immigrant population's journey from arrival, terrible working and living conditions and onto eventual prosperity.

The center is in, where else, the center of Chinatown. A typical photo of the old neighborhood.

The buildings are called shop houses for their combination of shops on the first floor and housing on the top floors. Here's a tailor's back room on the ground floor.

A mockup of a typical Chinese cafe. The tailor's front room, open to the public.

The upstairs? For most immigrants, endless tiny rooms made for dozens of poor laborers, similar to tenements on the Lower East Side of New York.

The communal kitchen. Hard times.

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