Singapore is a developed nation well-known for its beauty and cleanliness. Among its many alluring attractions is the historical Chinatown area, which include Telok Ayer, Bukit Pasoh, Tanjong Pagar, Kreta Ayer and Ann Siang Hill. Due to their unique cultural heritage, these areas have been designated as conservation areas by the Urban Redevelopment Board in 1989.
One of the interesting areas in the Singapore Chinatown area is Temple Street, which was formerly known as Almeida Street. The street is named after the Sri Mariamman Temple there. Established in 1827, it is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Historically, Temple Street was home to many Teochew traders who sold porcelain wares and assorted household items.
Another area of interest in Chinatown is Trengganu Street, which links Pagoda Street and Sago Street, and is intersected by Temple Street and Smith Street. Trengganu Street was named after Terengganu, a state on the northeastern side of Peninsular Malaysia. The difference in spelling is due to the state’s former name, ‘Trengganu’, which was given to the street at the time the state was named as such.
Every year, Chinatown comes alive with festive grandeur during the mid-autumn festival. Chinatown will be all decked out in colourful lanterns of various colours and shapes. The mid-autumn festival is also known as the lantern festival and the mooncake festival.
Chinatowns the world over are populated by labyrinths of busy quaint streets and little side lanes and back lanes, and these make interesting subjects for an artist like me. They provide countless details from vibrant times past, and are filled with memories of the good old days.
Among the many colourful streets in Singapore’s chinatown is Food Street, which is depicted in the following painting.