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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Jan 30, 2011

3D Blog - Chinatown Chinese New Year 2011

Wishing everyone "Best Wishes for a Happy & Prosperous Lunar New Year of the Golden Rabbit 2011". The Chinese New Year Celebrations 2011 at Chinatown is shown in the poster below:

This series of "Third Dimension (3D)" "Walk the Walk, Blog the Blog" special series of photojournal blogs to recollect nostalgic memories of Chinatown then and now.

According to Chinatownboy who blog at the Bullock Cart Water, he said "with my wife, we decided to do an 'inspection' of Chinatown this afternoon to see what's new in preparing for the new year. We probably have been pounding the streets of Chinatown - particularly Smith Street, Temple Street and Trengganu St - for more than 50 years".

Thanks to Chinatownboy and his wife for the "inspection" with helpful tips on his blog.

On Sunday, 30th January, 2011 morning, I made a leisurely trip to Chinatown by bus.

The modified guide map (highlighted in green) of the "Walk the Blog" route (Source: Google Map) to experience Chinese New Year festivities this year at Chinatown several weeks before the Chinese New Year of the Golden Rabbit on 3 February, 2011.

Start Point at the bus-stop in front of People's Park Centre at Eu Tong Sen Street

Across the traffic light juction to Yu Hua Chinese Products Ltd (Source: Google Map)

Majestic Theatre c 1950. Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS.

From there onwards, the roving lens by Thimbuktu on his "walk the blog", the photojournal experience and trip of Chinatown:

How it happened to queue up "bak kwa" then and now?

The Chinese New Year shoppers queuing up at a barbequed sweetmeat (bah kwa) stall in Mosque Stree, Chinatown on 25 January, 1979. These shoppers are among thousands who have been thronging the area for the past few days turning the whole place into fairyland of lights. Photo: Chew Boon Chin/The Straits Times. (Source: The Straits Times: Through The Lens).

Source: Google Map showing the location of Garden Bridge and Majestic Theatre at Chinatown

The street architecture of Chinatown's buildings, the shophouses especially, combine different elements of baroque architecture and Victorian architecture and do not have a single classification.(Source: Wikipedia)

The 3 colored photos below are juxtaposed by the 3 black & white photos of the same building with wooden windows, conservaion of our built heritage. Did you recognise this building as the same place, different times in Chinatown?

According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), buildings are selected for conservation based on their historical and architectural significance, rarity in terms of building types, styles, and their contribution to the overall environment.

Quality restoration is more than just preserving a facade or the external shell of a building. It retains the inherent spirit and original ambience of historic buildings.

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

At the request of many younger blog friends who could not imagine or visualise how the existing buildings and places at Chinatown were like, I am pleased to post the following black & white photos which were taken by contributors to the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) for their kind courtesy. Without these generous photographers over the decades to NAS, most private collection of family albums would have been destroyed or thrown away. Please acknowledge and express our gratitude to PICAS - Window to Our Past Imagery for the non-commercial research and resources published on this blog here with thanks.

For the adventurous history buff who prefer the quizzess of the old photos themselves, please submit your comments on the blog. Have fun to test your knowledge about history of Singapore!

An oblique view of Chinatown and the waterfront at Teluk Ayer taken from Pearl's Hill. The Sri Mariamman Temple with its high pagoda-like structure is the most prominent high rise landmark in Chinatown. (Left to right in picture) Mosque Street, Pagoda Street and Temple Street under construction. In the foreground (after the trees but before the buildings) is New Bridge Road. Circ 1860
Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

This is an oblique view of Chinatown area. In the distance is the police cantonment at Pearl's Hill. Contributor: MR WONG SENG.
Date: 08/04/1956. Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

These two photos at the entrance of Pagoda Street (junction of New Bridge Road) then (above) and later (below) are the classic "spot the difference" photos captured at the almost exact same spots from the same place and different times (several years apart, not only one taken in the day and another in the evening). How long did those buildings in the background took for them to be built? Could you name those buildings in this quiz? Please submit your answers to the blog comments. Thank you for your interactive 3D blog participation.

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)

Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS)
Related Post:

Singapore 60s: Andy's Pop Music Influence "Happy Chinese New Year 1979 - Chinatown Rock: X'periment Originals Are Gemstones Today" blog here .

Next: Festive Street Bazaar (Part 1)


Jan 22, 2011

Heritage Phone Museum

This incidental blog is posted from the National Library Building on Level 8 after visiting the "Many Ways Of Seeing III" exhibition.

"Many Ways of Seeing III (MWOS III)" is a design thinking and appreciation programme that Republic Polytechnic's School of Technology for the Arts (STA) organised for DesignSingapore Council to reach out to primary and secondary school students.

Students who attend MWOS III will benefit in these areas:

1. Inspire creativity: Inspire creativity in our young through an open exploration of design concepts and design thinking skills.

2. Provide opportunities to observe designers: Provide a unique opportunity for our teachers and students to work with designers as well as to learn new design techniques and gain an insight into the creative industries.

3. Appreciate design and design thinking: Help students to develop the design awareness they need, to be tomorrow's discerning consumers and clients, as well as develop student's critical and inventive thinking skills with design thinking.

Among the various interesting exhibits, I was attracted to the presentation by Pei Hwa Secondary School.

Exhibit Title: "Heritage Phone Museum"

On their observation trip, the students came across a few things - an abandoned cinema, many lonely old folks and generally a quiet town which can do with more traffic. Putting all these together, the idea for a heritage museum is formed.

A remake of the old cinema, the heritage museum is designed to provide a sense of familiarity for the old folks and an education opportunity for the young. Designed to engage, the museum comprise of features such as a ride which bring back into the past, a 3D theatre that screens old films and an interactive heritage phone to listen to the history of Singapore.

The following write-up by Ng Pei Kang

When most people think of Singapore, the first impression that comes to mind is usually something virtual or even a smell - towering clusters of HDB flats, the spouting Merlion, or the stir-fry fragrance of Char Kway Teow. But what about sounds?

A modified heritage phone, 'Dial onto the Past' allows the museum visitor to dial into the unique sounds of Singapore - sounds which have grown with us over the last decades. Immerse in the serenity of kampong cricket sounds, the rythmic chant of 'mah-pi-poh' from newspaper sellers, or even most recently, the booming roar of F1 engines. Just pick up the phone, select the location you're interested in and dial in to the analogue pace of yesteryear!

The visitors leaving the past after the dialling to move forward to the present and the future.

A learning journey well worth the trip, a phone call away to be educated the history lessons about Singapore!

Go visit the "Many Ways of Seeing III (MWOS III)" creative talent showcase soon at National Library Building, 8th Level. The exhibition ends in February, 2011. It doesn't last forever. Admission and knowledge is free while available now!