Singapore's Chinatown is a mix of history and hawkers. There are many beautiful shophouses, lots of tourists, and of course many souvenir stalls. One of my favorite features of Chinatown is that there is a Buddhist Temple, a Hindu Temple and a Mosque all within 3 blocks of each other. This is a true representation of Singapore. Please see the captions to the pictures below for more details.
I didn't end up with a picture, but there is a beautiful building in Chinatown that is a replica of the old Chinese Opera house. The original building was bombed to bits during the Japanese invasion of Singapore and the replica is now a hotel. We sat in the lobby of the hotel which is built within the original architectural details of the opera house while Bernard told some of his stories. While we cooled off in the a/c, Bernard shared details of his younger years growing up in one room, with his 3 siblings and parents. This was usual housing in Chinatown, where renting a cubicle in a shophouse was commonplace. There were 4 families there, each living in their cubicle and all shared a toilet and a kitchen. Mom and I had toured the Chinese Heritage Museum the week before where they have kept a shophouse as Bernard described. It is an amazing museum. Bernard shared with us that his family was moved out of the shophouse into public housing, called an HDB (high density building) when he was 8 years old. They had 2 bedrooms to "spread out" in but more importantly, the family had their own bathroom! His mom was also very happy not to have to share a kitchen with other families and follow a schedule. He said that when they walked through the threshold there was not a dry eye among them. Oh, I need to mention that Bernard LOVES air conditioning! While living in the cubicle, they had no a/c so now he can't get enough. I suppose it's like me and hot showers after living on a boat.
Singapore is dominated by high-rise residential and office buildings. Often nestled into a small area between massive structures will be a small, lovely neighborhood such as the picture to the left. Coming upon these little gems always makes me smile.