Day 4 and the final learning journey, where we were challenged to view Chinatown in a brand new perspective. Is this heritage area, supposedly iconic of our traditional Chinese roots, befitting of its billing?

Reflections by Aloysius:

Although many of us visit Chinatown on a yearly basis at least, to see the street displays or just to get festive goods, we often do not take note of our surroundings there- be it the facade of the shophouses, or the shops that seem just "out-of-place", I had been exposed to the many sights and sounds we are usually oblivious to when we visit the area. These include how some shops like a "Tin-Tin shop" or a Chinese restaurant advertising beer instead of Chinese delicacies and even a huge contrast on the street, like how a tailor is situated opposite a classic tailor (east versus west). Through this visit, I had also heard from Mdm Chan on how some information panels that tell us about the history of the area are not strategically placed, such that not many people can see these panels.

Furthermore, Derrick and I (we were the only two students there) had also done a mapping out of the area and noticed the increase in services that cater to tourists and the western influence in the facade of the shophouses, such as how a certain shophouses had been renovated on the exterior for a visual appeal or attraction to tourists.

"Pictures for thought":


Clockwise from top left: Instead of promoting traditional chinese seafood about some beer?; Half-chinese, half-modern tailor services?; Signs in English peppered all over Chinatown and not one in Chinese in sight!

Lastly, here's a rough sketch of the conflict-laden Pagoda Street:

Comments on the layout of the street:

As you can see below, there is a graphical (and rough) layout of the shops along Pagoda Street. In this representation we can see how some shops seem to not fit into the "historical value" of Chinatown, such as the inn along the street catered to tourists and also the western tailor that does not correspond to the "theme" of this area which is the preservation of Chinese culture.

Pagoda Street.JPG