Introduction As part of the Singapore heritage society, I believe that Chinatown should be conserved and should not be replaced by yet another integrated resort. Our Society is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Singapore history, heritage and identity. We have held many projects to raise awareness of Singapore history and cultural heritage. Chinatown has and will always be a place with much historical value and a part of Singapore limited heritage. According to the dictionary, heritage indicates the characteristics, properties or quality that one inherits at birth.
It is also he nation’s mark of history, such as stately buildings, countryside, cultural traditions, that are seen as the nation’s wealth to be inherited by future generations. Chinatown has been a part of Singapore and a part of our home since the early days when the early immigrants came to Singapore, being one of the few heritages that we are still able to keep hold of. Despite being rather small in size, this little plot of land is the exact land that our forefathers stood on as they contributed to make Singapore what it is today.
But with Singapore fast growth rate and overwhelming need to develop rather, it is not surprising that its historical heritage is being considered to be demolished to make way for the new. Conservation We wish to conserve Chinatown, as it allows us to be connected to our past. Our heritage reminds us of where we started from and of how we managed to progress from being a small fishing village to the bustling city that we are now, giving us a sense of direction in where we are heading to as a nation.
Preserving our cultural heritage also goes a long way in explaining our rich cultural, political, social and educational values to the future generations. It is a lesson and an experience in which our forefathers handed down to us so that we can learn from their mistakes and successes, in hope that our nation will continue to grow into a better society. Our heritage is very valuable and can even be considered as a form of “national wealth” that has been passed down to us.
After receiving this honor and responsibility, we as the children of this nation, should play our part Just as our forefathers did and continue to pass this precious historical gem down for future generations to personally experience and remember our history. National Identity This year, Singapore has Just gained 48 years of independence, and we have successfully created an identity for ourselves that makes us as Gingersnaps more proud of our country and its accomplishments.
A national identity is important to its country as it affects Singapore psychological defense, this would determine if Gingersnaps will stay to fight or abandon Singapore when faced with obstacles. The term ‘National identity is a person’s sense of belonging to one’s state or nation, a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one’s citizenship status. An identity is not an inborn trait but is slowly built up as a direct result of the presence of the similarities in people’s daily lives, such as national symbols, language, the nation’s history, culture and many others.
For Singapore, one of these aspects is the Singapore multi-religious backgrounds, Singapore started off with majority of the population being immigrants from countries such as Europe, China, Arabia, India, Amelia and Penman, who came to Singapore in the early sass. While they came to Singapore in hope of finding a better future, they shared their religion to the rest of he country too. Although Chinatown started off as a Chinese settlement, but it contributes significantly to Singapore multi-religious identity as it houses many different religious buildings temples, churches and mosques.
An example is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, the Sir Marianne which was built in 1827. During colonial times, it served as a refuge for new immigrants and acted as the Registry of Marriages for Hindus. Today, in addition to its religious services and functions, the temple promotes various social, cultural and educational activities. Festivals such as Thematic (Fire walking ceremony) and Navigator are also celebrated there every year. The Thematic is an important ceremony to the Hindu culture, as it celebrates the honor of Draping who walked through a bed of fire and came out as fresh as a flower, proving her purity.
Demolishing these religious buildings for the sake of the Integrated Resort will not only disrupt religious services, but it will also cause Singapore to lose part of its identity and history. Thus we believe that Chinatown should be conserved as it helps to build a unique Identity for Singapore. Festive Seasons During the Chinese New Year period, Chinatown is also the place that Gingersnaps first head to look for their Chinese New Year goodies and clothes.
This has become a habit and tradition that most Gingersnaps abide by. At the same time, they are able to enjoy the Chinese New Year atmosphere as the place Chinatown during Chinese New Year, would be decorated with many stunning street lights. This bustling with people time of the year is when Chinatown finally regains its former glory, to the time when Chinatown was bustling with life, with hawkers selling all manners of things long the streets and people squeezing through the crowd to get their hands on the cheapest goods.
It is also during times like these when families get together, no matter old or young to purchase items such as new traditional costumes, shoes, decorations, goodies in preparation for Chinese New Year. Chinatown then becomes a place that is unique and original as it allows the people to spend time together without the need to spend much money or for any technology, allowing them to bond. Memories Chinatown is a place where memories and shared experiences are being made.
Even ill today, there are still people who have been living there since they were young and have built many memories about their childhood days there. Upon asked if she had any special memories in Chinatown, one of our interviewees, the owner of a textile shop, replied that “When I was young I used to spend most of my time in the shop. As my parent’s watched the shop, me and my brother would study there. At times, we would also meet up with the other little kids there to play and run about the playground nearby. When asked why she chose to open a shop in Chinatown, she been with us for 3 generations. This shop meaner a lot to our family, as though it is our very own child. It also stores a lot of our memories as a kid. ” Chinatown is also known as the ‘elderly district’ and most of the people who stay there are actually elderly who have been living there since young. To them, Chinatown is the place where they feel at home, where they all their memories were made. These friends that they make slowly become more like their families than mere neighbors; taking care of each other and entertaining one another.
Among the 25 people we interviewed, 85% of them agree that Chinatown should be conserved as it possesses lot of historical value and that from the many years living there, they have created many enjoyable memories there and do not want to ever lose them. However, if a third integrated resort were to be built here, all these experiences and precious memories would be lost and forgotten as generations pass as though they too have faded away from existence. Skills and Passion Chinatown is a place where people can showcase their skills and passion.
In Chinatown, there are many little stores that sell traditionally hand-made local delicacies and clothing that are now hard to find in Singapore society. There are many tailors sewing Chicagoans, a traditional Chinese costume that are worn by Chinese females since the early days. These clothes are very significant to Singapore past as it is also one of the few artifacts the has been passed down from the past to the current present. These Chinese costumes also remind us of how Singapore was in the past, and through the colors and decorations, we are able to bring out the colorful culture and heritage of our country’s past.
Also, there are many hawkers making their own buns through the traditional methods. Not only goes this allow the people to showcase their skills, this also allows them to survive in the Singapore context despite the tough competitions with famous chain-shops. This is at the same time beneficial to Singapore as it helps Singapore to increase their Job employment rates and allows the people to have the chance to chase after their passions in life despite their financial statuses.
However, if the integrated Resort were to be built on Chinatown, this would cause many people to become Jobless and thus unable to support their families. Similarly, their passions can only be buried along with the rest of Chinatown. Tourists According to a research, destinations excelling in their cultural heritage are more likely to be on traveler’s consideration list. Among the many respondents from 20 different countries, 57% of them agree that history and culture are strong influences on their choice of holiday destination, with only 15% of the people disagreeing to this statement.
Conforming to this, Chinatown has been rated as one of the top ten attractions in Singapore due to its strong historical value and its colorful vibe. Due to our struggle towards progress after gaining independence on August 9 1965, we eve already demolished many of our memorable infrastructures in order to make way for the new, furthermore, only having 48 years of independence, Singapore does not have many places with much historical value.
Hence, if we demolish Chinatown, we might be at a risk of having a sharp decrease in tourist rates, which may also not be as appealing to the tourists as compared to the uniqueness of Chinatown. From the opinions of most of the people we interviewed, most of them also agree that another integrated resort would only be redundant as we already have two other integrated resorts, them being Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Santos. Meanwhile, Chinatown is unique as there can only be one of it throughout the whole of this lifetime.
If we demolish it, we would be losing it forever and we would never be able to build it and its priceless history again. A trip to Chinatown will also be more fruitful for the tourists. According to the theory of knowledge, the two main ways to gain knowledge is through experience and reasoning. Chinatown many historical infrastructure, vibrant atmosphere and heritage centre, allows them to reasonably experience the background and heritage of Singapore. Through this experience, it allows us to gain something more valuable than money, the power of knowledge and understanding upon visiting it.
However, the Integrated Resort would only promote entertainment, such as gambling and shopping. Thus, by conserving Chinatown , not only are we able to increase Singapore tourism rates and boost our economy, it also allows the tourists to benefit greatly from the experience and learn more about our culture and heritage. Land Scarcity Building an Integrated Resort over Chinatown would not only cause a lack of housing or the people who are currently living in Chinatown, but also with Singapore plan to increase the population from about 5. 8 million to 6. Million by 2030, this unbalance between the land use for entertainment purposes and the land used for housing purposes would create a serious problem for the people, such as overcrowding due to the lack of space. With over 5 million people currently living within the 710 km area of land, Singapore has been ranked the second most densely populated country in 2012. Singapore is already facing a problem with the lack of land and building more housing areas would not be an easy take. In addition, if an Integrated Resort were to be built in Chinatown, the residential areas in Chinatown would be lost, which would be a disadvantage to Singapore.
Land scarcity is a dire situation and it may lead to unhygienic living spaces, which would make it easier for pests such as mosquitoes to breed. As Singapore is a tropical country, we are very prone to dengue’s. From the 16-22 June 2013, there was a total of 82 dengue outbreaks within that single week, and from the start of January to 13/08/2013, there has already been 6 unfortunate victims who have passed away due to dengue fever. From this, we can tell the severity of Dengue Fever in Singapore, and with the unhygienic environment, this would lead to a higher risk of the people having Dengue Fever.
Hence, not only will Chinatown help in the heritage of Singapore, but it will also help in the land constraint problem Singapore is facing currently. Conclusion In conclusion, I strongly feel that we should conserve Chinatown as it is part of our home town and heritage. It reminds Gingersnaps of how far Singapore has progressed from being Just a free port all the way to being the central trading port of people who lived, worked and visited Chinatown in the chophouses, temples and mosques. Chinatown is a place that holds the memory and identity of Singapore.
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