16 Things I Learned by Walking Around Chinatown, Singapore (Part 2/3)

August 21, 2017

Let's continue with Part 2 :)
6. Coolies
Kuli = coolie - a statue at one end of Smith St.

To be honest, I have no idea that kuli is derived from an English word! Before, coolies work on unskilled manual labour like cycling on trishaws (beca) and some need to move items like 80kg of rice. T_T

Coolies an unskilled native laborer in India, China, and some other Asian countries.

Well, nowadays even people with skills and qualifications need to work like hell to survive in this world T_T. 

7. The afterlife of Chinese.
Chinese believe in afterlife. As a Malaysian, I know they burned few things (not sure if together with the deceased or afterwards). 

We were shown a shop selling paper crafts for burnt offerings. The idea of burning these is to make sure the deceased will get good life in the afterlife.

Joss paper.
Joss paper = gold paper.

I am not sure why joss paper, but I would like to focus on 168 written on the paper. Obviously, I cannot speak Cantonese / Mandarin (a bit sad of not learning this) but the sounds of 168 in one of this language means "fortune all the way". This paper is also burned for the offerings. 

8. The most popular Chinese opera house in Singapore.
It was Lai Chun Yuen - currently renovated as Santa Grand Hotel Lai Chun Yuen. It was a Chinese opera house. When I hear 'Chinese opera', I quickly remembered ladies with thick make-up who dance and sing. 

The opera house.

Nowadays, Chinese opera is no more popular among youngsters but it is still done during Hungry Ghost Festival. The concept for them is that... hmm, during that month, the door of hell is open, ghosts come out and shows like Chinese opera can please the ghosts. 

The reception used to be the area for the stage.

A tour mate asked about why durian is not allowed in the hotel. The reason is durian's pungent smell is so strong that it can stay up to 3 days. So, imagine if maybe you can tolerate the smell but maybe not for the people who will check in to the same room after that. 

9. Public houses.
85% of Singaporeans live in public houses which are only available to be owned by Singaporeans or people with permanent residences. 

This is one of the public houses located close to Chinatown.
Do you know how much approximately are the houses here?

About SGD 950k - equivalent to RM 3M. The interesting fact is that majority of them own the houses instead of rent them. It sounds impossible to buy such houses, but I've been told about the compulsory saving scheme by the goverment in which 20% of the salary need to be put aside. This amount of money will be saved for public houses, children education, medications. 
For every public houses, there will be a level like this. It is for gathering etc.

10. Exotic food.
Chinatown Complex
In this building, visitors can expect many exotic food like frogs, tortoise, lizards etc. Ouch, I can't help myself to imagine all those animals. T___T Other than eating them as food, they are also used for alternative medicine (boiled and drink the water)

When we were there, this market was closed for monthly cleaning. Alhamdulillah!

---- to be continued

SS, Perak, Malaysia

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