Chinatown Heritage Centre

48 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059207
Adult - $10/ Child - $6

Replica of Da Dong Tea House in the 50's/ 60's that has since reopened at a corner along Smith Street. 

I'm ashamed to admit...I don't really who I am despite living in Singapore close to two decades. Why are there so many immigrants? Why do Singapore enjoy religious harmony? To what foreigners regard as 'privilege', many Singaporeans (including me) take it for granted. History taught from the textbook was quickly forgotten after leaving secondary school. Nigel and I embarked on a mini journey in hopes to find out more about our roots at the Chinatown Heritage centre.

Replica of a chinese prostitute's room in the 50's, Singapore.

Many brothels sprouted along Pagoda street to cater to sinkehs (migrants) who were seeking for intimacy and affection. Of course, as a result that led to a widespread of sexually transmitted diseases. Healthcare was a huge problem for the sick.

A kitchen area there were shared among many families

In the past, people did not enjoy their own bathrooms and kitchen. Everyone had to share and disputes were unavoidable. Living conditions were cramped and stuffy... I was impressed that the museum even stuck a fake cockroach on the wall to replicate the past.

Peeking into a typical tailor shop in the past
People used to tailor their suits because factory made ones did not produce the same quality as compared to hand. There were 18 tailor shops lined along the same street in the past! A tailor was regarded as more affluent than other occupants in the same building. He had his own room, kitchen and air well.

Blouse - vintage | Skirt - Daniel Yam (second hand) | Blazer - G2000 | Socks - Daiso | Flats - Newlook

Photos by Nigel

I feel that the visit gave me a great explanation to how Singapore prospered from almost nothing, just migrants who worked for a better life. And to those of you who despise Chinese nationals, think again. Majority of the early migrants were all from different provinces of China, which simply means your ancestors were from China too.

The next time you run out of places to go in Singapore, I strongly urge y'all to see museums! Singapore has done a great job in making its museums informative, interactive and easy to understand. No harm learning more about the country you're residing in. You are likely to see Singapore in a different light afterwards. :)