Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The day we became tourists in our own country

Actually Singapore is not that boring. If you're the type who enjoys exploring on foot, there are many places to go to in Singapore. Yesterday I had a free day off, so we or rather I decided to walk around Chinatown. And it was quite fun! Even though I'm a Singaporean, I pretended to be a tourist just for fun.

the pretend tourist

 Chinatown Heritage Centre, randon shop, Big China (Da Zhong Guo)

There's this Chinatown Heritage Centre whereby it showcases lots of memorabilia from the past. But there is an entrance fee of $10, and being a cheapskate Singaporean, we decided to give it a pass. Though on hindsight, it might be an interesting tour, bleah. Noticed Big China? Haha, its a direct translation of Da Zhong Guo. They sell the best mooncakes in Singapore! Their shop underwent a major renovation. Its now so modern and moody. I think its a mistake though. They should just keep to their old, run-down decor. It has much more character and charm. After all, they've been there for like more than 50 over years.

We were walking past a coffee shop when all I saw this:

the real tourists

I laughed when I saw them. They were like all red and tanned and trying to escape the heat. And they were all ang mohs. As we walked along, we saw a German stall selling hotdogs! Talk about catering to the crowd, ha.

trying to blend in as one of us

architectural shophouses. the white building is the original OCBC Bank

From Chinatown, we walked onto Clarke Quay.

 the little boy looking lovingly at the bum boats

Clarke Quay has changed tremendously. I remembered we caught a documentary on TV a while back and it was on the cleaning up of Clark Quay. The old footage showed how the coolie workers would load and unload the goods on the boats and many business transactions were done on the spot. The river were also used for bathing, cooking and even for their leisure. Gosh, looking at the river now, you would never expect how horribly dirty it was back then. Enter the government, and they decided to clean the whole place up.

Now Clarke Quay has changed into a place for people to chill and hang out. There are a number of restaurants, pubs and cafes. When we were there, we noticed there are more tourists then locals. But I'm sure locals would enjoyed hanging out like erm, once in a blue moon. Or when they want to bring their overseas friends for a session of *carrot chopping, ha.

In short, Singapore does have its charm. We just got to get off our bums and walked about. And thats where we'll find the real gems. Places like Little India, Arab Street, Robertson Walk, Jurong West (ha!), Jalan Kayu, Seletar and so much more! I hope I'll get the chance to do more exploring soon!

*carrot chopping: exhorbitant price offered by the sellers. Usually targeted at unknowing tourists or people with too much cash to spare.

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