It is great to see Chinese culture is spreading around the world, especially when I’m travelling, and visiting the local Chinatown and seeing traditional Chinese food and stuff there. I think culture is one of the most important things we need to keep in this globalised world even though I really enjoy the benefits and the conveniences that globalisation brings to us, but I mean globalisation, not westernisation.
I visited Singapore at the end of last month, as Chinese New Year was just around the corner. I saw plenty of traditional Chinese toys and products in the local Chinatown – they call it “牛車水 ”in Chinese and “Kreta Ayer” in Malay. Some of the stuff sold is very ancient, like the tambourine, which is a very rarely seen kind of toys in this day and age in any modern Chinese city, such as Hong Kong. Can you see the tambourine was painted with two ancient Chinese kids playing festive lanterns? Isn’t it lovely!
“Singapore is a very diverse and young country. It has many languages, cultures and religions for a country its size. Due to the many languages and cultures in the country, there is no single set of culturally acceptable behaviour.” There are three main nationalities which make up Singaporean citizens which are Chinese, Malaysia and Indian. When the Chinese came to Singapore, they brought our culture to the country, including cuisines and language. It’s so warm to hear people speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien all the way in Singapore, especially since I can speak all three languages/ dialects.
When you look around in Singapore’s Chinatown, there is a temple you should visit named “The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple” which was founded in 2002 by the Venerable Shi Fazhao. I’m not actually a Buddhist; I go to temples with my family all the time, but I go to church as well. For me, all religions arose spontaneously through long term flocking together of humankinds’ wisdoms and beliefs.
Most people don’t try to understand what religions are trying to teach us, rather, they treat religions as a means to make their dreams come true without putting forth effort, whereas I take them as a guiding light to guide my personal growth. I never go to a temple or church and ask for anything or to reduce any difficult for me. Instead, I always pray: I believe in myself, I know I’m on the way to be stronger and these difficulties are the way to you, I will conquer them by myself, and I know you are always there for me, and you believe in me. – To me, this is what religion is all about.
When you are in front of the temple, if you walk across the street, you will walk onto Erskine Road where there are many nice cafés and stylish fashion stores. I took a break in a French café called Antoinette; the café interior decorating was very nice. They serve coffee and desserts and elegant high tea sets.
Here is the link: http://www.antoinette.com.sg/
Singapore is so colourful; It’s a giant rainbow candy shop, especially the architecture. When you walk along Erskine Road, and turn left, you will step onto Ann Siang Road – This area is architecturally one of the most historically significant in the city, with many characteristic bars and shops around there. Some restaurants and bars are introduced in the guidebook, such as the Screening Room.
It was a stunning blue day, with clear blue skies, lapis lazuli walls, sapphire blue houses, French blue restaurants, and sea blue chairs, and the little Red was also blue. You can see some Chinese papercuts on the doors, effecting a Chinese new year mood. I didn’t prepare any clothes for this trip due to being too rushed, so I didn’t even have three hours to go shopping, and had to continue working which was driving me crazy. However, if you are creative, old clothes can also give a brand-new life, for example, a scarf skillfully used can also be an alluring belt.