• Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Fonds


  • Singapore Broadcasting Corporation Series


  • 10/09/1981

    Record Date

  • 11/09/1981

    Broadcast/Release Date

  • 00:44:00

    Recorded Duration

  • English

    Recording Language

  • 1997001872

    Accession No.

  • Audiovisual


  • 1 inch B


  • Access permitted

    Conditions Governing Access

  • Use and reproduction require written permission from copyright owner(s). Processing of reproduction request may require 7 working days.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction

  • Synopsis :

    This documentary is the last of three documentaries on the changing landscapes of Singapore. It studies the future outlook of Chinatown, today seems like a 'crumbling core of a modern city state surrounding it' when it was once a centre of trade between east and west. Its existence recently has become a subject of growing controversy between a group who believe in preserving the historical areas of Singapore and another group who want it to make way for modernisation.

    The programme features several aspects, namely:
    1. Arguments of leading proponent for preserving Chinatown, architect Tay Kheng Soon, and contrary views for modernisation of Robert Iau, Managing Director, Singapore Land Authority.
    Mr Tay believes people are beginning to feel losing some part of their heritage and preservation which convey the 'sense of struggle of our forefathers' for the younger generation. He believes 'the old area' with its vanishing trade and street stalls do contribute in the economic sense although they may be marginal economic activities.
    Mr Iau stresses the  land of Chinatown represents valuable asset for the development of a new metropolis although preservation contributes to the 'cultural and historical richness of Singapore' and  'Chinatown is not all that important to the tourists'.

    2. Roles of the government and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
    The government recognising early  the need to preserve some historical landmarks sets up the  Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB). Professor Bill Lim, Deputy Chairman, PMB talks about the board's work.
    Fan Kai Chang, Deputy General Manager, URA   talks about redevelopment in relation to preservation, which involves renovating existing old buildings to put into 'compatible use'. Currently the URA is in a project to 'evaluate and identify areas worthy of preservation' with related organisations.

    3. Seek out several residents of Chinatown, visiting various shophouses to find out what these men and women feel about preserving or demolishing their homes. Among them are the older one, a few even first generation from China, some younger, with many still eking out a living in Chinatown. They respond mainly in their dialects that their main 'concern is survival and not demolition'.

    4. View that Chinatown is 'still living' while its future continues to be debated. In the night, the street market gives way to stalls on either side of the shophouses selling items ranging from cds to food, trishaws with tourists and loud music filling the air. Come early hours of dawn, the same streets are quiet  with road sweepers cleaning up and piles of garbage. Every day Chinatown sees changes, change is not new to it.

    5. Included in the documentary are other issues including:
    a. Chinatown -  history going back to 1822, street market, shophouses - architecture of exterior view, inside buildings;
    b. Cuppage Road preservation project - its row of shophouses;
    c. vanishing trades, namely red clog maker,
    street letter writer, popiah skin maker, religious idol carving maker;
    d. Thian Hock Keng Temple;
    e. Clan associations, mutual aid societies;
    f.  Hong Lim Community Centre;
    g. Funeral parlour on Sago Lane;
    h. Tour guide with a group of tourists.

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