Many local artist love to find a spot in Chinatown Singapore to sketch, draw and paint. The nostalgic shophouses and bustling street scene bring in fond memories and nothing is more fulfiling than seeing the vibrant colours of the street come alive in paintings. The streets of Chinatown are especially beautiful with bright lanterns and colourful displays of Chinese harmonic characters during the festive season like Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival.
Veteran watercolour artist Loy Chye Chuan has painted many of the Chinatown Street scenes from Smith Street, Trengganu Street, the alley between the shophouses, morning market scene of hawker selling vegetables and other fresh produce are some of the pictures that he had captured and painted.
Here’s a brief history a Chinatown Singapore
Chinatown, Singapore is likewise known as Niu Che Shui in Mandarin is located within the Outram Park district in Singapore. Niu Che Shui directly translates to “bull-cart-water” since Chinatown’s supply of water was mainly transported by animals back in the 1800s. This term is still commonly used among the ethnic Chinese in Singapore and links back to the fact that Chinatown was once an ethnic Chinese enclave. Chinatown is the incorporation of 4 prominent sub-zones such as Kreta Ayer, Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar as well as Bukit Pasoh. Many immigrants from China resided in this area due to the Raffles Town Plan in the 1800s.
Now, Chinatown has many temples and mosques for worship. These religious sites are placed beside one another such as the Sri Mariamman temple, Buddha tooth relic temple and the more well known Thian Hock Kheng temple. Visitors of these temples often pay their respect to other religions as well. This act signifies Singapore’s religious harmony and the fact that they were placed together shows that the different races and religions in Singapore had no qualms.
All across the streets of Chinatown, are rows of quaint shophouses. The architectural designs of these shophouses are a mixture of Baroque as well as Victorian style of architecture and have been restored in the style of painted ladies. It is evident from the addition of fanlights and pilasters which were Italian styled. These architectural designs are brought in by the Chinese immigrants inspired by similar architecture in Macau.