stories of chinatown
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by category by alphabet by precinct heritage brands  
Amoy Street
Ann Siang Hill
Ann Siang Road
Anson Road
Banda Street
Boon Tat Street
Bukit Pasoh Road
Cantonment Road
Chin Chew Street
Chin Swee Road
Chinatown Food Street
Club Street
Craig Road
Cross Street
Duxton Hill
Duxton Road
Erskine Road
Eu Tong Sen Street
Gemmill Lane
Hokien Street
Jiak Chuan Road
Kadayanallur Street
Keong Saik Road
Kreta Ayer Road
Maxwell Road
McCallum Street
Mosque Street
Murray Street
Nankin Street
Neil Road
New Bridge Road
New Market Road
North Bridge Road
North Canal Road
Pagoda Street
Park Road
Pickering Street
Sago Lane
Sago Street
Smith Street
South Bridge Road
Stanley Street
Tanjong Pagar Road
Teck Lim Road
Telok Ayer Street
Temple Street
Teo Hong Road
Tras Street
Trengganu Street
Upper Cross Street
Smith Street map | list | print
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Er Woo Amateur Musical and Dramatic Association
19AB Smith Street, Singapore 058933
Heritage Marker SB03 - Lai Chun Yuen
Smith Street
Heritage Marker SB08 - Red Lanterns & Private Chambers
Smith Street
Ping Sheh Beijing Opera Association
11A Smith Street, Singapore 058925
t: +65-6449-4524       f: +65-6227-1787      
Singapore Association of Writers
13B Smith Street, Singapore 058927
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Heritage Marker SB03 - Lai Chun Yuen
Learn more about Chinatown's rich history by visiting our Heritage Markers. Installed at places of historical significance around Chinatown, each plaque provides a short history of the location in three languages - English, Simplified Chinese and Japanese.

Lai Chun Yuen was by far the most popular Chinese opera theatre in Singapore in its heyday. Built in 1887, its overwhelming popularity made it a prominent landmark. The street on which it stood - Smith Street - was also known as Theatre Street. Originally designed in the style of a Chinese teahouse, patrons would sit round small tables nibbling tidbits and sipping tea while famous opera singers performed on stage. Wealthier patrons had private cubicles where they enjoyed more personal services, rendered by the girls from the brothels on Smith Street. All these took place in high-ceilinged rooms with wooden balconies, decorated with painted ornaments and dimly-lit lanterns.

Opera stars and patrons from Hong Kong and China had graced the theatre. The most well-loved stars were showered with gifts of money or gold and silver pendants. Opium smoking was fashionable, so was gambling. In fact, the more famous an actor was, the more copiously he smoked and the more recklessly he gambled. All these gradually came to an end in the late 1930s, with the advent of "talking" movies. In 1941, Lai Chun Yuen was converted into a cinema, but did not survive the Japanese Occupation.
Smith Street
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