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stories of chinatown
21st century chinatowners

Chinatown has always captured the essence of Singapore, her denizens a reflection of the nation. When Singapore was a trading port, her streets were filled with traders and hawkers of all sorts, buying and selling on top of each other's voices. Ships would sail in and out of port, picking up or dropping off goods from around the region.

When Singapore went to war, Chinatown was not only one of the focal points of the Japanese bombings, but also became the heart of the resistance, housing factions such as the anti-Japanese Chinese Salvation Movement in Southeast Asia. As Singapore gradually developed and prospered in the years that followed, so too did Chinatown and her denizens, as they moved from the squalor into high-rise apartments as they enjoyed the fruits of their labour in a young, but rapidly growing nation.

And now, it's time to meet the future of Chinatown – the 21st century Chinatowners.

Young, adventurous and with a strong sense of individuality, these youngsters can be found trawling through the shophouse-lined streets of Chinatown in search of the latest designs and fashion which can be found in indie shops such as Egg3, which sells clothing and accessories both designed by the owner and imported; De Walk-in Wardrobe, which stocks a one-size-per-piece collection of imported fashion hand-picked by the owner; and Trolley, which offers distinct and offbeat furniture, home accessories and stationery – a far cry from the generic mass-market products found in large retail chains.


A smattering of international cuisine restaurants have sprung up to serve the taste palettes of the younger generation, such as Magma German Wine Bistro & Restaurant, which was recently featured as one of the best German restaurants in Singapore by Yahoo!, Nicholas le Restaurant, which serves French cuisine prepared by world-renowned chef Nicholas Joanny, and the more casual Tiffin Club Café, which is a great place to hang out with friends over a glass of wine or two.


Besides just enjoying themselves, some are even pursuing their passion in Chinatown – picking up the finer points of freezing time into a frame through one of Black Box Photography's many photography courses, perfecting the art of brewing a rich, aromatic cup of coffee at CuppaChoice Café Academy Retail & Roastery, learning the culturally distinct Nan Yin music style at Siong Leng Musical Association, and even mastering the skills needed to be a pop star at The Music Clinic, which teaches everything you need to take the pop music scene by storm!

Between the imposing towers of Pinnacle@Duxton and the quaint little shophouses, these young Singaporeans live, work and play in a Chinatown shaped by them, for them – a Chinatown that they have claimed as their own.

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