|Blue smoke wafts
into the humid air and filters the morning sunlight streaming into the
In the early daylight hours
people come to offer burning joss sticks, food, paper offerings and prayers
to their Gods. Apart from the fashions little has changed here in well
over a century.
Thian Hock Keng Temple,
the Temple of Heavenly Happiness, has stood in Singapore's Telok Ayer Street
for almost 160 years. In that time it has witnessed some dramatic changes.
||During the early
years of the 19th Century, foreshadowing what the future would hold for
this tiny island nation, Hokkien Chinese immigrants originally came to
a small joss house built on this spot to give thanks for a safe journey
from their homeland.
Within a few years prosperity
from their hard work allowed the new immigrants to begin construction of
the Temple that now occupies the location of that original, humble joss
The sea, which once fronted
the Temple has been driven back under the onslaught of Singapore's continued
|The "old" Singapore
is fast disappearing. Warehouses by the river, which once teemed with workers
unloading the small boats bringing cargo upriver from the ships lying at
anchor in the harbour, are now boutique shops and fashionable restaurants
and have been restored to a grandeur they perhaps never knew in the past.
Multi-laned freeways, electronic
toll-roads and highways elevated high above the city streets now crisscross the island.
those glass and concrete monuments to modernity, sprout from the central
business district and multistoried, air-conditioned shopping complexes
pull in shoppers from around the world - 7.2 million of them over the past
As Singapore modernises
it is increasingly hard to find the original, more traditional life-style
which has formed the bedrock on which this young nation has been built.
Some areas in Chinatown,
Little India, the Arab Quarter and Geylang remain but they are disappearing
This story is a pictorial
search for some of those fast disappearing glimpses of Singapore's past.
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