Singapore's Chinatown, the ramshackle area of old buildings which has enchanted romantically-minded travellers and writers for more than a century, being pulled down, a victim of the modern world's prosaic preference for concrete and progress.
TV Singapore ZOOM to Chinatown rooftops
GV Washing hanging from windows PAN to street
GV Food market
Woman sorting shrimps
Man chopping pork
Woman slicing fish
Old woman looks out of window
PULL BACK..as children look at fish in tank
Man eating from foodstall
CU PULL BACK..man smashes down wall
Workers throw old bricks into truck
Concrete bucket at new building site
Workers digging trenches
ZOOM from Chinatown to new block
GV New shopping complex
People walking through arcade
ZOOM BACK..from restaurant in new building
TGV PAN..Singapore and Chinatown
Initials ES.1655 ES.1715
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Singapore's Chinatown, the ramshackle area of old buildings which has enchanted romantically-minded travellers and writers for more than a century, being pulled down, a victim of the modern world's prosaic preference for concrete and progress.
Already half of old Chinatown has been swallowed up in urban renewal projects. And the remaining food stalls, funeral parlours and laundries which gave Chinatown its colour and character are living on borrowed time.
The old three-storey tenements are being knocked down as part of the Singapore Government's programme to resettle a third of the city's two million inhabitants in high-rise apartments.
SYNOPSIS: The modern world is changing the face of Asia, and no-where more than in Singapore; for a century of more, romantically-minded travellers and writers have regaled themselves with the sights and sounds of the city's Chinatown. In the past it's been the commercial heart of Singapore.
Now a sentence hangs over the food stalls, funeral parlours and laundries which have given colour to this part of Singapore since the last century, when junks from Southern China landed thousands of immigrants on the shores of the island -- the sentence of progress and the concrete revolution.
Urban renewal is the banner under which today's army of demolition men and builders is fighting. Their orders are to knock down the three-storey tenements of the old Chinese quarter and replace them with low-cost, high-rise flats. The operation is part of the Government's programme to resettle a third of Singapore's two million inhabitants.
It's mostly the older Chinese who will miss the neighbourly atmosphere of the old Chinatown. These days a new Singapore identity is emerging, and the younger Chinese feel more at home in sleek twentieth-century shopping precincts and apartment blocks. They find Chinatown an anachronism, colourful, but out of date. This is their world.
There is a chance that a block or two of old Chinatown may be preserved -- as an attraction for the island's growing tourist industry. But for most of its former inhabitants, Chinatown is going for good, a casualty on the road to progress.