Emerald Hill Road, War Memorial, the Fountain of Wealth and Chinatown
Chinatown Travel Blog› entry 6 of 23 › view all entries
August 5th, 2008 – by: andytite
Actually, I'm doing Orchard Hill Road a disservice. Being off the beaten track means that it is far more quiet than the rest of the city.
A short time later we were stood downtown (near the Esplanade) at the foot of the Civilian War Memorial that commemorates the Japanese occupation at the tail end of World War Two. It's an impressive structure, that evokes suitable feelings of awe and respect.
After this, we sneaked off to see the Fountain of Wealth. Now, if you walk round this three times (giving you some good karma), you get your wish. Oh, and it's the biggest fountain in the world. Sadly, it wasn't on, (it isn't except at night), but we all made our wishes anyway.
An MRT (and some blessed air-con later), we popped up amid the sky scrapers of the central business district. Much like New York, you can feel over awed and cowed amid such powerful symbols of business, capitalism and general silliness. We headed out and into the traffic choked, road work obscured pedestrian mentalism that was Chinatown. I loved it, a cultural melting pot, a consumer paradise filled with interesting stalls, great architecture and fabulous food. We were on a time budget, as we had to meet a friend at the Night Safari, so our trip was sadly fleeting (something we were able to rectify later in the trip).
We did however manage to spot the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, an awesome structure that looks old and venerable, but actually hides a multi-story underground car park and the most effective marriage of capitalism and religion I've ever seen (though, more on that later). We also walked past Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore - oddly, outside Little India. As with the previous temples, it was highly decorated, and featured many depictions of the sacred cow.
Chinatown should be a must for all travelers. As we left, I felt annoyed that we'd seen so little. Luckily we had a second chance to see more of the area later on.
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