01 October, 2012

牛车水溜达 · Trip to Chinatown

每次到牛车水都没时间好好欣赏,总是匆匆忙忙略逛一番。上周终于抽出时间,好好的把那个地方看过一遍,才不愧为华人。
Trips to Chinatown have always been a rush, and I never had the time to stroll down the streets to observe every detail. Finally found time last week to visit Chinatown!
 


其实,我对牛车水的认识并不多,但都会感受到很熟悉,仿佛很久以前,那就是我的家。说到牛车水,首先想到的是珍珠坊,还有很多小街,售卖各式各样的美食、精品和传统艺术品。
I don't know much about Chinatown though. However, I do feel a sense of familarity, as if it was once my home. Whenever I think about Chinatown, the first place that comes to my mind is People's Park Complex, followed by the many streets selling various delicacies, souvenirs and traditional art pieces.

 

随着中秋节的到来,牛车水的街上也依照惯例,在街上装饰起五颜六色的灯笼。
In lieu with Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinatown has been decorated with colorful lanterns as usual.


不过,难免会想,在传统装饰的表面下,究竟还留下多少文化蕴涵?为什么提灯笼?中秋节要干什么?习俗从何而来?说真的,我的体会是空洞的。
However, I couldn't help but wonder how much of the actual culture is left, aside from the decorations. Why do we have lanterns? What do we do on Mid-Autumn festival? How did the festival come about? Frankly speaking, my experience there was pretty hollow/shallow.


查了百度,中秋节的起源有三种看法:
I checked it up on Baidu, and learnt about the three ways Mid-Autumn festival came about.


(1)源自古时候人们对月亮的崇拜,所以该节庆以月亮为主
(1) People used to worship the moon, thus they developed a festival that's moon-centric

(2)昔日月下歌舞,并且寻找有情人的习俗
(2) People used to have the tradition of dancing under the moon in search of their soul mates

(3)客家人有春祈秋报的节庆,在春秋两个季节祭祀土地伯公的习俗留下的节庆
(3) The Hakka people pray to the God of the Earth in spring and autumn, and this festival is said to be what's left of that tradition


不禁觉得,牛车水正慢慢失去传统文化和习俗的精髓。难怪老一辈的华人都说,牛车水不能翻新。因为翻新后的牛车水变成了观光景点、变成商业化的购物区域,失去古早味。
It feels as though Chinatown is losing its cultural essence in time. I finally understood why the elders are so against renovating Chinatown. The present Chinatown is more of a tourist attraction and commercialised area.

 
牛车水在文化和发展间,被无情地拉扯,所以失去了以前的风采,却仍无法住进现代人的心里。
Between preserving cultural essence and catching up with the times, Chinatown is so torn inbetween.
 
 
这跟爱情和友情似乎是同样的道理。在忠于自己和迁就他人之间,如果你无法取得平衡,随波逐流,到头来你可能里外都不是人,耗尽心血却徒劳无功。
This is just like how love and friendships should never be. If you cannot strike a balance between being yourself and accomodating others, you'll never be happy as a person.
 
 
走到一个路口,无意间抬头看到很美的顶楼设计,便拿出相机拍照。在旅行公司上班的朋友告诉我,那以前是青楼。嗯……
I also came across a road junction and saw a beautiful stretch of walkway on the highest level. Just as I was about to take a photo, my friend told me that it used to be a brothel. Um...
 
 
 
在网上找不到有关的信息,但发现牛车水的另一条街的故事。
I couldn't find any relevant information online to verify what she said, but I stumbled upon the story of another street instead.
 
一本名为《新加坡性商业》的书中记录,恭锡路(Keong Saik Road)在60年代是新加坡著名的红灯区,几乎整条街都是娼寮,有传闻指最后一间妓院也将在今年关闭。
A book documented the days Keong Saik Road was a stretch of brothels, back in the 1960s. The last brothel is said to be ending its business some time this year.
 
 
很多历史记录,在课本上看到并没有感觉。但如果你有时间亲自去参观,相信你也能够更明白课本中的故事。牛车水之旅,带走的不是纪念品,而是很多感触、体会。
I've seen many historial records but nothing left me an impression. I think it means so much more, if you spend some time visiting the place in person to see and experience what's there.
 
 
Mosque Street对比照。(上)2009年重漆前;(下)2012年重漆后
A comparison of Mosque Street before and after the repainting.