Monday, December 14, 2009

We Love Chinatowns! Singapore Edition

We love Chinatowns.  We've been to Chinatowns from New York to Japan to this one in Singapore.  The Singapore one is a little different, though.  Most Chinatowns are dark, marginal places.  Places where you can buy black or grey market goods.  Things that may or may not have passed into the country legally.  Exotic electronics and knock-off fragrances.  Questionable herbs and, quite literally, forbidden fruit.

Singapore's Chinatown is different.  Very different.  Like most of the rest of the squeaky-clean city-state, this Chinatown is squeaky clean.  The items on offer are no different than you'd find in any nearby shop.  And the prices aren't exactly a bargain, either.   The casual shopper is left with the distinct impression that only items authorized by the government are allowed to be sold, and quite likely at government-mandated prices.    It is a sanitized, safe, clean, Disneyfied version of the Chinatowns of the rest of the world.    And for that, it is unique and special.

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