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Compare The Proposals By The Singapore Tourism Board (Stb) In Enhancing The Chinatown Experience And The Response Of The Singapore Heritage Society (Shs) In Rethinking Chinatown. What Is The Rationale For The Proposals

980 words - 4 pages

Chinatown in Singapore was once a bustling region when large population came from China to seek fortunes. It tells the story of how people lived, traded and worshipped in the past. It becomes a fount of history where people now can reach back to and learn how and who made this country developed. Chinatown becomes Singapore’s national heritage as a living presence of the past. However, at a later time, Chinatown is not as bustling as before. There is a declining in commercial activities. It needs to be redeveloped to keep its unique and irreplaceable ability as national heritage. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Heritage Society (SHS) both show great concerns about how to bring ...view middle of the document...

The rationale is: to develop a unity of character to help Singapore become a must-see tourist destination to attract more tourists and extend their stay and increase their expenditure. That is, the economic role of Chinatown in tourism. Besides, if nothing is done, Chinatown will lose its soul and its unique and irreplaceable ability to serve as a fount of history, culture and heritage that enables Singaporeans to reach back into the past.

However, according to SHS, Chinatown has no one unifying character or theme, and neither can it be divided into themes because such attempts will not have historical veracity . The existing activities nodes need not be concentrated in one place just to create an intense “Chinese” environment. It seems that STB seems to build theme parks from heritage landscape. SHS raises doubt about whether tourists will like such intense cultural spectacle since there are similar ones like Malay Village and Tang Dynasty which have failed. SHS says instead of capture everything in this one region and giving each place a specific theme, we can let the population decide what should be included in this communal building. Besides, SHS criticize that STB is trying to include everything Chinese, some of which even have no precedents in Chinatown. SHS thinks it is meaningless and a waste of funds. SHS suggests investing in sustaining existing cultural practices and artistic groups, which have grown out from its soil, rather than creating new but artificial tourism products. Also SHS argues that STB seems to ignore the existing heritage assets and plan to build new avenues just to satisfy the unifying standard. Money is wasted which can be used for other development.

I agree with SHS’s criticism. First we should understand Chinatown’s role in cultural tourism. They have mutually beneficial relationship. We cannot over use cultural for tourism dollars. Cultural tourism must aim to represent the culture and heritage of the people and the built environment. They are not only for the money but also for people to feel proud to have their...

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