Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where Is The Heritage Town

Temasek Polytechnic foreign students at 112 Katong

On Thursday 12 April 2012 I was with a group of Temasek Polytechnic International Freshmen exploring Joo Chiat/Katong area. They have not heard of the Peranakan before and was very keen to learn its culture.  They went to Koon Seng Road to view the Peranakan houses, visited the Peranakan antique shop at East Coast Road and tasted Peranakan food including Katong laksa. The group leader, Jack did not eat spicy food. He told me that as a leader he had to show an example and ate the Katong laksa. It turned out that the laksa was not very spicy and he liked it.  

It was raining when we were on our way to the Community Centre at Joo Chiat Road. I told them that Joo Chiat was awarded the First Heritage Town in Singapore by the National Heritage Board last year. The presentation of the award and Joo Chiat Heritage Exhibitions was graced by the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Lui Tuck Yew. The ceremony was held at the town's community club when Joo Chiat ward was no more in Joo Chiat but in Siglap.  Thinking that everything remained the same, I was eager to show our foreign students the exhibits that showcase Joo Chiat's Hertiage. We called at the ground floor office and was told by a staff that Joo Chiat ward is no longer in Joo Chiat and if we wish to know anything about Joo Chiat Heritage Award we had to make our way to the Siglap Community Club. I felt so embarrassed to have disappointed the students.

I know Joo Chiat ward has moved to Siglap. But, has Joo Chiat Heritage Town also moved to Siglap? No wonder people make a joke out of it. They said there was no more sleaze in Joo Chiat (Siglap). I have friends living in Siglap. Can they say that they live in Joo Chiat now?  Is it not confusing? I hope in the next General Election Joo Chiat ward will be returned to its rightful place where it used to be that is in Joo Chiat area.

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