The Beginning of Multi-
I have long been interested in the multicultural and multiracial characteristics of Singapore. How did Singapore become a multicultural and multiracial society with ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians and indigenous Malays making up the majority of the population?
To explore this question, I firstly did research on the immigration history of Singapore and found out that the immigration started soon after Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore in 1819. After his settlement in Singapore, Singapore became a British trading port, which resulted the later immigrations.
The early Chinese and Indian migrants were traders and workers. For easy administration, Raffles separated the various immigrant groups and allotted land to each segment of society at that time. The Chinese was allocated the whole area west of the Singapore River for a Chinese settlement known as the Chinese Kampong, which eventually became Chinatown. Meanwhile, the Indian was allocated the area east of the Singapore River for an Indian settlement known as the Chulia Kampong, which no longer exists as a distinct area. As Chulia Kampong became too crowded at that time, many ethnic Indians moved into what is now known as Little India. The second round of research focused on these two areas, Chinatown and Little India where early Chinese and Indian migrants lived. And from my perspective, these two places could be the marks of the beginning of Singapore’s multi-racial society.
In this series, my attempt is to bring out the initial memories of the two ethnic places in Singapore through multi-exposure images of several special selected locations in Chinatown and Little India.