Permits & Passes
Book Review: Chinatown - Rhythm & Blues
Chinatown - Rhythm & Blues is the story of
modern-day Chinatown residents going about their
daily routines in a landscape caught between the
present and the past.
It is a story told through the words of KHONG Swee
Lin, and the eyes of her husband cum veteran
photographer, Carl-Bernd, who manages magnificently to
capture the vibrancy of a new Chinatown - preserving
the relics of its past here and there in its nostalgic
splendour, yet, not shutting out the present by its
housing of the new economy's dotcoms, architectural
firms and advertising agencies behind the louvred
shutters of its pre-war shophouses.
As you flip through the pages of the book, you marvel
at the meticulous detail of the photographer in
recording Chinatown in its multi-faceted beauty - from
the everyday scene of ducks hung out to dry to an old
woman, clad in wide-legged trousers and samfu
tunic top, flashing a smile that lit up her face - a
portrait of a Chinatown icon that is sure to fade away
into our history books in time to come.
It is this attention to detail that draws out what is
quintessentially Chinatown so that you can better
appreciate the history of the place, and perhaps,
allow nostalgia to loom over you as you soak in its
weather- and time- tested elements in snatches, here
The book, published this year by Times
Media Pte Ltd, retails at S$49.50. Get a copy
today, not only just to grace your coffee table, but
also to keep a piece of our history by your side.
book review by Raymond HAN
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