ITINERARY (Our Early Settlers : Memoirs of a Coolie)
Through this tour, we chart the journey of early Chinese settlers, in particular the coolies, as they made their way to Singapore’s shores, and painstakingly built the nation we live in today. Our tour begins at Thian Hock Keng Temple, the first stop for Chinese migrants as they give thanks to the goddess ‘Mazu’ for giving them safe passage. Next, we’ll have a peek into the living quarters of these men at Chinatown Heritage Centre, proof of the sufferings they had to endure both on and off the job. Despite the hardship, they still found time to unwind and enjoy themselves, at places like Lai Chun Yuan, for Chinese Opera performances. A more informal form of entertainment could also be found at the various opium dens in the area, where coolies went to relax and socialise. Without families, many coolies found themselves alone come retirement. We will visit Sago Lane, once famously known for their funeral parlours, as well as their makeshift hospices that housed coolies till their last breath. We have seen how they lived, and died, but now we move on to what truly moved this nation to the metropolis it is today. We will travel along the banks of the Singapore River and see where famous merchants and their warehouses once stood, before we head to lunch. Bak Kut Teh was a popular dish among many coolies, as the ingredients are carefully picked to provide the utmost nourishment for their hardy jobs, and the dish itself acts as a tonic to help revitalise them after a tough day’s work. Hard work can be tasty too!
Transportation and Tour Guide
Entry to Chinatown Heritage Centre
Singapore River Cruise
Popular local dish “Bah Kut Teh” Lunch