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Reflection On The History Of Singapore River And Chinese Business

1847 words - 8 pages

Singapore River which flows through the central of Singapore has witnessed and experienced the growth of Singapore for hundreds of years. Its strategic location made itself the central of social, political, and commercial life of Singapore in the history. To understand and feel the important role that Singapore River played in Singapore history, I had a walking tour around Singapore river, as well as a visit trip to Asian Civilization Museum to have a look at the ancient appearance of Singapore River.
Walking along the Singapore river, numerous banking and financial towers could be easily observed. As the financial centre in Asia, almost all the big names in financial world have ...view middle of the document...

At that time, Singapore River was a busy port where hundreds of vessels carrying goods from everywhere of world were floating in the river for trading, and numerous coolies and merchants were busy on their trade business. Most of the coolies were foreign immigrants and the majority of them are from China, who left their country for Singapore in hope to make a living and escape from poverty. Most of them were unskilled who were only able to work as coolies and live in crowed and squalid environments along the river. Some Chinese merchant, those who either had been in Singapore for a long time and had accumulated experience and fund, or were leveraging their “guanxi” networks, each of them organized and managed hundreds of coolies to make money for them. Even though most of Chinese coolies were marginalized while they were struggling for lives, they had contributed numerously to the prosperous development of the business along Singapore River.
Many art works can be observed along the area near Singapore River. One of them is the huge plump bird donated by UOB, which symbolises that Singapore will continue to grow and prosper with serenity, joy of living and optimism.[4] The bird recalls me that many successful Chinese firms and individuals in the history were also great philanthropists. Like Show’s brother, Tan Kah Kee, etc., who never forget to return back to the prosperity of the society after their success. Their financial donations as well as spirit has encouraged local Singaporeans to continue pursuing their dream to make Singapore a rich, peaceful and enjoyable city garden.
Singapore River consists of three quays: Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay.[2] Each of the quays has its unique stories in Singapore history as well as in modern life. Boat Quay located nearest to the mouth of Singapore River, followed by Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay. Today, these quays become places of interests where playful pubs, thematic restaurants, entertainment spots could be easily found and visitors are always fascinated by the energetic, enjoyable, and peaceful ambience here.[2] However the scene behind these colourful pictures a century ago was totally different. When Raffles declared that Singapore would be a free port for trading, numerous immigrants from South China, Malaysia, and other neighbouring countries came to Singapore. They either traded goods here, or settled in Singapore as coolies or merchant to make a living. The rapid development of trading business laid the foundation for Singapore to accumulate a large number of residences, financial asset and strong global influence. Singapore River was regarded as the starting point of the prosperous Singapore today.
The visit trip to ACM brought a closer view to the ancient history of Singapore. History of trading business at Singapore River could be dated back to around 14th century. As early as 5th century, vessel flows that passed through the strait of Melaka could be observed between China...

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