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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 22 June 2004

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Chinatown Night Market opens for business

The bustling street market, an integral part of Chinatown's street scene in the past, made a comeback on 18 Jun 2004, as 215 stalls of the new Chinatown Night Market started opening for business.

The stalls, which now line Pagoda, Trengganu and Sago streets, offer local residents and visitors a wide and interesting selection of retail items to choose from, ranging from handicraft to fashion apparel, electronic goods, jewellery, trinkets, modern home accessories and food items, just to name a few.

The retail mix is a blend of traditional Chinese items and contemporary offerings which would appeal to the younger generation.

Several young entrepreneurs in their 20s and 30s among the stallholders lend an eclectic touch to the Night Market's retail mix with their creative wares. These include bags made out of recycled drink cartons, custom-made hand-painted T-shirts, made-to-order bracelets, necklaces and rings as well as custom-made hand-painted glassware.

These items will sell alongside more traditional wares for which Chinatown was once famous, such as Feng Shui or geomancy-related products, Chinese calligraphy, artwork and handicraft, as well as customary Chinese wedding items such as traditional "dragon and phoenix" candles.

In addition, artisans of vanishing trades which once thrived along Chinatown's walkways, including clog makers (木屐匠), fortune tellers (算命先生), paper cutters and Chinese opera mask painters will once again peddle their wares and services at the Chinatown Night Market.

Nightly performances will also add to the lively atmosphere at the Night Market. Visitors to Chinatown can now look forward to two shows every night from 8.30pm to 10.30pm.

These shows, ranging from cultural dance performances to plays and concerts, are free of charge and will be staged at Pagoda Street, Chinatown Food Street and Kreta Ayer Square. In the upcoming weeks, visitors and local residents can expect to be entertained by lion and dragon dances, stilt-walkers, wushu martial arts performances, Chinese operas, Indian and Malay dances and acrobatic and Chinese orchestra performances.

Together with the Chinatown Business Association (CBA), which will run the Night Market, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) aims to develop the Night Market and the Chinatown Food Street at Smith Street into a vibrant one-stop shopping, dining and entertainment hub in Chinatown.

The Chinatown Night Market marks the latest milestone in the implementation of the Chinatown Experience Guide Plan, a multi-agency masterplan spearheaded by the STB to revitalize Chinatown and increase the vibrancy in this important ethnic district.

The CBA received an overwhelming response when it opened applications for the Night Market stalls in April, with a total of 250 vendors applying for the 88 stand-alone stalls. Of these stalls, about 50% will be selling fashion apparel and accessories, as well as gifts. Some 38% will offer handicraft, modern home accessories and traditional Chinese cultural items and about 12% will offer F&B products. All applications went through a stringent evaluation process so as to ensure that the Chinatown Night Market will offer an interesting and appealing retail mix.

The various shop-front and stand-alone stalls will be clustered according to the merchandise they offer. Pagoda Street will offer a mix of fashion apparel and accessories, children's items and gifts. Trengganu Street will have a mix of tourist souvenirs and finger food, while shoppers can look forward to handicraft, modern home accessories and traditional and cultural items at Sago Street.

Mr Gerald Lee, the STB's Assistant Chief Executive (Leisure), said: "The Chinatown Night Market will add even more buzz to Chinatown, and give younger Singaporeans the chance to experience the lively street scenes which were once a part of Chinatown. We are indeed heartened by the excellent take-up rate for the stalls, and we are encouraged to see a number of young entrepreneurs among the tenants for the Chinatown Night Market. This signifies a renewed interest in Chinatown among younger Singaporeans, and we hope that with the Night Market now open for business, even more Singaporeans and visitors will be drawn to Chinatown."

Mr Wong Chi Keong, the CBA's Chairman, said: "Together with the Chinatown Food Street, the Night Market will serve as a bustling focal point for locals and visitors to have an exciting night out in Chinatown. With a winning combination of good food, great bargains and exciting entertainment, both locals and visitors have even more reasons to explore this historical ethnic district."

More.....

Source: Singapore Tourism Board Press Release 17 Jun 2004

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