17 October 2006

Festive light-ups - Deepavali

The ethnic quarter of Little India is dressed up in the month leading up to the Hindu festival of Diwali. But no one seems to care. Photo essay.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am a regular reader of ur blog and honestly am amazed at the amount of knowledge you possess about people of other nationalities/religion/region etc.

Its refreshing to read a blog that neither cuts corners when it comes to speaking the mind nor carries the "urban myths" of PRC women being men eaters, indians being smelly and malays as lazy bums.

Keep up the great work. I always liked people who were open about their preferences in life. And living their lives the way they want to inspite of what the world thinks of them.

ATB :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey YB- awesome photos! Munchies are EXPENSIVE.
one of the photos on the sweets?-
50 cents for one round sweet? That is expensive! it should be 75 cents for two round sweets? Am I wrong?

Jordan said...

AWESOME PHOTOS!!!
The Indian and Malay cultures are very steeped in tradition and culture. I guess that is why the women are in their cultural outfits. Religions being Islam, and Hinduism and Buddhism.

Chinese/Singapore/ women don't run around in cheongsams? But don't they wear their PJs to the wet markets? Other than that, perhaps the Asian women find it easy to wear casual or western-wear for night events?
The Indian/Bangladesh workers remind me of the illegal mexicans hanging around street corners. Many white americans will stop by and ask them to do work for them, at a cheap rate. America just hit the 300 million mark. And soon, hispanics will be the biggest ethnic group. I say 'Good for them...all migrants, legal or not, are the hardest working people all over the world'.
Inter-racial marriages must be on the increase.

Anonymous said...

A simple explanation for why the Chinese seem more interested in the light-ups than the Indians might simply be that the Indians tend to hang out around the area alot whereas most Chinese visit Chinatown only occasionally.

Also, your comparison of unskilled Indian labourers to skilled Chinese migrant workers is somewhat misleading. These two groups of workers are employed under different conditions and hence receive different status. The difference lies in their underlying socio-economic conditions (eg. education level) and not in their ethnicity. While their numbers are not as great as their unskilled counterparts, there are a significant number of skilled Indian migrant workers earning a good wage.

Your blog contains many interesting insights, but I sometimes wonder if you might be engaged in a bit of selective listening yourself.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Jordan said, "The Indian/Bangladesh workers remind me of the illegal mexicans hanging around street corners. Many white americans will stop by and ask them to do work for them, at a cheap rate."

The same thought occurred to me, though I have never actually seen a labour auction in Little India with my own eyes. Perhaps if it takes place at all, it's in the day, rather than at dusk or in the evening.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Re Anonymous 18 October 10:44.

There are boradly-speaking, 3 groups of foreign employees in Singapore
- professional
- skilled
- unskilled.

Excluding the professional class in which we see people from India as often as we see people from China, there is no doubt a clear difference between the skilled and unskilled.

I stand by my statement that the skilled workers tend to come from China (note "tend") while the unskilled workers tend to come from India/Bangladesh.

How often we see this: the guy who operates the excavator digging a trench is Chinese; the team pulling the fibre-optic cable on their shoulders to lay into the trench is Indian.

The guy skilfully laying tiles is Chinese. The guy hauling the tiles to him on a wheelbarrow is Bangla.

The certified plumber is Chinese. The sanitation worker is Indian.

You said, "These two groups of workers are employed under different conditions and hence receive different status. The difference lies in their underlying socio-economic conditions (eg. education level) and not in their ethnicity.

I think you'd be reading too much if you thought I was trying to cast aspersions on ethnicity.

All I'm doing is to state some obvious observational facts that perhaps accounts for their different purchasing power. It's up to each of us to ask why this is so.

You said they are employed under different categories, yet it still begs the question - why does one group dominate one category and the other group dominate the other category?

It seems to me that on the one hand you're offering an explanation for the difference (education) and on the other hand denying the difference (when you said "somewhat misleading"). Which is it?

manbeer said...

a simple explanation for the enduring popularity of female traditional dress for both malays and indians might be comfort. my mom always said that traditional indian dresses were very comfortable espeacially in warm weather. are cheongsams as comfortable? are cheongsams also the only traditional dress of a chinese woman?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

The cheongsam is not traditional It was INVENTED in th 1920s in Shanghai.

The more traditional form of dress for Chinese women do don't belong to the super-elite would be the samfoo. How often do we see that now?

Jordan said...

It would be very re-freshing to see Singapore Chinese women in samfoos n cheongsams- all fancied up? If one watches the old movie, "Love is a many splendored thing", with William Holden,n Jennifer Jones- check out the women's outfits? Really cool. I wonder if the HK women still wear cheongsams with mink stoles? One can see that in the 1960es era. The Asian women looked just super in their traditional gear.
I have to give it up for Mrs LKY...she has never veered off in her dressing. Maybe Singapore Asian women can take a lesson from her. Classic.