The first hints of color appear in the sky, and Ang Teck Hoe stoops over his truck, chopping knife in hand —ready to break down blocks of ice for the wet market. Across the street, white haired men gather around games of Chinese chess, and the Kopitian begins bustling with orders for coffee and kaya toast. Red lanterns punctuate shop signage and herbal smells of Chinese medicine waft down the street. As the hours pass, tourists mix in the throngs of people and eagerly consume these sights.
This is Singapore’s Chinatown.
With rapid gentrification, today’s Chinatown is a space where the past and present coexist. There is an element of ‘future shock’ within the older generations – displaced amidst the chaos of touristic attractions, new bars, and constant renovation. New waves of young adults and tourists are pouring into the area rapidly changing the physical and cultural landscape.
Chinatown Complex is a shopping center at the center of this transforming city-state. Through the complex’s inhabitants this documentary captures a neighborhood in transit. The film takes its viewers on a journey of interconnect characters and visceral vignettes that weave together the past and present in one of Asia’s most dynamic urban centers.