Of the countries I’ve been to, all of them have a Chinatown. However, unlike the Chinatowns around the world, Singapore’s Chinatown is called Niu Che Shui 牛车水 (bullock-cart water) instead of the conventional tang ren jie 唐人街 (the street of the Chinese people).
This is because the Chinatown in the old days had no water supply, so the people living there had to transport water manually using carts driven by bulls. Here at Ann Siang Hill where I’m standing, is the very path by which they used to transport water from the main well to their homes.
Standing at this point at the bottom of Ann Siang Hill at Singapore’s Chinatown, I can almost visualize the activities of the Chinese immigrants of old.
And of course, Ann Siang is the name of the man who bought the land around this area, including the hill.
A tip for backpackers looking for accessible accommodation near popular tourist attractions and convenient public transports: there is a newly opened hostel at Ann Siang Hill: Matchbox the Concept Hostel. Do check it out! The owners are very friendly, and they sell attraction tickets to the best and most popular tourist spots in Singapore.
Your Singapore Guide