Following on from my previous inaugural first post on Little India, I have to say again that this is one of the rare gems of street photography in Singapore – I have walked the streets of Orchard Road, China town, Shenton Way and other roads but never has there been a friendlier, more photographically rich streets such as those found along Little India, this hub of activity with road names such as Veersasamy Road, Dunlop Street, Serangoon Road, among others.
Here the people are friendly (a smile goes a long way to warm them up) and genuinely don’t seem to mind being seen and photographed. You would be forgiven that you are in India itself, but a cursory glance around at the many Singapore flags hanging off the buildings (it was near National Day in Singapore) confirms that one is in a special place in this island country – a place where the Indians and Bangladeshi call a home away from home.
Other than the streets of Paris, I have not felt such an adrenaline rush and great swathes of inspiration while out on the streets.
Despite the heavy Tamil influences and origins of this place, it is, like the rest of Singapore, a multi-cultural and religious tolerant place. In fact, I discovered a couple of small churches holding services on Sunday afternoons in little shophouses. The most prominent Christian building in the area though is the Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, with an imposing structure right in the heart of a cluster of shophouses, along a major cross junction.
There seems to be no regulation against pasting posters and ads on the walls of the buildings – it is as if this area is completely unregulated, or rather, under a different authority than the rest of Singapore.
The presence of the occasional police patrol car however dispels that myth. But certainly this area has a life of its own without the restrictive boundaries other areas of Singapore faces.
Here out in the back alleys and backstreets of Little India, people mill around the roads without regard for traffic – you just have to watch out for traffic on your own in an area with no traffic lights!
The invigorating street life of Little India will certainly drawn me back again and again – I did not see any homeless people or beggars out on the streets here – what I did see, however, is an integration of a people miles away from their native homes, mingling, socialisng and reconnecting in a place that resembles that of their own home, a place of solace and comfort from the stress of everyday work in a foreign land. It is truly a home way from home for many of these foreign workers, an amalgamation of different cultures united by a common need to connect.
Watch out for part 3 of this installment! (Edit: Part 3 is now online!)