Chinatown, my Chinatown by Chet Atkins. Video from
Pop Song On Chinatown:
*Chinatown, my Chinatown,/When the lights are low,/Hearts that know no other land,/Drifting to and fro. The lines come from a pop song written by William Jerome and Jean Schwartz in 1910. They incorporated Chinese musical forms into Western music for the melody.
The song has been recorded by numerous artists and is considered to be a jazz standard (like, Fly Me To The Moon, Lady Is A Tramp, Summertime and others). Now why would two composers from the west write a song about Chinatown all so long ago?
|A flower festival in Frisco's Chinatown. Image from guidosdaddy.com|
I didn't believe it when I learnt as a youth that there's a Chinatown in nearly every city in the world. Impossible I told my parents. But it's true. There are hundreds of Chinatowns all over and this would include cities in Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australasia and Europe.
|Music Sheet Cover. A 1910 song.|
"Yes, too many around huh!" I told him but it was taken in good fun cause Bob was one of the friendliest white-boy to approach me on my first day at school. We are still in touch after nearly 40 years.
|Chinatown in Winnipeg (or Winterpeg), Canada.|
You can't miss these Chinatowns since the area would probably be cordoned off within its signature pagoda-styled frontage. Tried to go to as many Chinatowns as possible within my lifetime but have not succeeded. Here are some cities visited during those youthful years: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, London (Soho), Paris, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane, Christchurch(?) and the ones in S.E. Asia. These places are usually referred to in Cantonese as Tong Yan Gaai, or Chinese People's Street.
|Miss Chinatown Philippines Beauty Pageant.|
|Chinatown Vancouver, BC, Canada.|
You'd surely long to consume some Asian food during your travels away from Singapore so a Chinatown visit is a must unless you're gourmet-happy with fries and beef-burger everyday. Came a time in London I was running around Gerrard Street like a drug addict looking for a won-ton-noodle fix.
|Chinese Restaurant at Gerrard Street, London.|
Sixteen Sing Dollars for a bowl!
When I lived in Christchurch NZ in the 70s my landlady warned me about eating the won-ton, "sold in a certain restaurant in Chinatown," and what she said could be, "cat's meat." For the few weeks I was attached there I didn't eat at the restaurant.
The cheongsam charm has been around for a long time. Some Chinatowns hold annual Miss Chinatown beauty pageants. There is always a Miss Chinatown San Francisco, Miss Chinatown Hawaii, Miss Chinatown Scholarship Pageant or like what they hold in the U.S.A., Miss Chinatown Houston or Miss Chinatown Atlanta and even Mr n Miss Chinatown Philippines.
|Miss Chinatown USA Pageant.|
|Hollywood stereo-types from the past?|
|Marie Tang and Dino deliver songs with China theme.|
*There are instances when the West cannot differentiate the Chinese from the Japanese (can we?) and the result is a music sheet with unique graphics and lyrics of a song which may prove offensive to some. But then, that's another story and another posting.
All Google images including those of Chinatowns in San Francisco, Winnipeg, Djakarta, London.
SINGAPORE LATEST RELATED NEWS!
1) ROLLING STONES LIVE TELECAST AT MARINA BAY SANDS IN MARCH.
2) OUR CHINATOWN HAS AN AIR-CONDITIONED FOOD STREET JUST OPENED THIS WEEK IN FEBRUARY 2014.