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A row of beautifully restored Peranakan houses along Petain Road, Singapore.
Peranakan is a Malay word that means "descendent" and it refers to the descendants of the very early Chinese immigrants to Southeast Asia, particularly to Singapore, Malacca, Penang and parts of Indonesia.
These early immigrants partially adopted Malay customs in an effort to be assimilated into the local communities.
The Peranakans have a distinctive culture that includes their own "language" - a mix of Chinese (usually Hokkien dialect), Malay and English - and cuisine (sweet and spicy).
Peranakan architecture is, as you can see here, very colourful, featuring the use of decorative wall tiles.
Petain Road, incidentally, is a small red light district in Singapore (where prostitution is legal but pimping is not). It is a "low-end" area where the working girls are generally older women serving older men and low wage foreign workers. They don't work out of these beautiful houses, but a short distance away.
Also by Richard Seah
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