Snapshot: Tiong Bahru
Low to the ground in a clearing of looming high-rise buildings, the cool, clean lines of Tiong Bahru estate recall the stylish era of 1930s Art Deco glamour.
Once known as Mei Ren Wo or Den of Beautifies, it housed many a wealthy merchant's mistress and the exotic working girls of the Great World Cabaret.
A waft of that age of slightly louche glamour still clings to the shaded walkways, corkscrewing staircases and voluptuously rounded curves of the buildings. Teetering on the edge of gentrification, the streets still thrum with local life: clusters of potted plants abound, vibrant funerary ware and garish household paraphernalia spill onto the pavements, all redolent of the smells of bak kut teh and other hawker favourites from the market.