Chinese in Southeast Asia - Settlements

In urban Southeast Asia, opulently decorated temples, kongsi (collective ancestral halls), dialect associations, and Chinese chambers of commerce are among the most impressive expressions of Chinese cultural identity and presence. A common form of construction combines place of work and residence in shop-houses, connected and fronted by a 1.5meter covered veranda. Businesses frequently cluster: for example, fabric sellers, jewelry dealers, and sellers of ritual paraphernalia each will have a territory within the business district. Where allowed, food is hawked on every corner; also common are Chinese restaurants, in which large groups can be entertained at wedding or festival banquets. In Singapore and elsewhere, development and modernization have created new settlement forms that stand beside the old: many Chinese now reside in high-rise apartments or suburban housing estates, and shops and restaurants cluster in malls as well as in rows of shop-houses.

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