Bugis, in Singapore, was renowned internationally from the 1950s to the 1980s for its nightly gathering of trans women, a phenomenon which made it one of Singapore’s top tourist destinations during that period.
In the mid-1980s, Bugis Street underwent major urban redevelopment into a retail complex of modern shopping malls, restaurants and nightspots mixed with regulated back-alley roadside vendors. Underground digging to construct the Bugis MRT station prior to that also caused the upheaval and termination of nightly transgender sex bazaar culture, marking the end of a colourful and unique era in Singapore’s history.
Today, the original Bugis Street is now a cobblestoned, relatively wide avenue sandwiched between the buildings of the Bugis Junction shopping complex. On the other hand, the lane presently touted as “Bugis Street” by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board is actually developed from New Bugis Street, formerly Albert Street, and is billed as “the largest street-shopping location in Singapore”. An attempt by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board to bring back the former exotic atmosphere was unsuccessful. Although the street is not a well-known tourist destination, it is frequented by many Singaporeans.
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