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Singapore's insider take:

The business card of Tong Mern Sern Antiques forewarns all who enter this black hole of bric-a-brac: "We buy junk and sell antiques. Some fools buy and some fools sell" (51 Craig Rd., off Neil Rd.; 65-6223-1037). Whichever you are, no visit to Chinatown is complete without a peek into this treasure trove, the contents of which overflow onto Craig Road. Climb to the back where expert restorers are rebuilding Singapore's history, one Art Deco side table at a time. For colonial souvenirs, try the well-priced Ancient Antique Furniture (16 Mohammed Sultan Rd., 65-6844-6006). Travelers drawn to the home-ware heritage of Indonesia may be overstimulated by the copious selection of Javanese hand-carved desks, woven cane planter's chairs, and Balinese princess beds at John Erdos Gallery (83 Kim Yam Rd.; 65-6735-3307; Those who prefer the antique textiles of Burma, North Thailand, and Cambodia will appreciate Isan Textile Gallery (42 Jalan Kembangan; 65-6442-4278; It's located off the beaten path in Kembangan, but the museum-quality collection of owner and textile expert Percy Vatsaloo makes it work the trip.

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