SINGAPORE: A topping out ceremony was held for Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS) on Sunday (April 8) to mark the completion of the 0.67 ha social and cultural heritage space, which will open its doors to residents in May.
At the ceremony, some 1,000 residents, community leaders and partners witnessed the symbolic placement of 100 wooden valence boards.
Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs and Mayor for South East District Maliki Osman and Grassroots Adviser to Geylang Serai Grassroots Organisations Fatimah Lateef joined residents.
They also unveiled the new WGS logo and were given a preview of the new facility.
The logo was chosen from than 5,700 votes garnered online and through public engagement activities with residents that ran from Mar 17 to Apr 1.
Also in attendance were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association Chan Chun Sing and Adviser to Marine Parade GRC Grassroots Organisations Seah Kian Peng.
The WGS is Singapore’s first social and cultural heritage hub which brings together various Malay-Muslim Organisations and government and community agencies to address residents needs.
It is developed by the People’s Association and Wisma Geylang Serai, and will house the new Geylang Serai Community Club, the South East Community Development Council office, a Malay Heritage Gallery, arts facilities, a senior care centre, childcare centre and a family service centre. The hub includes the incorporation and reuse of the architectural features from the former Malay Village.
Dr Maliki said: “From a broader perspective, it is a symbolic realisation of the unique spirit and heritage of Geylang, but in a modernised manner”.
“After all, the roots of the Geylang Serai market place go back more than 50 years ago. Wisma Geylang Serai remains a centre stage for a variety of services to be rendered, programmes and community-based activities and facilities not only to the Muslim community but also to the non-Malay/Muslim residents, to interact and bond together and build a united Singapore,” he added.
PA said the co-location of the various agencies under one roof will allow opportunities for more collaborations that will bring greater benefit to residents and address their needs better.
One such initiative is the enhanced Marine Parade Cluster Heritage Trail Mobile Application, previewed at the ceremony. The augmented reality mobile app will allow students from Marine Parade cluster schools to discover the history, landmarks and artefacts of Geylang Serai through a series of quizzes and tasks.
Other collaborations include one with the Marine Parade Leadership Foundation, Marine Parade Cluster and the Singapore University of Technology and Design that will foster greater engagement among youths and the community through the set up of common platforms to generate creative solutions that enhance the public spaces in WGS and around the Geylang Serai neighbourhood.
Upcoming plans for the space include the Hari Raya Bazaar.
Dr Maliki also announced that WGS would be conducting an Expression of Interest exercise in May to invite interested retailers to submit proposals for retail spaces at the WGS building.
The WGS project was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2011 National Day Rally and is a National effort led by multiple government agencies including the People’s Association, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Health, National Arts Council, National Heritage Board and Ministry of National Development.