Singapore

Experience all of Asean at Hari Raya Bazaar

Sip Paksong coffee from Laos, buy embroidered wallets from Myanmar and eat chocolate from the Philippines - all without leaving Singapore.

An Asean-theme street fair was set up at a new cultural hub in Geylang Serai yesterday, featuring 10 stalls selling goods from each of the 10 Asean member countries.

Organised and hosted by Wisma Geylang Serai, the fair is part of this year's Hari Raya Bazaar and opened on the first night of Ramadan.

It also coincides with Singapore's chairmanship of the regional body this year.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners of all Asean nations attended the fair to break fast together.

Hosting the event, the Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Dr Maliki Osman, said the fair will allow Singaporeans and citizens of the Asean countries to learn from each other.

CULTURE

"We want Singaporeans to experience the products, the culture of Asean right in the centre of the community," he said in his opening speech.

He said the annual Hari Raya Bazaar was chosen to host the street fair because of its existing infrastructure and popularity.

Dr Maliki, who is also Mayor of the South East District, said he is watching the rising rental costs at the event.

"We're not particularly concerned about who gives the best offer for the different stalls, but really about who brings in unique ideas," he added.

"This is a time where young entrepreneurs and new start-ups can try their hand at business, and we want to promote that. We will work with the other operators of the different bazaars in the area and hopefully in the years to come we will be able to manage some of these challenges (like rising rentals)."

The guest of honour was Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The street fair will end on June 14.

COMMUNITY ISSUES