New hub in Geylang Serai to open in May

For residents of Geylang Serai, Hari Raya Puasa will be special this year, with a new social, cultural and heritage hub opening next month.

One of the first events to be held at the new Wisma Geylang Serai, which sits on the site of the former Malay Village, will be the Hari Raya bazaar and light-up on May 12, before the start of the fasting month on May 17.

The five-storey, 6,700 sq m complex will house facilities such as the Geylang Serai Community Club, the Geylang Serai Malay Heritage Gallery and the South East Community Development Council.

It will also have senior and childcare centres, a family service centre, a culinary studio, reading rooms, as well as food and beverage and retail outlets.

At the topping-out ceremony for the hub yesterday, Dr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs and Mayor of the South East District, said Wisma Geylang Serai "is a symbolic realisation of the unique spirit and heritage of Geylang, but with a modern twist".

Wisma Geylang Serai sits on land about the size of a football field beside the landmark Geylang Serai market.

The hub's architecture has its roots in the former Malay Village. Features from the Malay Village, like wood panels from the original building, have been incorporated.

The Malay Village shut in 2011 after 23 years. It was meant to preserve and raise awareness of Malay heritage, showcasing the lifestyle of local Malays before the 1960s.

Wisma Geylang Serai was commissioned to replace it. It took three years to build, at an estimated cost of around $55 million.

Dr Maliki said he hopes Wisma Geylang Serai will be a one-stop space for cultural and community events for all Singaporeans. He said the hub will provide opportunities for small businesses to showcase products using pushcarts and pop-up spaces.

Arts and dance studios have also been built to appeal to arts groups, he added.