Singapore

Revamped Kreta Ayer CC and People's Theatre to draw youth

Though the estate of Chinatown is usually associated with history, heritage and the elderly, its key community institutions have been given a makeover to attract the younger crowd.

An upgraded Kreta Ayer Community Club (CC) and Kreta Ayer People's Theatre were officially opened yesterday, after a three-year revamp of the CC and a 16-month renovation of the theatre.

The community club features a new interactive heritage gallery where students from Anderson Secondary School and Gan Eng Seng School will act as guides.

It is the National Heritage Board's first community gallery to focus on the traditions and practices of local cultural art forms. These include Chinese opera, Nanyin (Chinese southern music), Chinese puppetry, Chinese painting and calligraphy, and tea drinking and appreciation.

Apart from involving students in keeping Chinese culture and heritage alive, younger people who live or work in the area can enrol their children in the new childcare centre at the CC, or take part in programmes such as K-pop or trampoline fitness classes.

To reflect the changing needs of the community, there will also be photography, board game and windsurfing interest groups.

Jalan Kukoh Residents' Committee vice-chairman Lim Kay Yong, 28, said that ever since these programmes became available last year, there has been a 30 per cent rise in youth participation.

Currently, half of the residents in the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng area are aged 50 and above.

Dr Lily Neo, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, said a balance needs to be struck between meeting the evolving needs of residents and preserving the area's rich history and culture.

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