Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar called off, celebrations will move online

SINGAPORE – There will be no Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar this year, the second year in a row that the annual event has been called off.

However, the area where the event is traditionally held will be lit up with festive decorations from April 9 to May 23.

An online bazaar will also take place from April 9 to May 13, which is Hari Raya Puasa.

Bazaar organiser Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS) announced on Wednesday (Jan 13) that physical bazaars and trade fairs that traditionally attract large crowds will not resume in view of the evolving Covid-19 situation, “for the safety and well-being of our residents”.

Instead, an online version of the bazaar will be held on a new digital platform this year.

A launch show will also be held to mark the start of the Hari Raya Light Up as well as the online fair, and it will be streamed live on WGS’ social media platforms.

The ongoing pandemic also saw the Chinatown bazaar, which would have been held this month in the lead-up to Chinese New Year, called off late last year.

The month-long Geylang bazaar is usually held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and attracts large crowds to stalls that offer a wide variety of food and beverages, festive clothing and household decorations, as well as live auctions.

Full-time national serviceman Muhammad Syafiq Mohamed Khairani, 20, was disappointed to hear there will not be a physical bazaar.

“Other places like malls can be just as crowded as the bazaar would be,” he said, suggesting there could be measures to limit the number of visitors, as was done at some wet markets.

But student Rania Nair, 20, a Geylang Serai resident, felt an online bazaar is the safest option, given the Covid-19 situation.

“We can always have a physical bazaar when things get better,” she said, adding that she would visit the online bazaar to buy food items and festive clothing.

Last year’s bazaar was cancelled in mid-March, amid a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections that saw the authorities ask for all cultural, sports and entertainment events with 250 participants or more to be deferred or cancelled. However, an e-commerce platform was launched to help traditional vendors sell and deliver food products and festive wares.

This year’s online bazaar will be organised by WGS, which is part of the People’s Association and brings together several social and community facilities, as well as the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI).

Online programmes will also be curated for residents, and will include music, comedy, cooking, baking, and exercise videos streamed on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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There will also be special “live” features such as an e-buka puasa (breaking of fast) show and a Hari Raya Show.

Other activities include a Hari Raya song writing competition, and the winning song will be used as the theme song for WGS’ Hari Raya programmes for the year. An open call for participants will be launched by March 2021.

There will also be a TikTok campaign and a Home Light-Up competition to get people in the festive mood for Hari Raya celebrations.

More details about the online bazaar and other activities will be announced in early April.

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