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The community teams up to celebrate Kampong Glam’s heritage

Experience the district’s rich history and more, at the inaugural Kampong Glam Day Out

  Published: 21 November 2018

Kampong Glam is set to become a vibrant hub of activity this Saturday, 24 November, with the first ever Kampong Glam Day Out. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and their community partners have put together an exciting programme, where the public can learn more about the neighbourhood’s history and trades, discover its lesser-known stories and places, and participate in a myriad of family-friendly activities.

All hands on deck to celebrate our built heritage

Kampong Glam today continues to be the social, cultural and spiritual centre of Singapore’s Muslim community. Known for its rich history and culture, vibrant heritage buildings and streets, as well as colourful tapestry of trades and eateries, the historic district is also a popular destination for locals and tourists. See Annex A [PDF, 113kb] for a write-up on Kampong Glam.

Kampong Glam Day Out is the highlight of this year’s Architectural Heritage Season, a month-long programme to facilitate greater knowledge sharing among professionals on good restoration practices for heritage buildings, and to promote greater public participation in shaping Singapore’s built heritage landscape.

In collaboration with Kampong Glam stakeholders and partners who are passionate about Singapore’s heritage, a day of activities has been organised for visitors of all ages and interests. They range from guided tours of historic landmarks, talks and workshops on Kampong Glam’s history and trades, movie screenings, to street carnivals.

Mr Alvin Ting, General Manager of the Malay Heritage Centre, a key partner and event venue sponsor of Kampong Glam Day Out, said, “We are happy to partner URA for Kampong Glam Day Out, which showcases the historical precinct which MHC sits in. Such partnerships bring about more vibrancy into Kampong Gelam, and introduce Singaporeans to the rich heritage of the precinct.”

CEO of URA, Mr Lim Eng Hwee, thanked all partners for their support. He said, “Kampong Glam Day Out truly reflects the kampong spirit that is essential to our efforts in raising greater awareness for conservation work, enlivening our historic districts, and in promoting deeper public participation to shape our vibrant heritage landscape.”

Journey through Kampong Glam’s rich history

Did you know how Kampong Glam’s landscape has evolved with Singapore’s progress, or wondered what it is like living and working in the neighbourhood? Join guided tours led by personalities who are no strangers to Kampong Glam, including Mr Najip Ali, Mr Khairudin Saharom, and Mr Khir Johari. Participants will go off the beaten path to discover the district’s multi-faceted stories and places. Also lined-up are tours of iconic landmarks, such as the majestic Sultan Mosque and the Malay Heritage Centre. Participants of a talk by archaeologist Mr Chen Sian will also find out about the artefacts uncovered during a recent archaeological dig, and their significance to the history of Kampong Glam and Singapore.

Local personality Mr Najip Ali, who is leading a tour to his favourite haunts, said, “Although I have lived in Kampong Glam for nearly 15 years, the more I learn about this place and its community, the more I realised how little that I know. It brings me great joy every time I discover and uncover something new, be it a slice of history, a heritage story, or a new café. I’d like to share this joy of discovery about ‘my hood’ Kampong Glam, with anyone who wants to know more and feel at home every time they visit.”

Experience the district’s colourful trades and landscape
Those yearning for a more hands-on experience can sign up for activities organised by local stakeholders which showcase Kampong Glam’s traditional trades and buildings. Participants of a carpet-making talk for example, will learn about the history behind this traditional craft in Singapore’s oldest urban quarter, while those keen in finding out about the district’s perfume trade can also create their own scent at a perfume-making workshop. The Lo & Behold Group will open their premises to the public for the first time, for participants to experience how it is like working in a restored shophouse.

Something for everyone

Our youths are also on board. Last year, a group of students from Teck Whye Primary School worked with URA to produce two children’s storybook on the adventures of Billie the Hornbill – URA’s conservation mascot – in the Joo Chiat estate. Another group of students have completed two new books this year, on Billie’s adventures in Kampong Glam. The public can head down to support them at the book launch. URA will be giving out free copies until they run out.

Kampong Glam’s streets will also be abuzz with carnivals. Under URA’s Streets for People programme, One Kampong Gelam has lined-up an evening of activities that will transform Arab Street into a lively space. Highlights include live music and performances by local talents, playgrounds for children, a canvas spray-painting showcase by artists, and plenty of street food. Winners of a live quiz stand to win goodie bags of this year’s Architectural Heritage Awards. Visit One Kampong Gelam’s Facebook page for more details. In addition, Bussorah Street will be bustling with music performances, as part of the ongoing Passion@KampongGlam

Kampong Glam Day Out will culminate in an outdoor movie screening at the lawn of the Malay Heritage Centre, where families and friends immerse themselves in an old-time classic under the stars. 

To facilitate the festivities and allow everyone to enjoy Kampong Glam’s charm in a people-friendly environment, roads in the area will be closed to vehicular traffic. See Annex B [PDF, 7kb] for the affected roads and closure timings.

Mr Saeid Labbafi, founder and chairman of One Kampong Gelam, said, “We are delighted to have an eclectic mix of activities that cater to every visitor. This is representative of Kampong Glam’s unique character as a community of diverse cultures and backgrounds, that have rallied together to enliven the neighbourhood. Through fun and play, we hope more people will visit Kampong Glam to make it an even more delightful destination to experience rich heritage, arts, and culture.”

See Annex C [PDF, 138kb] for details of the activities at Kampong Glam Day Out, and Annex D [PDF, 313kb] for a map of key activities and venues.

To register for the activities, visit http://uradayout.eventbrite.com. For details of the Architectural Heritage Season, visit ura.sg/ahs.