Time for family as Ramadan begins

People seen at the Geylang Serai Bazaar on its opening night.
People seen at the Geylang Serai Bazaar on its opening night.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Vendors setting up a stall selling Turkish lamps at the famous annual Geylang Serai Bazaar yesterday evening. It will be open until June 24.
Vendors setting up a stall selling Turkish lamps at the famous annual Geylang Serai Bazaar yesterday evening. It will be open until June 24.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Yaacob urges strengthening of ties as Ramadan coincides with school holidays; annual Geylang Serai Bazaar opens

Since the fasting month of Ramadan coincides with the school holidays, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, yesterday encouraged more Muslim families to do things together with their children.

Family ties could be strengthened by activities such as giving to charity and reading the Quran together, he suggested, in a message posted on his Facebook page.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, also called on Muslims to take the fasting month as an opportunity to improve their eating habits, by eating in moderation and reducing food wastage.

Echoing Dr Yaacob's call, Singapore's Mufti Mohamed Fatris Bakaram wished all Muslims here a blessed Ramadan, and called on them to take the opportunity to strengthen friendships and family ties.

He added that according to calculations, the crescent moon - marking the beginning of the month - appeared for 39 minutes after sunset yesterday. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) also announced that the zakat - the annual tithe paid by Muslims to the needy - for this year is $5.10 or $7 per head.

Determined by the Muis Zakat and Fitrah Committee, the amount is based on the average price of 2.3kg of rice.

The higher amount, based on a higher grade of rice, is for those who wish to pay more than the normal rate.

  • 1.4m

  • Number of visitors expected at the annual Geylang Serai Bazaar, which runs until June 24.

 

Yesterday also marked the start of the annual Geylang Serai Bazaar, which is open until June 24.

It features around 1,000 stalls selling items such as food, decorations and traditional costumes set up around Geylang Serai Market, Joo Chiat Complex and Haig Road.

The stalls include Macarons.sg, which sells Singapore's only halal-certified macarons, Soi Coco, which sells coconut puddings and shakes, and The Kopi Kia, which sells multi-coloured shakes based on local coffee shop drinks.

Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef, the opening ceremony's guest of honour, toured the bazaar, greeting stall owners and distributing stickers advising them on personal hygiene practices.

Organisers said around 1.4 million visitors are expected for the duration of the bazaar.

Mr Eric Wong, chairman of the Geylang Serai Citizens Consultative Committee, said there have not been increased security concerns at the bazaar compared with previous years.

"The number of patrols carried out is about the same," he said, referring to regular patrols of the bazaar by grassroots leaders to ensure order.

"Every grassroots leader has the opportunity to do some ground-sensing. We cannot fully depend on the (security) agencies, because they cannot be everywhere."

Stall owners whom The Straits Times spoke to said they were enticed to set up shop due to increased interest in the bazaar since last year.

"It's now more like a place where youngsters can chill out and there are more artisanal brands too," said Ms Yan Pei Shan, 22, founder of Soi Coco.

Mr Kevin Teo, 37, executive chef of Macarons.sg said: "I think it's going to be more crowded than last year. With the publicity, it will attract not just more Muslim crowds, but also those of other races."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline ''Do more with families during fasting month''. Print Edition | Subscribe