New Wisma Geylang Serai will house arts and culture groups

SINGAPORE - When it is completed next year, the upcoming Wisma Geylang Serai, in Paya Lebar will be a place where Malay culture and heritage can be kept alive and passed on to the younger generation.

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman said this on Sunday (July 30) as he revealed plans for the five-storey, 10,000 sqm centre.

Dr Maliki will lead an initiative by the Malay Activity Executive Committees Council - better known by its acronym Mesra - to manage the programming for the new centre.

Among the programmes that Mesra will bring to Wisma Geylang Serai are the annual Hari Raya Bazaar and Hari Raya light up, Dr Maliki said.

He added that there will also be other "integrated programmes", such as those in which Mesra will work with the National Art Council to bring in cultural groups and other organisations to bring in job fairs.

In addition, the centre will have performance spaces, and Mesra will collaborate with the National Heritage Board and Geylang Serai CC, he said adding: "It will come alive like the Botanic Gardens with performances on the weekends."

Speaking at the sidelines of a gala dinner celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Malay Activity Executive Committees, Dr Maliki said he hoped the new centre will help preserve and grow the Malay culture and become a space where people from all communities "gravitate" to learn about Malay heritage.

"If you look at the yearly (Hari Raya) bazaar, it has attracted not just the Malay community, but the non-Malay community," he said. "What we hope to achieve is a centre that the Malay community will be proud of, where people can go to experience Malay culture."

The new civic centre, which is located where the Malay Village used to stand in Geylang Serai, will house the new Geylang Serai Community Club, a Malay Heritage Gallery and arts facilities, along with senior care, childcare and family service centres.