SINGAPORE – The streets of Geylang Serai will bustle with activity come March 17 when the annual Ramadan bazaar returns with some 700 stalls expected to set up shop – a return to form from the 70 that operated in 2022.
Unlike previous years, in which the bazaar’s first day typically coincided with the start of the Muslim fasting month, the 2023 event will begin five days earlier to coincide with the Hari Raya light-up in Geylang Serai, and run for 36 days until April 21.
It will operate daily from 10am to 11.59pm, although this will be extended to 6am on Hari Raya Puasa, which falls on April 22.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Thursday, Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said this will be the longest duration the bazaar has operated.
He added that affordability will be a key consideration for visitors.
“As a start, we want to make sure that the food items are something that people can afford,” he said, citing how every food and beverage (F&B) outlet would offer one item on the menu at a sampler size for $4.
Mr Mohamed Mustaffa Shah Jehan, founder of Enniche Global Trading, which is part of the consortium operating the bazaar, said retail stalls can expect rentals of up to $15,000 for the entire duration, whereas F&B rentals can go up to $19,000 for the same period.
He added that there will be a space set aside for local entrepreneurs in the vicinity of Wisma Geylang Serai, where it will cost $55 a day to rent a stall.
This is to give entrepreneurs a chance to market their wares, especially in the light of many home-based businesses popping up amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this area, which will be designated as Souq City, derived from the Arabic word for market, community shelves will be set aside for people to place donated non-perishable halal food and clothing for Hari Raya.
The area will also host bazaar hallmarks including F&B and retail stalls.
Associate Professor Faishal, who is also lead adviser for Wisma Geylang Serai, said the space set aside for donated items is meant to encourage the spirit of giving.
“We want to provide opportunities for people to contribute while we... celebrate the atmosphere of Ramadan and Hari Raya,” he said.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, with it being a time for community, reflection, charity and prayer.
Meanwhile, there will be a separate area designated as the Street Bazaar, stretching from Geylang Serai Market to the area beside Tanjong Katong Complex.
Here, there will be three different themes featured prominently, with interactive art installations placed throughout.
Graffiti artist Slac Satu will be spray-painting his artwork across different panels during the 30 days of Ramadan.
“All we want is for visitors to have memorable experiences for them to remember 2023’s bazaar for many years to come,” said Prof Faishal.