While Malay heritage will be the focal point at the months-old Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS), the civic and cultural centre will also have its eye on the future.
Yesterday, Dr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs, said autonomous robots are being considered for security patrols at the five-storey complex in Geylang Serai.
WGS is exploring the use of customised robots, which will increase productivity while allowing for remote monitoring of the premises, he said at a media briefing.
Aside from this exploration of artificial intelligence, WGS will also embrace technology by setting up a media studio school for the community to learn about aspects of social media.
Dr Maliki, who is also the Mayor of South East District, where Geylang Serai is located, said: "We hope that new definitions of culture and heritage can be developed over time."
The one-stop hub for community and cultural activities began operations 41/2 months ago, and will be officially opened in a three-day celebration in January.
The grand opening on Jan 26 will be officiated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Dr Maliki said.
In keeping with its mission, new and old forms of music by Malay youth, ranging from rap to gamelan music, will be showcased on Nov 10 at Gala-Laga, WGS' first Malay Youth Music Festival.
Dr Maliki said the festival was one of many initiatives that have been slated to help establish WGS as a leading cultural centre.
"We hope that Gala-Laga will inspire other young budding musicians. The next phase is to provide opportunities for our buskers to come to WGS," he said.
Dr Maliki also announced yesterday that eight Malay-Muslim organisations, including the Association of Muslim Professionals, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) and Berita Harian newspaper, will provide a one-stop service centre for the community located at the centre.
Kurnia@WGS - "kurnia" means "gift" - will provide social welfare, including scholarships, bursaries, financial aid and skills training, as well as programmes related to the arts and media, such as art installations and workshops.
WGS also aims to provide holistic support for families through a family service centre, as well as a childcare and senior centre on the premises.
The hub, which will see more businesses and restaurants opening, will also provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs to showcase their wares on pushcarts.
WGS is on the site of the former Malay Village, which was developed to preserve and raise awareness of Malay heritage. It shut in 2011 after more than 20 years.
While WGS aims to be a focal point for the Malay community, it is open to all Singaporeans, said Dr Maliki.
Performers at the music festival - to take place from 2pm to 10pm on Nov 10 - include classical pianist Nabillah Jalal and the group Djoko Mangkrengg, which uses instruments like the angklung.
Tickets to the festival are free, but those who are interested to attend should register at galalaga2018.peatix.com