Listen to original plays at Geylang Serai spots in new walking trail

The trail was launched at an event held at Wisma Geylang Serai (above) on Sunday (Dec 12). ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - History comes to life at Singapore's oldest bookstore and four other iconic locations in a new audio-led walking trail in Geylang Serai.

In the self-guided Geylang Serai Trails, participants can tour the cultural precinct while listening to original radio plays written by five local playwrights, inspired by the five stops on the trail.

At the launch event held at Wisma Geylang Serai on Sunday (Dec 12), Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Maliki Osman said the trail is one of the many resources that can help Singaporeans learn more about the history of the places they grew up in.

"The study of history doesn't have to be limited to learning about ancient civilizations or understanding different cultures. People are now becoming more interested in learning about where they grew up, their old school, their neighbourhood or places which mean something more to them," said Dr Maliki, who is also Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs

He noted that the Geylang Serai Trails takes a unique spin on the typical self-guided walking trail as it invites participants to visit historical sites while listening to radio plays.

"Through anecdotes and stories (from members of the local community), one can find more worthwhile exchanges that are usually much more insightful," he said.

At each of the five stops, participants can scan a QR code to listen to the corresponding radio plays.

At Haji Hashim Enterprise in Joo Chiat Complex, participants will be treated to an emotional play about a father and son who are facing the possibility of their store being closed down.

Opened in 1922, Haji Hashim Enterprise is known as Singapore's oldest bookstore and is frequented by the Malay community for books and supplies.

At Geylang Serai Chee Kong, a second-generation Chinese dessert shop located in Geylang Serai Market, participants are encouraged to order and sip a bowl of dessert while listening to an audio play of the dish's ingredients "talking" to one another.

The first-generation owner of the stall used to sell the dessert on a tricycle in Onan Road in the 1950s before eventually moving into its current location.

The other three locations on the trail are Fotohi Carpet Gallery in Tanjong Katong Complex, Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah in Joo Chiat Road and Indian Muslim Bakery and Confectionery in Onan Road.

The trail is organised by Wisma Geylang Serai in collaboration with local theatre company The 2nd Breakfast Company.

On Sunday, Dr Maliki also launched the SeniKita exhibition on the fourth level of Wisma Geylang Serai.

The second edition of the art exhibition features art pieces and sculptures by local Malay artists.

It runs till Jan 2 next year, and is open to the public from 10am to 6pm daily.

Geylang Serai is undergoing a rejuvenation project to strengthen the area's cultural identity, with new developments planned for the next few years, including Anjung @ WGS, a 1,704 sq m hard court located beside Wisma Geylang Serai.

Anjung@WGS seen under construction on Dec 12, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Said Dr Maliki: "The idea of developing the Geylang Serai cultural precinct is not just focused on physical developments. It's also about programming and the history and heritage (of the area), so that Singaporeans can appreciate the unique offerings of Geylang Serai."

"One of our greatest interest is to attract young people to come to Geylang Serai and celebrate the history and rich culture of this place."

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