Lower rents, fewer 'hipster' goods at Hari Raya bazaar

The rental cap follows feedback from operators who had raised concerns about rents climbing as high as $20,000 last year at the event held in conjunction with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The rental cap follows feedback from operators who had raised concerns about rents climbing as high as $20,000 last year at the event held in conjunction with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.ST FILE PHOTO

Leases capped at $14k, as organiser includes more stalls selling traditional Malay items

It will cost 30 per cent less to rent a stall at the popular Hari Raya Bazaar in Geylang Serai this year, with the price per stall capped at $14,000.

The move follows feedback from operators who had raised concerns about rents climbing as high as $20,000 last year at the event held in conjunction with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

It cost up to $15,000 in 2017.

Packed with stalls selling traditional Malay clothing, rugs, decorative items and colourful food, the bazaar drew 1.86 million visitors last year, mostly locals.

Announcing the rental cap yesterday, South East District Mayor Maliki Osman said with rents slashed, he is counting on operators to pass on the savings to the visitors.

"Because it is sizeably less than last year's rental, we really hope it will translate to reasonable pricing of the goods being sold," said Dr Maliki, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs.

The bazaar this year will run from May 3 to June 5. There will be between 500 and 700 stalls set up at areas surrounding the newly launched Wisma Geylang Serai, a Malay-Muslim social and cultural heritage hub which will be organising the event. Stalls will stretch to areas around Geylang Road as well.

 
 

The total area occupied would be reduced slightly, said Dr Maliki, but he added that the focus is on the quality of stalls.

The new sites would facilitate bigger walkways and greater space between stalls, with dining areas for visitors to sit and mingle, and for Muslim visitors to break fast together.

Following feedback from visitors that the annual Ramadan mega-event last year featured many stalls selling "hipster" food, Wisma Geylang Serai said most stalls at this year's bazaar will sell traditional Hari Raya goods related to the Malay culture.

Dr Maliki said visitors want "that nostalgic feeling".

The bazaar this year will run from May 3 to June 5. There will be between 500 and 700 stalls set up at areas surrounding the newly launched Wisma Geylang Serai. Stalls will stretch to areas around Geylang Road as well.

The organiser said about 60 per cent of the food stalls, and 80 per cent of the non-food stalls will focus on traditional Malay items.

The rest will sell contemporary items and colourful "hipster" food.

All food stalls must be either Muslim-owned or certified halal by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. Food stall operators can also work with organiser-engaged consultants to fulfil the halal criterion.

The event will also include cooking shows and other entertainment to pull in the crowds.

The organiser said local and overseas performers are expected to make appearances, adding that the bazaar is visited by people of all races each year and is a showcase of multiracial Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Lower rents, fewer 'hipster' goods at Hari Raya bazaar'. Print Edition | Subscribe