Sikh temple in Wilkie Road marks 100th anniversary with party in the park

Dancers performing during the 100th anniversary celebration at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore, on June 24, 2018.
Dancers performing during the 100th anniversary celebration at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore, on June 24, 2018.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Sri Guru Singh Sabha president Tirlok Singh delivering his welcome address on June 24, 2018.
Sri Guru Singh Sabha president Tirlok Singh delivering his welcome address on June 24, 2018.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
President Halimah Yacob (centre left) unveiling the commemorative plaque at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha. She is flanked by (from left) Mr Makhan Singh, MP Melvin Yong, Mr Tirlok Singh and Mr Daljit Singh.
President Halimah Yacob (centre left) unveiling the commemorative plaque at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha. She is flanked by (from left) Mr Makhan Singh, MP Melvin Yong, Mr Tirlok Singh and Mr Daljit Singh.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore, one of the Republic's oldest Sikh temples, celebrated its 100th anniversary on Sunday (June 24) with a half-day party in Mount Emily Park.

The event, which featured traditional performances, was attended by President Halimah Yacob and about 500 people.

Madam Halimah toured the temple's prayer hall and viewed an exhibition on the temple's history.

To mark the occasion, the temple also put together a commemorative coffee table book which chronicles its origins and work in the community.

"This commemorative book... honours the pioneering spirit of the predecessors of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, who planted the seeds of honest hard work, community spirit and selfless service," said Mr Tirlok Singh, president of the temple's management committee.

The temple's roots date back to 1918, when it was officially registered with the Government as a society.

Four years later, the society converted its premises - the second floor of a rented shophouse along Queen Street - into a Sikh temple, or gurdwara. The temple moved into its current home along Wilkie Road in 1932.

Since then, it has played host to wedding receptions, Punjabi tuition classes, and even served as a base from which help was extended to Sikh widows during the Japanese occupation of Singapore.

For Ms Dupinderjeet Kaur, 22, who attended Sunday's celebrations, the temple is also a way of staying close to her own heritage.

Her great-grandfather, who was born in Punjab in 1908 and came to Singapore when he was 18 years old, was the secretary of the temple's management committee in the 1940s.

Her grandfather played a major role in helping to raise funds for the refurbishment of the old building, and her parents have followed in his footsteps and are now actively involved in temple activities.

"I think it's important to experience these values, and the best place to do that is at the gurdwara," said Ms Kaur, a marketing executive.

"I think that's one of the things that I learnt from my parents, and I hope to continue with that."