Sikh temple marks its 100th year

President Halimah Yacob being greeted by members of the Sikh community yesterday during Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore's 100th anniversary celebrations.
President Halimah Yacob being greeted by members of the Sikh community yesterday during Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore's 100th anniversary celebrations.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore, one of the Republic's oldest Sikh temples, celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday 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 as a society. Four years later, the society converted its premises - the second floor of a rented shophouse in Queen Street - into a Sikh temple, or gurdwara. The temple moved into its current home in 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.

For Ms Dupinderjeet Kaur, 22, who attended yesterday'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, 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."

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'Sikh temple marks its 100th year'. Print Edition | Subscribe