Singapore Khalsa Association re-opens after $12m upgrade

The facade (top) and rear view of the renovated Singapore Khalsa Association building after its $12 million makeover.
The facade (above) and rear view of the renovated Singapore Khalsa Association building after its $12 million makeover.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
The facade (top) and rear view of the renovated Singapore Khalsa Association building after its $12 million makeover.
The facade and rear view (above) of the renovated Singapore Khalsa Association building after its $12 million makeover.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM

New building to 'meet current, future needs' of Sikh community and larger S'pore community

The Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) officially re-opened its doors yesterday after a two-year renovation.

The $12 million makeover adds upgrades and new facilities to the new SKA building located in Tessensohn Road, where the SKA had been for more than 40 years.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was guest of honour at the building's grand opening.

SKA president Mohinder Singh said a new building was needed to "meet current and future needs".

In his welcome address, Mr Mohinder Singh said: "We hope the enhanced building provides the ambience to attract both the young and old, families and friends from not only the Sikh community but the Singapore community which use the SKA for their events."

The six-storey building has key features such as two ballrooms, one with an enlarged floor space for larger banquets; three new lifts; new offices; a dance studio; new function rooms; and a gymnasium with glass walls. Toilets for the disabled and ramps have been added.

More reception spaces can now be found outside the ballrooms, thanks to semi-circular extensions. A roof-top activity area overlooks the Balestier Plain fields.

The SKA, often regarded as the centre for cultural, social, educational and sporting needs of the Sikh community, is also seeing more "non-traditional" use of its facilities, said Mr Albel Singh, general manager of the association. Prior to the renovation that began in November 2014, the SKA site was primarily used for Sikh weddings and receptions.

Mr Albel Singh told The Sunday Times: "While weddings continue to be popular for 2018, there are also bookings and enquiries for annual general meetings, bazaars, group programmes, meditation classes and fashion shows at the association."

DPM Tharman told guests at the event that the Sikh community has gone beyond serving its own.

He said: "In fact, the association's premises itself has evolved into a meeting place for Singapore Sikhs to network among themselves, as well as with friends from the larger Singaporean community. Almost 70 per cent of bookings for the usage of SKA's facilities are by non-Sikh individuals or organisations."

The association's yearly Vesakhi Mela, which celebrates the rich Sikh heritage and tradition, continues to attract more Singaporeans of other races to the SKA.

Each April, multicultural teams compete in games and sports such as soccer, netball and hockey during the Mela.

From its humble beginnings in 1931, when pioneer members had registered the association as a sports club, to the new building in Tessensohn Road, the SKA has come a long way, said Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, 94.

The pioneer said he was proud of what the SKA has achieved.

The first clubhouse in 1931 was a two-room wooden shack in Target Road close to Sungei Bendemeer.

Mr Singh Gill, who was from Raffles Institution, said: "My wish is for the younger generation to take up the patronage and see the association into the future. "They have all the opportunities while we started with very little in 1931."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore Khalsa Association re-opens after $12m upgrade'. Print Edition | Subscribe