This year's Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar called off

An online version of the bazaar will be held on a new digital platform in 2021.
An online version of the bazaar will be held on a new digital platform in 2021.PHOTO: ST FILE

There will be no Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar this year, the second year in a row the annual event has been called off.

However, the area where the event is traditionally held will be lit with festive decorations from April 9 to May 23. An online bazaar will also take place from April 9 to May 13, which is Hari Raya Puasa.

Bazaar organiser Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS) announced yesterday that the physical bazaars and trade fairs which traditionally attract large crowds will not resume in view of the evolving Covid-19 situation "for the safety and well-being of our residents".

Instead, this year, an online version will be held on a new digital platform.

A launch show will be held to mark the start of the Hari Raya Light Up as well as the online fair.

The show will be streamed live on WGS' social media platforms.

The ongoing pandemic also saw the Chinatown bazaar - which would have been held this month in the lead-up to Chinese New Year - called off late last year.

The month-long Geylang bazaar is usually held during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and attracts large crowds to stalls, which offer a variety of food and beverages, clothing and household decorations, as well as live auctions.

Full-time national serviceman Muhammad Syafiq Mohamed Khairani, 20, said he was disappointed to hear there would be no physical bazaar.

"Other places like malls can be just as crowded as the bazaar would be," he said, suggesting that measures could be introduced to limit the number of visitors, as had been done previously at some wet markets.

But student Rania Nair, 20, a Geylang Serai resident, felt that an online bazaar was the safest option, given the Covid-19 situation.

She said: "We can always have a physical bazaar when things get better."

Last year's bazaar was cancelled in mid-March, amid a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections.

However, an e-commerce platform was launched to help traditional vendors sell and deliver food products and festive wares.

This year's online bazaar will be organised by WGS - which is part of the People's Association and brings together several social and community facilities - as well as the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Online programmes will also be curated for residents, including music, comedy, cooking and exercise videos streamed on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

There will also be special "live" features such as an e-buka puasa (breaking of fast) show and a Hari Raya Show.

Other activities include a Hari Raya song-writing competition.

There will also be a TikTok campaign and a Home Light-Up competition to get people in the festive mood for Hari Raya celebrations.

More details about the online bazaar and other activities will be announced in early April.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2021, with the headline 'This year's Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar called off'. Print Edition | Subscribe