SINGAPORE — Ramadan bazaars are set to make a return next month in traditional home grounds Geylang Serai and Kampong Gelam after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with at least one more to be set up in Simei.
Geylang Serai and Kampong Gelam last held the otherwise annual affair back in 2019, with subsequent runs of the event cancelled due to social gathering restrictions.
Such bazaars were usually held at various places in Singapore during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan each year, selling food for breaking fast as well as traditional treats, clothes and decor for Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities.
Based on information from sources who spoke to TODAY, the bazaars this year will be relatively smaller in scale compared to pre-pandemic days. A cap on the number of visitors and operators at each stall will also be required as part of infection control measures.
BAZAAR BY WISMA GEYLANG SERAI
Government procurement website GeBiz listed an open tender by the People’s Association (PA) to organise a “Geylang Serai Hari Raya Shopping Experience 2022”.
PA staff members at Wisma Geylang Serai declined to comment when contacted for more information.
Based on parts of the tender document seen by TODAY, the bazaar will comprise two zones, each with a capacity of 20 stalls. The total number of food stalls will be capped to eight.
The document requires the appointed contractor to curate the food and beverages (F&B) stalls to have “at least 60 per cent selling Hari Raya/Ramadhan traditional food”, with the rest selling “contemporary” food.
At least 80 per cent of non-food stalls need to cater to items related to the traditional festivities.
According to the document, vaccination differentiated safe management measures will be implemented for entry into the bazaar, which will be held from April 2 to May 2.
Ms Haryani Othman, co-founder of events company MakBesar, said that the tender organisers gave the assurance during a briefing on March 7 that the appointed contractor will not be left in the lurch if the event were to be cancelled at the last minute, such as due to a rapid change in the Covid-19 situation.
Two companies, which declined to be named, said that there is a clause in the tender document stipulating that the contractor will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis for the tender value if the Government cancels the event at short notice.
Both companies, which will be bidding for the tender, also told TODAY that as part of the safety measures, only about 100 people will be allowed at any one time in each zone. This number is inclusive of stall holders, which will be capped at two persons for each booth at any point in time.
In contrast, the Geylang Serai Hari Raya Bazaar in 2019 — the last one before Covid-19 struck — had about 500 stalls across a wider area. About 2 million people reportedly visited the bazaar that year.
One company also placing a bid, En Niche Events, acknowledged that the crowd control measures will likely affect vendors’ earnings.
Its founder, Mr Mustaffa Shah, said that if appointed as the organiser, his company will “try our very best to make sure the rental is at its lowest price possible as compared to 2019”.
KAMPONG GELAM ‘OUTDOOR EVENT’
Laloolalang, an events company, posted on Facebook on March 1 inviting “F&B vendors to be part of our upcoming Ramadan event in April” at Kampong Gelam.
When contacted, the company clarified that it is “not really a bazaar, but more of a smaller scale outdoor event”, and referred TODAY to the One Kampong Gelam association for further queries.
The association, which was formed in 2014 to oversee the rejuvenation of the area, declined to comment.
Two vendors taking part in the event, who spoke to TODAY on condition of anonymity, said that there will be more than 20 booths set up this year, with crowd control measures in place.
One F&B vendor, T.Bob’s Corner, said that the organisers have also given the assurance that reimbursement will be made in case of a last-minute cancellation of the event.
WEEKEND-ONLY BAZAAR IN SIMEI
Besides Kampong Gelam and Geylang Serai, a weekends-only bazaar will be held in Simei.
Organised by Big Boy Events in partnership with plant nursery company Sing See Soon Floral & Landscape, the bazaar will be held on the last three weekends of Ramadan — namely the weekends of April 16, 23 and 30.
Mr Syaifullyzan Noor, business development representative for Big Boy Events, said that there will be about 20 booths set up at the Experiential Garden of Sing See Soon.
About 30 per cent of the vendors will be selling food items, with a portion of the vendor line-up refreshed every week.
Mr Syaifullyzan said that his company and Sing See Soon held an event of a similar format in January in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festivities.
“We invite the public to come shop, eat and enjoy the alternative bazaar experience amid the flora and fauna,” he added.