The Geylang Serai Bazaar may return during Ramadan this year after a two-year hiatus.
The annual event that hallmarks the Muslim fasting month might see a comeback next month following its cancellation for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tender for bazaar organisers
According to BERITAmediacorp (BM), an open tender by the People’s Association for a bazaar organiser has started last week on March 1, and will continue to accept applications till March 14.
The bazaar’s venue is slated to be within and around Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS).
Similar to past bazaars, the month-long event will kick off one day before the fasting month begins, which is April 2 this year. It will run till May 2, the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Smaller scale bazaar
The event, which typically draws food and retail vendors, will likely be a relatively smaller affair compared to the grand bazaars pre-pandemic.
The event may come with Covid-19 safety protocols, including designated eating areas and regular disinfection of event spaces.
However, there is also a possibility that the bazaar might not even happen if the current Covid-19 situation worsens.
Varying responses by event organisers
Responding to queries by BM, several spokespeople from companies that typically organise the bazaars shared their comments about potentially participating in this year’s event.
One such company is Enniche Global Trading, which has organised both online and physical bazaars for WGS previously.
Enniche’s founder Mustaffa Shah said that they have made a bid to organise a bazaar for less 40 stalls, a figure that is starkly different from the over 1,000 stalls he used to manage before the pandemic.
Another event organiser, Mak Besar SG, said that they had not yet reached a decision on whether to apply for the Geylang Serai bazaar tender.
“All we know is that maybe it’s not as big as we used to know when the Ramadan bazaar has hundreds of stalls. But this time, it is under control. Probably less than 100,” said Haryani Othman, founder of Mak Besar SG.
Ms Othman shared that another factor to consider is the feasibility of managing multiple events at one time, especially since they have been running “small bazaars” of sorts since September last year.
She added that she is planning a small-scale event this Ramadan called Mak Besar Arcade in Changi Airport Terminal 3.
The event will likely have 16 to 20 stalls at a time, but her team is looking at expanding the stall size.
Ms Othman also added that she was also concerned about the plight of small traders who were severely affected by the effects of the pandemic. This is also one of the reasons she is reluctant to join larger bazaars such as the one in Geylang Serai.
“The cost element or capital for rental payments for small traders is a big issue now. We are worried that if we do it on a large scale, there might be small or medium traders who cannot participate in the event,” she explained.
Top photo via Jnzl’s Photos Flickr