So Gelam Market

So Gelam Market

Basking in the shadows of Masjid Sultan, So Gelam Market sat serenely at the end of Baghdad Street. Filled with a domestic charming vibe, the Kampung style street market stood bravely against the unpredictable weather. As rain droplets kissed the roof of my umbrella, I strolled through the cultural market and embraced the artistic sensations.

The street market featured various local entrepreneurs and artists, ranging from Jun’s Illustration and Design (Sketchy Supernova) to Estelle’s Pinky Senses Therapy. Some of the vendors such as MarshyMellows Handmade and Original Ordinary retailed products that they had constructed with love. While I spoke to the masterminds behind the individual brands, I noticed their eyes danced as they presented their crafts. To be able to feel the passion exploding from these creative minds was such a fortuitous experience. It was the dedication of these vendors that made the market felt warm and lively, despite the cold weather.

As night fell, the atmosphere of So Gelam Market shone through the darkness. Various live performances from home-grown artists further enhanced the ambience. Aside from the acoustic covers, other activities like KpopXFitness were carried out as well. Witnessing the bond between the locals and tourists over these activities was a marvellous sight.

Surrounded by such a rich culture and ambience, felt like a breath of fresh air. Various sensations filled my head but one thing was certain, I felt like I belonged. The night grew darker and the crowd dissipated. Eventually, I too left So Gelam Market with a set of irreplaceable memories.

Written by : Shi Hui 

So Gelam X Aliwal Art Night Crawl

The theme of this year’s Aliwal Arts Night Crawl is ‘Basket!’ and seeks to pay tribute to the basketry tradition and rattan shops of Arab Street. Basket weaving is the act of intertwining disparate sections of material into a meaningful and cohesive whole. Throughout the night on 28 September, I was struck by how the symbolic significance of basket weaving was incorporated into the many events, workshops and activities.

The Aliwal Car Park was transformed into a vibrant and inclusive space featuring traditional games and performances. Traditional gamelan music was infused with a contemporary twist. It was beautiful, standing there beneath the full moon listening to how disparate tones, rhythms from different instruments intermingle and interact with one another, to create lovely melodies that resounded throughout the open space. As a reflection of Singapore’s multi-culturalism, a traditional Chinese instrument was used alongside traditional Malay instruments to show how seeming opposites can unite to produce a meaningful whole.

This theme is echoed in another stage, titled ‘Indistinguishable Strokes’ where contemporary street dancers and tai-chi masters shared the stage. They showcase their skills with humour and confidence, drawing laughs and admiration from the audience. Here, age is only a number. Dance and martial arts, like music, is an art which transcends generations. Performers old and young alike are drawn together through their fiery passions for their art.

Aliwal Arts Night Crawl was a success in many ways, but for me at least, it was a touching event that embraced diversity with a fervent passion. The beauty and harmony of diversity is something that will linger in my mind for a long time to come.

Written by : Stephanie Heng