Silat Road Gurudwara Sahib Inaugurated In Singapore By The PM Lee Hsien Loong, Seen Wearing A Sikh Turban

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday praised the local Sikh community for providing support to people through various donation programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of race, religion or background.

Prime Minister Lee who attended the inauguration ceremony of Silat Road Sikh Temple was seen wearing a white Sikh turban. The Sikh temple was renovated during the pandemic. Moreover, the PM greeted the community members with a “Sat Sri Akal”.

Prime Minister Lee said that places of worship, including the Silat Road temple and other Gurdwaras, have had to handle disturbances brought about by the pandemic.

He further reported, “It has been a trying time for the worshippers.”

Gurdwaras, along with other places of worship, have adjusted to the various Covid-19 pandemic management measures such as by live-streaming services so that devotees can still be part of religious gatherings, he added.

Pm Lee said, “I have been even more encouraged to see the Gurdwaras rally the Sikh community to pitch in and help out during this difficult period,”  noticing that they organised charity campaigns, delivered rations, and organised various aid programmes.

Like other religious groups, Sikh leaders supported their worshippers to adjust to upheavals caused by the pandemic.

To talk about the stresses caused by the pandemic, the Coordinating Council of Sikh Institutions commissioned a task force called ‘Project Akaal’ to contribute support for mental health within the Sikh community of about 13,000 Sikhs.

Lee said in his Facebook post after the inauguration ceremony “Our Gurdwaras rallied the Sikh community to help those in need during this difficult period, regardless of race, religion or background.”

“These initiatives set a good example for the wider community, as we move towards a new normal of living with an endemic virus. Silat Road Sikh Temple is not just a sacred place of worship, but a shining icon in the multi-religious and multi-racial landscape of Singapore,” he added.

Earlier, volunteers at Silat Road Sikh Temple used to serve up to 1,500 vegetarian feeds daily as part of langar, a sacred religious practice of catering food for travellers and followers of Sikh temples.

Aso, On Saturday, the temple in Jalan Bukit Merah, just on the outskirts of the central business district, indicated the completion of the works with an inauguration ceremony where the Prime Minister was the guest of honour.

Meanwhile, the temple in Jalan Bukit Merah, which is also known as the Gurdwara Sahib Silat Road, was built by the Sikh Police Contingent in 1924.

It operated as a safe home for the families of Sikhs who were killed during the Japanese Occupation and assists the Sikh community as well as the needs of the wider community today.

The temple houses a memorial earmarked to Bhai Maharaj Singh, the Sikh rebel who fought for India’s independence and was switched to a Singapore prison in Outram Road by the British colonial government in 1850.

He was the first saint-soldier of Sikhs in recorded history to set foot in Singapore.

The shrine has occupied its current spot since 2010. It was moved from its original position in the Singapore General Hospital compound, near where Outram Prison once stood, to the entrance of the temple in 1966, before a dedicated memorial building was built.

The budget for the renovation works was SGD 2.5 million, with funds raised from donors. The temple now has a broadened kitchen and a bigger main prayer hall.

After renovation and refurbishment works that remained close to a year, finished off recently. The temple’s kitchen and its food preparation and dining areas have been enhanced in size by about 20 per cent, allowing volunteers to serve up to 2,000 meals a day in what is also a comfortable and more relaxed environment.

Baljit Singh, president of the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board which oversees the temple, said the development of the prayer hall will allow for weddings to be held at the temple. Previously, there was limited space to perform some wedding rituals.

Baljit Singh added, The works were due to start in March last year but were disrupted due to the COVID pandemic. But it gave the temple management time to squeeze renovation plans to better alter the coronavirus situation, such as assuring better ventilation and reorganising spaces to reduce crowding.

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