Update on Sungei market due this week

Melody Zaccheus Straits Times 12 May 13;

The Association for the Recycling of Second Hand Goods said it is expecting an update from the Government about the fate of the Sungei Road flea market later this week.

The site of the market, which began as a small trading spot in the 1930s, will close when the new Jalan Besar MRT station is completed in 2017. The association's chairman Koh Eng Khoon, 68, wrote to various government bodies three weeks ago, proposing four alternative sites nearby for the flea market.

To sweeten the deal, the association proposed to the National Environment Agency that it would also help to oversee the cleanliness of the new space and help manage peddlers and allocate stalls.

The authorities said in a statement on Friday that development plans for Sungei Road are expected to be initiated after construction of the MRT station is completed. They added that notice will be given before the site is closed.

The market halved in size in July 2011 to make way for the construction of Jalan Besar MRT station. Today about 330 lots have been demarcated for up to 240 peddlers.

There are no charges to set up a stall at the site - which is open between 1pm and 7pm daily - for Singaporeans and permanent residents on a first-come-first-served basis.

In the light of its impending closure, three groups of students from Nanyang Technological University's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information have each produced videos detailing the stories of some of its long-time peddlers as part of a school module.

These were uploaded on the National Heritage Board's website yesterday. The board also launched a virtual tour of the market online.

Year 1 communications student Joyce Ong, 20, said the video-making experience helped her appreciate the peddlers' resilience and perseverance. They have kept the market going, even when the Government tried to shut it down in 1982 and 1994.

Mr Koh said the market place should not only be preserved for its heritage and nostalgic value but its functional purpose as well. Elderly residents on low incomes flock there to sell trinkets and electrical appliances to support themselves.

"Singapore shouldn't just be about malls and high-rise buildings," he said in Mandarin.

No comments:

Post a Comment