Heritage not only plays an important role in understanding the Singapore story, but also in guiding the way forward. It is present in both physical and intangible forms, from buildings to the stories that we share and pass on. Besides retaining monuments for their architectural quality, how are they an inspiration to our current and future generations?
By Gaby Jeyaseelan
Built by a prominent Arab family in Singapore more than 80 years ago, the mosque’s site on Pheng Geck Avenue in Serangoon has an eclectic design that combines various architectural styles. Unlike the minarets of many other mosques in Singapore, towers of which are topped by ogee-shaped domes, Alkaff Upper Serangoon Mosque’s minaret is pencil-like, a feature popular in Ottoman Islamic architecture. It was gazetted as the 68th national monument and serves around 2,500 worshipers.
“Previously, there we many shophouses in the area. We would cook here in the mosque and share the meals with our neighbours. The kampong spirit is very much present and it is something that we hope will continue,” said Haji Jaffa Patni, 71, the imam and administrative assistant of the mosque who has served devotees for over 30 years.
Mr Salehan Ahmad, 53, chairman of the mosque, sees the role of the mosque as a focal point for inclusion: “Brotherhood is a value that we look to maintain. We are open, wholeheartedly, to others and want to invite Singaporeans of all faiths and races into our space.”