Singapore president at gurdwara centennial celebration

Singapore President Halimah Yacob responding to a greeting from the floor at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha (SGSS) Singapore centennial celebration – Photo Asia Samachar / Sukhmindar Singh

The efforts out in the early days put in by Sikhs to educate their children, including the girls, caught the attention of Singapore President Halimah Yacob.

While touring the exhibition for the centennial celebration of Sri Guru Singh Sabha (SGSS) Singapore today (24 June 2018), she stopped for quite a while at the spot depicting how SGSS played a role in education.

SGSS had played a major role in the advancement of Sikh religious education and Punjabi language classes for Sikh  children in collaboration with Khalsa Dharmak Sabha (KDS).

The Punjabi language school at SGSS was known as the Khalsa Punjabi School then, with classes for females being conducted in SGSS and classes for males in Khalsa Dharmak Sabha at Niven Road.

Before that, Halimah had spent some time in the darbar sahib or the prayer hall of the gurdwara which dates back to 1918.

Later, she joined the Sikhs gathered for the celebration at Mount Emily Park, the grounds opposite the gurdwara.

“Over the past century, SGSS has made huge strides in contributing to the overall efforts in building a more caring, cohesive and inclusive society,” she said in a note published in a coffee table book for the celebration called Dastaan: Sri Guru Singh Sabha’s Journey – Centennial Celebration.

Also present was MP Melvin Yong.

SGSS president Tirlok Singh and centennial organising team chairman Diljit Singh Athwal spoke at the event.

“I appeal to all Sikh youth to take this opportunity to learn and have sufficient of the Punjabi Language and offer it as their Mother Tongue since we have two centres for the teaching of the Punjabi Language run by the Singapore Sikh Education Fund,” said Tirlok. “The knowledge of the Punjabi language will also help youth to read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and have a good grasp of Sikh values, culture and religion.”

An early morning downpour did not dampen the turnout at the event. There were kirtan at gurdwara and a carnival-like event at the park across.

President Halimah flanked by SGSS president Tirlok Singh and MP Melvin Yong – Asia Samachar / Sukhmindar Singh
President Halimah gets a briefing at the SGSS centennial exhibition – Asia Samachar / Sukhmindar Singh
An institution lives on. SGSS Singapore celebrates 1918-2018 – Photo / Asia Samachar
President Halimah greeted by a group of Sikh ladies at the SGSS centennial – Photo Sri Guru Singh Sabha Centennial facebook


Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore – A Short History (Asia Samachar, 16 June 2018)


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    Sikh temple marks its 100th year

    By Linette Lai | Health Correspondent

    Sri Guru Singh Sabha Singapore, one of the Republic’s oldest Sikh temples, celebrated its 100th anniversary yesterday with a half-day party in Mount Emily Park.

    The event, which featured traditional performances, was attended by President Halimah Yacob and about 500 people.

    Madam Halimah toured the temple’s prayer hall and viewed an exhibition on the temple’s history.

    To mark the occasion, the temple also put together a commemorative coffee table book which chronicles its origins and work in the community. “This commemorative book… honours the pioneering spirit of the predecessors of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha, who planted the seeds of honest hard work, community spirit and selfless service,” said Mr Tirlok Singh, president of the temple’s management committee.

    The temple’s roots date back to 1918, when it was officially registered as a society. Four years later, the society converted its premises – the second floor of a rented shophouse in Queen Street – into a Sikh temple, or gurdwara. The temple moved into its current home in Wilkie Road in 1932.

    Since then, it has played host to wedding receptions, Punjabi tuition classes, and even served as a base from which help was extended to Sikh widows during the Japanese Occupation.

    For Ms Dupinderjeet Kaur, 22, who attended yesterday’s celebrations, the temple is also a way of staying close to her own heritage.

    Her great-grandfather, who was born in Punjab in 1908 and came to Singapore when he was 18, was the secretary of the temple’s management committee in the 1940s.

    Her grandfather played a major role in helping to raise funds for the refurbishment of the old building, and her parents have followed in his footsteps and are now actively involved in temple activities.

    “I think it’s important to experience these values, and the best place to do that is at the gurdwara,” said Ms Kaur, a marketing executive. “I think that’s one of the things that I learnt from my parents, and I hope to continue with that.”

    A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline ‘Sikh temple marks its 100th year’. Print Edition |