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    May 26, 2016

    Hari Raya light-up salutes kampung spirit

    THIS year's Hari Raya light-up promises to be bigger and more spectacular - and carry a deeper meaning.

    For a month from June 4, a 2.8km stretch of Geylang Serai from Still Road to Lorong 101 Changi Road will be filled with lights and festivities that will appeal to Muslims and non-Muslim ahead of Hari Raya Puasa on July 6.

    This year's light-up will be 500m longer than last year's. Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, a member of this year's Hari Raya light-up committee, said it will be themed "Deepening our kampung spirit" and will aim to "reinforce, strengthen and resurrect that feeling".

    A common motif present throughout the light-up will be that of the weave, a pattern with strong significance to the Malay community and which also symbolises the concept of unity and close-knit ties.

    Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, another member of the light-up committee and MP for Marine Parade GRC, said: "It's not just about shopping and eating (but) how you bring people together."

    A new addition to the festivities this year will be a series of interactive exhibits, including a giant set of drums and a huge gong. There will also be a pavilion which takes inspiration from traditional long kampung houses which served as meeting points for families and friends.

    Organisers hope the pavilion, which will be decorated with lampu colok or celebratory lights, will serve as a place where visitors can sit and interact with each other.

    The occasion is also an opportunity for visitors to understand the "true meaning of Islam".

    Dr Fatimah said: "Recently, there's been a lot of talk about Islam, misperceptions... During some of the (breaking of fast) sessions, we will have a religious leader come down to explain the real meaning of Islam."

    Dr Fatimah, a Marine Parade GRC MP, said this includes elements such as friendship, honesty, open relationships and a close-knit family.

    Visitors will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of activities, including a performance by popular singer Sufie Rashid, silat (Malay martial arts) and kompang (drums) performances, sarong tying, calligraphy and a ride on a Hippo Bus.

    Rahman Shah Ismail, a 23-year-old student who visits the light-up every year with his family, is pleased with this year's plans. "It's good to let others know what Islam really is about, given the situation around the world."