Block 660A Choa Chu Kang Crescent.
Block 660A Choa Chu Kang Crescent.
Volunteers from resident organisation Permai Permaisuri. Block 660A Choa Chu Kang Crescent.
Asmadi Kamsuri (pictured), 77, was once an islander from Pulau Brani. Like many others from the south islands of Singapore, they moved to Telok Blangah in 1976. With Cikgu Jalil, they started the initiative to organise terawih prayers at the void deck of 62 Telok Blangah Heights. However, as they age and have families, people began to move away slowly from Telok Blangah leaving Asmadi, Cikgu Jalil and other volunteers to fend for this space themselves.
Block 508 West Coast Drive.
Block 706 Clementi West Street 2. Gabungan Masyarakat Islam started in 1983 before Masjid Darussalam was built in Clementi. It started because residents wanted a place to conduct terawih prayers as a congregation. After moving their musollah over several blocks over the years due to eldercare centre and residential upgrading, they now call Block 706 home.
Haron Bin Hashim at Block 706 Clementi West Street 2.
Jurong West residents once only had a small mosque – Masjid Mahapahit which was demolished in 2000 – for their night prayers during Ramadan. The musollah at 724 Jurong West Street 72 started 20 years ago so that working adults and the elderly have a convenient option instead of the mosque.
Yusoff Subri Bin Abdul Ghafoor (right) runs the musollah at 724 Jurong West Street 72 with his neighbours. With the encouragement of his son, undergraduate Muhammad Ashraf (left), they started inviting young Singaporean imams – who might be overlooked elsewhere – to lead the congregation in prayers. The space is nostalgic for the 58-year-old who saw the space evolve from using plastic rugs to carpets, as well as seeing the community grow up with him. The Nestle storekeeper lives two blocks away.
When Masjid Majapahit – once a five minute walk away – was demolished in 2000, Boon Lay muslim residents were without a mosque. Hence the creation of the terawih musollah space at Block 978/979 Jurong West St 93. The next nearest mosque was 30 minutes away by public transport. Pioneers of this musollah and the older volunteers have quietly and tirelessly volunteered at this space since its inception. They silently wish that young blood would step up and hopefully take over running this space.
As former students from Boon Lay's Masjid Majapahit – demolished in 2000 – these girls regularly perform their tarawih prayers at Block 978/979 Jurong West St 93. They have attended this musollah for over 10 years.
“I have been here since I was 12. Now I’m 28, so it’s been at least 16 years,” one said. Then, they would attend with their parents – now they would attend these prayers with their friends. Though they never knew each other well enough when they were students, they now have a Whatsapp chat group – giving updates on days they would turn up for prayers. And this would be their last year praying together here. They are delighted regardless in getting a new mosque because they have been without one for over 16 years. (Last Row (L-R): Suhada, Nasuha, Middle Row (L-R): Suziane, Nur Zaida, Nurhidaya, Front Row (L-R): Faezah, Nurul, Cik Kalsom)
Block 286 Tampines St 22.
Block 113 Bedok North Street 2.
It was a community – people and volunteers who lived near Block 647B Jurong West St 61 – that used to be tight-knit, lamented civil servant Haji Rashid (left). They used to have regular religious gatherings together. But as families shifted homes, they only have sufficient manpower to organise tarawih prayers during Ramadan and the morning Eid-ul Fitr prayers.
As the newly-built Masjid Maarof – two bus stops away – opens its doors at the end of the year, the 63-year-old feels that it is time for his committee to step down and close the space. Maybe the mosque would be the best option, as they do not have younger volunteers who are willing to take over, Haji Rashid said. It will be sad giving up the space he said, reflecting on their old age. But if there is a chance to continue, they will hold on to it.
Meanwhile retiree Encik Abdullah (right), 73, is more hopeful in continuing the space at 647B Jurong West St 61. He gets satisfaction when people come to the musollah and do their tarawih in congregation as a community, especially the youth. He would also encourage the young to lead the prayers.
536A Woodlands Drive 14.
Both Haji Mohd Basar (left) and Haji Khamin (right) are 78-years-old. They have been friends since the mid-1970s when they moved to Ghim Moh. Together with their neighbours, they created a surau at Block 2 Ghim Moh Road in 1978. Haji Khamin moved to Ghim Moh from Kampong Tempeh along Jalan Haji Alias nearby Al-Huda Mosque. Meanwhile Haji Mohd Basar was from Mount Emily. They lamented that the neighbourhood used to have about 500 Muslim families and about 3000 residents. Outside of the Muslim community, they said that their neighbours are understanding of their needs and often mindful of each other.
Block 2 Ghim Moh Road.
Kassim Mohamed Kadis, 62, leads an active lifestyle. Besides running the tarawih space at 775A Bedok Reservoir View, he also volunteers his time with the Tampines Malay Activity Executive Committee, Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles and at Masjid Mohd Salleh.
775A Bedok Reservoir View Multi Purpose Hall.
A lack of manpower is the biggest obstacle every year for Mohd Shaini Bin Sudin and his team at 775A Bedok Reservoir View. There are also no clear successors to take over running such a space from his aging team of volunteers. For Mohd Shaini, he feels the young have not experienced kampong spirit like in the past. Hence there is great difficulty in stepping up to take up Islamic leadership roles in this space.
The 55-year-old believes that the young needs to be more responsible towards the community they belong in. A space such as the void deck tarawih space will not sideline the young unlike in a larger organization. They could come up with ideas to support the space and the community – the committee will support them. To mitigate the problem of overcrowding at the mosques on Friday, Mohd Shaini suggests organising Friday prayers at the void deck, especially during public holidays.
450 Tampines Street 42. Clockwise from top left: Azhrul, 16 (Loyang Secondary School); Faris, 16 (Siglap Secondary School); Khidir, 17 (ITE College East), Hyder, 16 (Loyang Secondary School), Syazwan, 10 (Gongshang Primary School).
732A Woodlands Circle
732A Woodlands Circle