Let’s face it. Land is a scarce commodity in Singapore. The space crunch has made the government think of creative ways to juggle residential, transportation, retail and even green spaces (i.e. parks) to suit the needs of its people. In the push to become a first world metropolis, even the dead were not spared as plots were exhumed to make way for roads and malls.
What more the places of worship?
The mosques. The churches. The Temples –Surely there must be more space for faith and GOD.
MND seems to have a unique solution to this problem.
Multi-user Places of Worship
The Ministry of National Development (MND) has said it will lease land for “multi-user places of worship” for the first time. This means that multiple groups of the same religion can be housed in the same multi-storey building. – they are planning on a HUB
Religious bodies such as the National Council of Churches of Singapore and the Taoist Federation have been meeting the authorities over the past three years to explore solutions to a space crunch brought about by soaring property prices and rentals.
An MND spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that the multi-storey developments will cater to the needs of smaller religious groups that “find the Government Land Sales sites too big for their needs”.
“Many churches have been moving from place to place in search of permanent homes. Such hubs provide a feasible solution for a long-running problem.”
The solution that MND proposes seems logical enough as it will make more effective use of the land.
However I would argue that it will may not serve the needs of the people entirely.
A church or a mosque is usually built to serve the needs of a particular community. It is meant to facilitate the residents to fulfill their religious obligations with ease and comfort.
If the church or the temple is relocated to a Hub and is located an hour away, it defeats the whole purpose of having a community temple in the first place.
Secondly, there is usually a steep heritage behind a community church/temple and relocating them to a hub would mean sacrificing our history for progress.
Take the Ba Alwie mosque for instance. It was built in the 1950’s by a well known cleric Habib Muhammad bin Salim Al-‘Attas who had strong ties with the first few Arab merchants who had came to Singapore in the past. The mosque has continued to attract visitors all over the world who was interested in Singapore’s Islamic culture.
Imagine if such a mosque is relocated to become a hub – our future generations would never know our history other than what was told in textbooks.
In conclusion, I would say that it would be cost effective to create a hub and house similar temples/mosques in one area and we should continue down this path only if we could preserve our unique heritage along the way.
Source: Google Image