I never knew Muscat Street was named after the Omani capital and the ties we had with Oman. Now I have so much to look forward to in 2012. Here’s an interesting article by Heather Marie Lee that appeared in the Sunday Times and it will reveal why I am so excited about this new development:
Muscat Street, home of the Masjid Sultan mosque, may not be as busy as some other byways in Kampong Glam, but the Singapore and Omani governments believe that it holds a lot of promise.
Hence, the Muscat Street Project.
It aims to upgrade and beautify the street so as to enhance its overall attractiveness, provide more community space and add to the area’s distinctive ethnic character.
Work on the $5.3 million project will start in November, after Hari Raya Haji.
The project was the brainchild of Mr Abdulla Abbas, former head of the Muscat Municipality, when he visited Singapore in April 2007. President S R Nathan signed its memorandum of intent during his state visit to Oman in March 2009.
Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, hailed it as an opportunity not only to ‘look at the past, but also to look at the future in terms of what it holds for Singapore-Oman relations’.
The street named after the Omani capital, normally a service lane for neighbouring roads, will have 8m-high granite arches displaying Omani-style ornate carvings at its entrance and exit.
The highlight of the project will be granite murals with mosaic artwork that will line the street.
A pavement will add to its pedestrian-friendliness. New mall lighting and seating areas will also be installed, along with new paving and patterned tiling for the road.
Singapore will provide the main funding. Apart from its major role in the design process, Oman will also be donating the granite arches and mosaic artwork.
The project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of next year.
To minimise disruption, businesses and residents in the area have been consulted, and work will take place in two phases.
This bilateral cooperation builds upon that involving the Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth-century Arab dhow (sailing vessel). It arrived in Singapore last July as a gift from the Sultan of Oman.
Ms Denise Phua, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, was full of excitement about the Muscat Street Project.
She said: ‘This project is not just important at a national level to improve bilateral relations between Oman and Singapore, but I also think that, locally, it creates a lot of vibrancy and adds to the cultural richness of our Malay heritage area.’
The heritage area refers to Kampong Glam which traces its roots back to the Jackson Plan of 1822, in which it was the designated residential area for the Malay and Arab communities.