Unraveling The Dynamics of A Historical Precinct - A Collaboration of Food, Music and Hospitality

One Kampong Gelam Association (OKG) is currently spearheading an initiative to attract and retain a constant rate of visitors within the historic district which is rich in culture and heritage.

Currently business owners along Arab Street, Haji Lane and Bali Lane are benefiting from high foot traffic numbers.
This could be due to local bohemian, new age, ethnic and spiritual musicians such as the bands The Lost Hat and Veda9 enhancing visitor experiences by entertaining the current demographic of younger and trendier visitors with busking gigs outside of food and beverage establishments.


Veda9 Busking along Haji Lane PHOTO: File Photograph

(From left: Musicians Idrus Rashid Khan Suratee and Addy Cradle Rasidi from Veda9 busking along Haji Lane. Photo: Author)

However, many existing and new stakeholders in the other areas of the Kampong Gelam District are noticing a lack of foot traffic from visitors in the areas their respective businesses are currently located in as those areas are not as lively.

Mr. Idrus Rashid Khan Suratee, from the spiritual and bohemian band Veda9 and whose brainchild is Sultangate saw the potential and opportunity to increase foot traffic and visitor rates to those areas of the Kampong Gelam district by the means of events. 

Hence, Sultangate initiated a project and KAVA Singapore, Lead vocalist Mohd Yazid Bin Abu Bakar from the rock band LoveHunters and XY Hotel has collaborated in the initiative by organizing two separate events in one venue on Friday, 22nd February 2019 named XY Invites.

Event 1 (By Invitation Only)
15:00 - 18:00
Unravel The Dynamics of a Historical Precinct. 

Poster Displayed Outside of XY Hotel Premises

(Poster Displayed Outside of XY Hotel Premises. Photo: Sultangate)

Unravel The Dynamics of a Historical Precinct is a private Executive Business Discussion cum Networking Session open only to potential and current stakeholders. The event is supported by notable organisations One Kampong Gelam AssociationPAKSi, Muslim Youth Forum, The Shepherds Group and Pinnacle Studios who had the privilege of staying a night at XY Hotel.

High Tea was provided for by Kava Singapore. 

Instagram: @kavacoffees


(High Tea Spread at Kava during the closed door networking session. Photo: Author)

The stimulus of Unravel The Dynamics of a Historical Precinct is for potential, new and existing stakeholders from various trades and industries within the Kampong Gelam district to network with one another and discuss their ideas and experiences. 

(A Selection of High Tea Pastries. Photo: Kava)

Iconic speakers such as Jamuri, Fatin Amira and Dave Tai were invited to share their journey to success and impart their business expertise to the other stakeholders present in the event.


(The Guest Speakers of Unravel The Dynamics of a Historical Precinct. Photo: Sultangate

One of the topics brought up during the Business Sharing Session is for events to occur around the Kampong Gelam District in an attempt to generate more foot traffic to benefit the stakeholders while reinvigorating and retaining the ethnic, cultural and historic charm of the precinct.

Guests Listening Intently to the Speakers During the Business Sharing Session

(Guests Listening Intently to the Speakers During the Business Sharing Session. Photo: Author)

Another noteworthy topic brought up during the closed door event is to make XY Invites an annual event for stakeholders to review if an increase of events translates to an increase in foot traffic and visitor numbers to the Kampong Gelam precinct.

Should XY Invites be held annually, it has the potential to be a platform for stakeholders to foster a sense of unity amongst themselves.
Moreover, the event could also be a platform for stakeholders to discuss about their challenges faced and to propose solutions which could assist them to leverage on various business opportunities in a Historical Precinct that may arise that year.

kava business

(During the Business Sharing Session. Photo: Author)

After the Business Sharing Session has concluded, attendees were then treated to a performance by local singer and musician Art Fazil who performed a rendition of his unreleased track titled Good Morning Jogja.

Good Morning Jogja will be the musician's theme song for his upcoming play on the 20th of April 2019 at The Arts House.

A vintage inspired setlist which consisted of renditions of the classic Malay genre Keroncong was then performed by Singaporean singer/songwriter Sharliza Jelita who recently returned from a long musical stint in the UK.
She was accompanied instrumentally by other Singaporean musicians Alto Saxophonist/Percussionist Bob, Guitarist Addy Cradle Rasidi and Double Bass Player Omar Ally from Veda9

Their setlist included a song titled Tunggu Sekejap by P Ramlee and a song titled Sayang di Sayang which was written by Zubir Said, which was popularized by the late Kartina Dahari which they said is their source of inspiration.

Leader of Veda9, Mr Idrus Rashid Khan Suratee also sang his original composition titled Sweet Melodies during the private event.

“It’s really important to keep our heritage alive and I’m grateful to have found like-minded musicians here in Kampong Glam like Addy, Abang Bob and Abang Omar to perform our own adaptation of Malay classics from our golden era,” says Sharliza. “We hope to continue this tradition for our pioneer generation to enjoy, as well as expose our younger audiences to some really amazing music!” She added. 

Veda9 Performing

(From left: Vocalist Sharliza Jelita accompanied by Alto Saxophonist/Percussionist Bob, Guitarist Addy Cradle Rasidi and Double Bass Player Omar Ally from Veda9. Photo: Author)

Event 2 (For the General Public)

19:00 - 21:00
Dinner at Kava

21:00 - Late
Performance and Meet and Greet with Yazid Lovehunters

XY Invites Presents - Up Close and Personal with Yazid Lovehunters

(Poster of XY Invites Presents - Up Close and Personal with Yazid Lovehunters.
Photo: Sultangate)

Attendees who have purchased the $65 ticket were treated to a meal at Kava which consisted of their choice of a main course, a drink and an ice cream for dessert.

A Guest Showing His Cheeseburger Patty Cooked to Perfect Medium Doneness at Kava

(A Guest Showing His Cheeseburger Patty Cooked to Perfect Medium Doneness at Kava. Photo: Muhammad Sufri).

After dinner, attendees were then invited to take their seats to enjoy a performance by the legendary rock star musician, Yazid Lovehunters in a cozy and private setting as the number of tickets available for sale was limited.


(Musician Mohd Yazid Bin Abu Bakar from the rock band LoveHunters Performing at the Event. Photo: Muhammad Sufri)

After indulging in Yazid's live repertoire which included fan favorites Sambutlah Kasih and Ku Ukir Namamu, the audience were then invited to a meet and greet session and interact with the musician himself.

Yazid Lovehunters Interacting with an Attendee during his Meet and Greet Session

(Musician Mohd Yazid Bin Abu Bakar from the rock band LoveHunters interacting with an attendee during his Meet and Greet Session. Photo: Author).

Although the event has run just about smoothly last Friday, XY Invites 2019 is still a pilot project. Therefore, the true success of the event can only be gauged if the intended objectives of benefiting the organisations involved, the stakeholders and the visitors to Kampong Gelam district can be met.












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