Sunday, February 20, 2011

#14 Masjid Hajjah Rahimabi Kebun Limau, 76 Kim Keat Road

After shopping at our first confectionary stop, we set out for the mosque. The distance between the mosque and our previous site was the longest, nonetheless, we had fun strolling through the Whampoa Market and Kim Keat estates. The boys were being all patriotic, singing national day songs as we moved along. Along this journey, a very funny occurence took place:
Boys: *Singing
Jia Hui: What song is that?
Boys: The 09' (oh-nine) theme song.
Jia Hui: Huh, the Brunei theme song? How come you know how to sing?
Everyone: *laughed really hard till we reach the mosque!

In the past, Kebun Limau was the name which the Malay community used to refer to large neighbouring area consisting of Balestier Road, Boon Teck Road, Jalan Ampas, Kim Keat Road/Avenue, St. Michael's Estate, Whampoa Road, Lorong Limau, Rayman Avenue, Towner Road, St. George's Road and Mcnair Road.

In 1959, Muslim residents living in Kebun Limau then came together to request for land on Kim Keat Road to build a Muslim Prayer Hall, which is also known as a surau. In 1961, the land was granted to them by the government. The surau was then built and Masjid Kebun Limau was the first name of this mosque. It was initially a 2-storey concrete and wood building, consisting of only the main prayer hall, a store and a office. Later on in the 1970s, the Malay Community began raising funds to expand the surau.

Mrs. Hajjah Rahimabi Ahmad Anguillia, a significant donor, belonged to the prominent Indian Muslim family who had made many contributions to the Muslim community especially in the construction of mosques. She donated $1.6 million towards the building of the surau in remembrance of her daughter who passed away in 1976.

As such, this mosque was redeveloped and renamed after her - Masjid Hajjah Rahimabi Ahmad Anguilla Kebun Limau as we know it today.

When I first read the name of the mosque on our assignment sheet, I wondered to myself why was the name so long and difficult to remember. Never would I expect that the mosque actually bore the name of its donor in honour of her generosity. Also, the fact that the donor is female and the mosque was actually named after her, did make it worth noticing since men were usually the ones honoured more than the women, especially in the Muslim context.

This exploration did further opened my eyes to the fact that there was a reason to everything that was done. From the very existence of certain sites to the name that it carried. Nonetheless, I was a little disappointed as I was unable to find out more about the reason behind its architecture. When we were there, the mosque was also under renovation. Hence, we were unable to ask anyone for more information.

NKF Centre, opposite the Mosque

This NKF centre is not part of our heritage trail. Nonetheless, the boys spotted the centre right after they saw the mosque and wanted a mention of it and its infamous golden tap on our blog. I guess, in some ways, the case of the embazzlement of funds in NKF and its golden tap did somehow make history!

- Carmen

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