|First I must congratulate you on your great effort to bring the Armenian community together please keep up the good work.
Through my business I travel quite a bit to Asia, I have just come back from Singapore.
While I was there I visited the Armenian Church.
First I must tell you nothing feels as good as being an Armenian in a strange land and to walk in the best street in that country (Hill Street, Singapore) and see a large Armenian Flag flying. Unfortunately our church in Singapore has had troubled times, the previous caretakers have almost destroyed the church. Thanks to a Mr. Koko Soghomonian and his wife Anni who are from Sydney but reside in Singapore they have got rid of the previous caretakers and spent a great deal of time and money from their own pockets to help repair clean and bring the church back to its former glory.
The church is an icon in Singapore being the first church in Singapore built in 1835, back then the Singapore government gave the small Armenian community a block off land in the back of nowhere and as it turned out 150 years later it is the most prime land you can have, there is even a street behind the church called Armenian Street and a couple of restaurants.
The Armenian community in Singapore is small but full of history, the church founders were the Sarkis brothers who are the founders of the Raffles Hotel again another icon in Asia. Unfortunately like I said the Armenian community in Singapore is small hence the government has made moves to take the land back, but again thanks to Mr. Koko and Mrs. Anni Soghomonian and many Armenians in Asia including Mr. Bob Kevorkian from Thailand they have been able to block the government but on the condition that the Church must prove that it is being used.
I am not writing this email to request money for the church, but that would be great help also no matter how small the amount is, the Armenian community in Asia has spent over the past few months over $450,000 to rid the church of its previous caretakers, stop the government taking the church and off course reviving the church so if the community here can assist finaiancly even in small way it would be fantastic.
I am writing this email to request from every Armenian traveler to do their utmost to include Singapore on their travel itinerary, Singapore is a great city, full of life and is only 45 minutes from North Indonesia Batam and south of KL Malaysia. Any Armenian traveling to Asia for example to Malaysia to do their utmost to stop over in Singapore or drive from Malaysia to Singapore and spend one day there and off course VISIT THE ARMENIAN CHURCH and register their name in the guest book. Any Armenian going any country around the world to see if it is at all possible to stopover in Singapore even for 3-4 hours. The visitors are allowed to exist the Airport if they like and the church is only a 15 min drive from the Airport and would cost around $15.00 in a taxi so a return trip would be $30.00 Sing Dollar which is AUD $32.00 and off course they will visit an Armenian icon in Asia and this would help the church prove that the church is being used hence keep the governments hands off the church.
The church is a beautiful all painted white, during my last trip 48 sailors from the USS Constellations were doing voluntary work, they spent all day at the church cleaning it to perfection and even the Admiral visited the church to see the church and know more about its history. We as Armenians owe it to our selves to make sure this Church remains in the hands of Armenians.
Many things Armenian have been taken away from us over the past few hundred years and to our best ability we couldn't stop them. To save this church it is as easy visiting it, enjoy its history feel proud to be an Armenian and the church will hopefully be safe.
Please pass this message to all your members, we can't let this church go.
Thank you for your support in advance. NOTE for information on the church please contact: Celina Lin
Director of Administration
The Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator
60 Hill Street, Singapore 179366
Best Regards, Jack Salatian
National Sales Director
HOSPECO Australia Pty Ltd