For the 5.6 million people who live in Singapore, home reflects a connection to a community and the continuation of time-honoured practices and memories. Exploring these unique and intimate connections is at the heart of My Community Festival (MCF), a ground-up community event from 5 to 21 August 2022.
Organised by the non-profit organisation, My Community, with support from the Singapore Tourism Board, the third edition of the festival centres on the theme of ‘My Home Sweet Home’ and will give festival-goers exclusive access to the private spaces of the many communities in Singapore, including their homes, workplaces, places of worship, and communal spaces. This year’s programme will also spotlight three neighbourhoods which will become “festival villages”, and feature workshops and thought-provoking tours that allow visitors to discover more about the area’s history and uncover hidden gems.
This year’s line-up is the biggest, with 64 unique and riveting tours and experiences split across eight programme series. Each programme will be led by a member of the community who can bring different perspectives and understanding of home and community as they share intimate memories and knowledge about their personal spaces.
This year’s anchor programme series is “My Home, Truly”, which pays tribute to the different types of homes in Singapore. Tour participants will get to meet various groups of people ranging from foreign workers, animal shelter workers and students who will take them to the places where they lay their heads in. Participants can look forward to visiting spaces including a foreign worker dormitory, Singapore’s last kampung, and rental flats in Jalan Besar to hear heartwarming stories about creating homes out of these diverse housing types.
This year’s festival also includes several new programmes that provide perspectives on how people keep memories of home alive. For people who hold on to broken items for sentimental value, “Find My Fixer” offers participants an opportunity to restore them to their original state or find a new lease of life while doing their part to live sustainably and reduce waste in Singapore. This includes workshops with a soft toy “doctor”, kintsugi artist or teaware design for ceramics, and even a stained glass rescuer. The programme also offers an opportunity to meet Singapore’s own version of Marie Kondo, Amanda Ling, who can help revive spaces with the art of decluttering.
Festival goers can discover how expatriate communities recreate pockets of their home to form unofficial enclaves like Little Belgium, Little Philippines and Little Taiwan under “My Little Singapore”. Besides learning about their culture and their recommendations on where to find the most authentic taste of their hometown cuisine, participants can take the chance to reflect and appreciate how these communities contribute to Singapore’s identity as a melting pot.
Another programme, “What’s for My Dinner?” takes it a step further by having members of 20 Singaporean, ASEAN and international families, welcome visitors into their homes to serve up cultural dishes ranging from local fare, regional cuisine from Thai and Vietnamese food, to international flavours like African, Maharashtrian and Northern Chinese food.
Another new aspect of the festival is the introduction of three festival villages as part of the “My Lovely Neighbourhood” series of programmes. For each of the three weekends during the festival duration, the festival will spotlight a locale in Singapore to learn about its thriving community through a series of immersive tours, workshops, experiences and performances that are a result of My Community’s extensive community mapping exercise within these neighbourhoods.
For the first week, festival-goers can head to the quaint seaside town of Changi Village to get acquainted with its wartime history and the variety of shops and eateries. This is followed by a focus on Singapore’s largest motor repair village, Alexandra Village, which is also home to well-known hawkers and unique craftsmen like rattan weavers to glass installers; and lastly, the iconic Chinatown, where visitors can immerse themselves in the unique shophouses, discover the various clans’ associations and the mouthwatering food available.
Each festival village will feature three unique self-guided tours that can be accessed through My Community’s community map, comprising a main storyboard and wayfinding signages, allowing visitors to explore curated trails that capture different facets of these neighbourhoods. On the days when the festival village is running, visitors are encouraged to speak to the community stakeholders with stickers on their storefronts and get to know them better and attend co-curated workshops to get up close and personal with their trade.
Returning favourites such as Welcome to My Island Home, My Prayers and Practices, and After Hours @ My Community, have also been refreshed to align with this year’s theme, offering new and returning festival-goers an opportunity to discover the best that the festival has to offer from previous editions.
● Welcome to My Island Home: Discover the gems out of the city in a morning walk along six offshore islands led by ex-islanders and hear the stories of their beloved island communities. On top of visiting known islands like Pulau Ubin and Kusu Island, look out for special tours to visit transient islands like Pulau Hantu, and an exclusive tour into the Pacific Light Power Station on Jurong Island.
● My Prayers and Practices: Singapore is home to individuals of different races, languages, and religions. From the Jains and Zoroastrians to the Jews and Theravada Buddhists, join us on a journey to the places of worship of all 10 major religions in Singapore and learn about their cultures and practices. Additionally, there are private tours showcasing home-based rituals such as Seventh Month rituals at a shophouse, Eng Tiang Huat, and Baháʼí devotees introducing how prayers and practices are conducted differently in their homes!
● After Hours @ My Community: The city never sleeps with our unsung heroes keeping Singapore going at night while the rest of us sleep! Join in on a night walk around the spaces including Bukit Brown Cemetery that comes alive at night, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of some bustling hotspots, including Mandai Wildlife Reserve and Jurong Fishery Port.
For more information, visit https://mycommunityfestival.sg