A deeper look into our community
The inaugural My Community Festival celebrates Singapore’s hidden heritage stories.
Think you know all there is to know about the island we call home? Take a walk off the beaten path and discover Singapore’s hidden heritage stories with the inaugural My Community Festival (MCF). Happening from December 4 to 20, 2020, the festival offers an authentic exploration into our rich and multi-faceted heritage through islandwide programmes that explore local cultures and traditions, through the eyes of fellow Singaporeans.
Organised by non-profit organisation My Community, festival-goers can anticipate an eclectic line-up of tours and programmes that go beyond the tourist belt and into the often-overlooked gems in the neighbourhoods that we live, work and play in. With support from the Singapore Tourism Board, and as part of the ongoing SingapoRediscovers campaign, MCF offers a refreshing take on local tourism, allowing participants to gain an insider look into the everyday lives of different cultural communities.
MCF festival director Kwek Li Yong shared, “The My Community Festival is a unique celebration of our history and heritage. We have placed tremendous focus into ensuring the programme will not only spotlight the lesser-known cultures, traditions and crafts of our community, but also serve as a platform for everyday Singaporeans to share these personal heritage stories. As we turn toward local tourism during this time, we hope this festival will help the public experience Singapore like never before and fall in love with our everyday spaces all over again.”
Members of the public can look forward to 46 community-led tours and workshops that present a lesser-known side of the island we call home. These tours are led by local guides and members from various communities in Singapore.
They span the following six programmes:
- Makan My Curry: Step into the kitchens of 11 local families and discover how they prepare the traditional curries of their respective communities. From the popular Singapore Curry Fish Head and Peranakan Ayam Buah Keluak, to lesser-known recipes like Eurasian Kari Debal, Sri Lankan Jaffna Curry and North Indian Katha Kadhi, Makan My Curry offers the chance for participants to broaden their understanding of other cultures through food. Not forgetting that participants will also be able to make their own curry, and eat it too!
- After Hours @ My Community: See our heartland communities like never before with after-hours tours that spotlight the unsung heroes hard at work while the rest of the country sleeps. Head to Changi Point – where bumboats will bring us to the rustic kelongs – and experience the fisherman in action; pay a visit to the funeral parlours of Toa Payoh and discover how different communities manage their deceased; or join any of the other tours to the heartlands for a refreshed perspective of our neighbourhoods.
- Meet My Craftsman: Hear from traditional craftsmen as they share more about their crafts and how they continue to pursue their passions amid rising competition. Gain new insights into age-old crafts like traditional joss stick-making, lantern-making, pottery, rangoli design and more through these hands-on sessions, which include an interactive element where participants can try their hand at the craft and acquire a new skill in the process.
- Of Rites and Rituals: Singapore is widely known as a multicultural hub, but just how much do you know about our different subcultures, or even the less heralded communities? Embark on a cultural exploration with Of Rites and Rituals, and visit the places of worship of these unique communities, such as the Chesed-El Synagogue, Baha’i Faith Centre and Central Sikh Temple. Participants will also get to appreciate the different cultural practices and enjoy a home-cooked meal, for deepened cultural understanding.
- One Bean, Many Coffees: Coffee connoisseurs – and even everyday coffee drinkers – would enjoy One Bean, Many Coffees, a series of demonstrations that explore the different ways to brew a cup of joe. Uncover the differences between kopis brewed in traditional coffee shops like Nanyang Old Coffee and Ho Tit, and the more contemporary, modern options in cafés such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware or Foreword Coffee, and gain a renewed appreciation of these brews.
- Open My Factory: Travel to the far-flung corners of Singapore in a series of experiential guided tours to restricted-access locations and discover what goes behind-the-scenes of our local businesses. Highlights include tours to heritage businesses Cheng Yew Heng Candy Factory and Tai Hua Sauce Factory; Singpost Centre, where participants will discover the inner-workings of the mailroom; and the Heritage Conservation Centre, where artefacts in our National Collection are stored, conserved and prepared for exhibitions.
Members of the public can also anticipate a selection of programmes that will be made available online, offering the opportunity to continue the exploration of our heritage digitally. These include live-stream tours to the Pacific Light Power Station and after-hours tours of Toa Payoh, as well as a special series of flash virtual experiences, which will be announced on the days of the tours themselves.
Registration for MCF programmes open from November 20, 2020 at 8pm. Members of the public may visit mycommunityfestival.sg for more information on the line-up and programmes.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: My Community Festival)