Celebrating everyday places and everyday faces
This year’s My Community Festival invites you to explore everyday places, share stories and lived experiences, and discover the little things that make Singapore home.
Whether it be birdsinging clubs and qigong exercises at sunrise, tours of Geylang and Jalan Besar after dark, or learning about traditional arts and crafts in Singapore, My Community Festival 2021 will be running more than 60 events that aim to show you the extraordinary in the ordinary.
This is a ground-up initiative delving into local life through immersive tours, tastings, and a mix of cultural and heritage experiences derived from the streets rather than locked in a museum, as festival director Kwek Li Yong explains. “People are the true heart of our community and their lived experiences provide a treasure trove of stories that allow us to see Singapore in a new light. The festival is an opportunity for us to come together and connect over our shared love of our island home, while uncovering the rich layers that define our multicultural society.”
Events run from dawn until late, and there is truly something for everyone. Read on for a little taste of what to expect from the 10 programmes, although many are already sold out, so book your spot soon!
Meet My Craftsman
Enter the world of traditional arts and crafts in Singapore with lantern maker Jimm Wong, Songkok maker Abdul Wahab, dragon kiln potter Stella Tan, and garland maker R Jayaselvam. Joss stick maker Albert Tay, knife sharpener Madam Lee, and famed rangoli artist Vijaya Mohan will also be on hand to demonstrate their skills and explain the origins and future of their art.
Sunrise @ My Community
Balance your mind and body with a sunrise qigong session on the East Coast with certified instructor, Alice Ho. Deep in the heartlands, you can hear the stories of a band of birdsinging hobbyists as you enjoy the warbling of merboks and Chinese thrushes.
Welcome to My Island Home
Hop on a ferry to Kusu Island to meet friendly temple caretaker Mr Seet, who will personally show you around his peaceful home. You can also experience Pulau Ubin through the eyes of residents Ah Teck, Richard Kuah and Mr Choo, and discover the real St John’s Island with Adam, Rahim, Jasumi and Fawzi. Another guided tour takes you to the uninhabited intertidal zones of Pulau Hantu.
My Prayers and Practices
Multicultural Singapore is home to many religions. My Community Festival has an eclectic programme of guided tours to give you a sense of Theravada Buddhism, Sikhism, the Russian Orthodox Church, Jainism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Taoism and one of the world’s youngest independent religions, Bahá’í.
Cuba Gula-Gula Saya
If you have an appetite to find out how traditional snacks and desserts are made, you might find these guided tours very much to your taste. The recipes and techniques of Peranakan favourite rempah udang, melt-in-your-mouth Indian sweet gulab jamun, Russian blini, and aromatic gula melaka chiffon cake will all be revealed.
My Rhyme and Rhythm
Revel in the music, dance and street theatre of Singapore! Chinese getai, Eurasian folk dance, chamber opera (classical Chinese opera’s more relaxed, modern incarnation), Malay ensemble music, Indian dance, flamenco, and puppet plays from Indonesia are all on the My Community menu.
Sunset @ My Community
Take a twilight stroll along the Singapore River as you learn about Taoist ghost catchers and Singapore’s migrant past. Catch sunset panoramas of the Straits of Johor with Instagrammer and photographer Guosheng or join professional photographers Charmaine and Wee Han to capture the sunset in Queenstown.
A Day in the Life of My
Gain insights into the working lives of some of the people who keep Singapore ticking by meeting and chatting with a community nurse, a Member of Parliament, an estate cleaner and a hawker.
After Hours @ My Community
Explore the after-hours food scene in Balestier, community life in the Geylang red light district, the practices and rituals which keep the spiritual peace in Bukit Brown Cemetery, the rhythms of the funeral industry at Toa Payoh, and the buzz of Jalan Besar by night.
24 Hours @ My Community
Get to know the real Holland Village and Tiong Bahru in bi-hourly tour slots over 24 hours. Long-time residents and shopkeepers will give you the inside line on Holland Village as day turns to night. Alternatively, you can learn about the people and stories associated with Tiong Bahru, where hipsters co-exist with a core of Chinese Singaporean residents who seem to have been in place since this art deco gem was built in the 1920s.
Find out more information and book your tour slots for My Community Festival 2021 here.