The fourth edition of My Community Festival 2023 is now taking place from 4 to 20 August 2023, promising an exciting array of living heritage events and tours that aim to engage both residents and tourists. Organised by the non-profit organisation My Community and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, this year’s festival carries the theme ‘Love My Neighbour,‘ highlighting the importance of community connections and unseen heritage in our daily lives.
Following the theme, this will also be the first time My Community Festival is extending into our neighbouring country, Malaysia, with visits to farms in Johor.
My Community Festival 2023 will be showcasing Singapore’s living community heritage through a series of immersive and interactive tours. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to delve into the stories and traditions behind various everyday activities, such as old-school market vendors, hawker stalls, and more.
With over 100 events spread across eight program series, this year’s festival is set to be the biggest and most diverse yet, with activities ranging from 1.5 to 11.5 hours in duration.
One of the most exciting additions to this year’s festival is the MY-SG programme, which includes a day tour to Malaysia. Participants will have the unique opportunity to explore the farms that supply 42% of Singapore’s imported vegetables, further enhancing the understanding of the country’s close ties with its neighboring nation.
Last weekend, Asher and I were invited to go on a day trip to Ngee Teck Huat (NTH) Vegetable Farm at Senai, Johor last for the experience. NTH is one of the largest producers and supplies of vegetables to Singapore, with other 80% of their output going to Singapore. If you go grocery shopping at NTUF FairPrice, Sheng Siong or HAO Mart regularly, it is very likely the vegetable that you purchased would have came from NTH or packed at their facilities.
The trip started off with a bus ride to the NTH farm from Singapore to Senai, Johor, to understand how the vegetables are being grown. We then proceed to the NTH Logistics Facilities to witness how the vegetables are stored, processed and packed for export into Singapore.
The tour ended with a trip to the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre in Singapore to give us a holistic understanding of how the vegetables go from the farms in Senai to be distributed to the wet markets or supermarkets in our neighbourhood.
This was our first experience participating in the My Community Festival and we love it so much that we will be participating in more of the activities this year as well as for future editions. Asher gets to learn about this vegetable food source and how it travels from the farm to his dining table, picking up other educational information along the way to better understand the communities around us.
“We might be neighbours by chance, but we should also be friends by choice. That is what makes a community come alive, and part of a living heritage. At My Community, we believe that all heritage is intangible, and any tangible asset – such as buildings and places – are only meaningful if we attach our interactions, stories, and memories to them,” shared Kwek Li Yong, Festival Director of My Community Festival.
“We are excited for locals and visitors to rediscover familiar places and uncover hidden gems, and hope that the opportunity to participate and immerse in the festival activities will foster a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of living heritage by communities who call Singapore home,” added Lim Shoo Ling, Director, Arts & Cultural Precincts, Singapore Tourism Board.
Among the festival’s highlights are the following programs:
My Lepak Corner: Explores unique niches around Singapore, including the Changi Boatel, which continues to be a haven for the small community of fishermen along the eastern coast of Singapore.
Decorate My Hood: Allows festival-goers to join residents in decorating common shared spaces around their homes, creating a sense of belonging in their neighborhoods.
What’s For My Dinner: Offers an exciting culinary exchange between neighbors with diverse dishes originating from Esarn Thai to Bengaluru, Italian to Hakka, and more.
Hello! My Chinatown: A series of interactive events where festival-goers can acquaint themselves with some of the interesting vendors in Chinatown Complex, such as pyjamas sellers, jade dealers, and effigy collectors.
My Prayers and Practices: Explores the lesser-known religions in Singapore, including the Jain and Baha’i faiths, shedding light on their beliefs and practices.
After Hours @ My Community: A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the bustling activities of vegetable wholesale markets, fishery ports, and other heritage sites, including the iconic Bukit Brown Cemetery and the soon-to-be-closed Senoko Fishery Port.
A major highlight of the festival this year is the spotlight on Chinatown Complex, a heritage stronghold with a rich history and stories to tell. Festival-goers can participate in various activities, including guided tours led by stallholders and shopkeepers, engaging conversations with domain experts, and a plethora of artistic performances ranging from Chinese Opera to calligraphy and seal-carving.
Tickets for My Community Festival 2023 are now available for purchase. For more information on the full programme line-up, dates, and timings for the different activities, please visit the official website.