Updated: Feb 27
3 March 2019, 12 pm - 2 pm
On-site at Tampines Round Market and Food Center (TRMFC)
There were no dancers present for this and it was conducted by both Haizad and Hasyimah. There were also 2 observers, Anirban Sen, the organiser of Arts In Your Neighbourhood and Ryan. In addition, there were 6 youths from Layar Andayu ITE College East.
It started off with Haizad’s last breath in the alley between stalls 138 and 26 Soya Bean, for them to get a sense of the space. Everyone then proceed to walk 1 round through TRMFC for the Sight Sound Smell exercise, again, without talking to each other. Similar to some of the rehearsals that were held at this time, the hawker center was very crowded and everyone had to weave among the residents.
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Sight Sound Smell with a different crowd.
As with the previous Sight Sound Smell exercises, everyone then had to jot down their observations on pieces of paper. There was a group of elder Chinese men curiously looking over at the group writing on pieces of colourful paper. It could be perhaps that this was an unusual sight with outsiders coming in to do projects at TRMFC.
Perhaps it is not every day you see a group of youths doing a project in a hawker center, let alone TRMFC.
After writing, everyone shared what they have written down on their pieces of paper. They were more reserved in sharing their thoughts and speaking out, possibly due to it being their first time in a new situation/environment. As they were sharing, Haizad and Hasyimah also shared some the stories they have learnt after the 11 rehearsals they have had in TRMFC, as well as the values and lessons they have learnt from the hawkers and stall owners. They also mentioned about the status of TRMFC and its upcoming renovations.
An exchange of observations, stories, values and lessons.
Everyone then proceeded to visit some of the stalls in TRMFC, led by Hasyimah. They would also interact with some of the stall operators and the youths had to take down notes on their pieces of paper.
The first stall that they went to was Ah Kiat Fresh Fish Stall, #01-106. The stall operators greeted the group and were welcoming their arrival, saying, “Lai liao lai liao!” They asked if the group were the dancers and Hasyimah shared about what they were doing that day as well as invited them to chat for a while. There were hardly any customers so the operators were happy to do so.
First stop: Ah Kiat Fresh Fish Stall, #01-106.
The stall operators shared that the stall has been around since 1983 and is a family business. They also shared some of their stories and history in and about TRMFC. Finally, Hasyimah asked her what makes TRMFC special to her, to which she responded that it is round, has good food and her favourite being the prawn noodle at one of the stalls. Finally, Hasyimah requested to take a photo with them, and they happily obliged.
One of the youths asked about the types of fish and she was excited to share.
After bidding farewell, everyone then headed to Hin Hin Egg Stall, #01-92. There were some customers purchasing from the stall such as a pair of Indian children who were buying eggs on behalf of their mother. The stall owner, who later shared that her name is Auntie Yap, shared that they have been long time patrons of her stall, and she usually sees their mother.
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Next stop: Hin Hin Egg Stall, #01-92, along with two of its regular customers.
She went on to share that she first went to a wet market at 8 years old, leading to the Social Mixing Group to reflect what they were doing at that age. She is now aged 71 and is able to operate the stall almost every day from 6:30 am till 2 pm. She added that her stall has been in TRMFC for 32 years and that she used to sell lanterns, stating that she was one of the first few in Singapore to start making and selling them.
She was happy to share more about the different eggs and explained why they were priced differently; some were the first eggs that the hens ever laid, some were fed more hence the larger egg size, some were eggs that have been laid after a few egg-laying cycles and the different health benefits of each type of egg.
She even shared and reminisced some of the photo memories that she have put up in her stall as well as sharing a photo of her grandson which she keeps in her stall. Some of the youths were interested to purchase some of the eggs at her stall, along with Hasyimah and Ryan. Before the group moved off, she offered to make and give the youths fish lanterns, and she got to work.
She was happy to make fish lanterns for the group.
The group then took a break at one of the tables in the hawker center as well as to share their thoughts and what they learned from the interactions:
1 youth shared that it reminded her of her grandparents, and find it hard to believe that those at the same age still have to work to support themselves when they should be retired or resting.
Another shared about how she felt about Auntie Yap sharing her stories and photos, and about how proud she was of those moments.
One of the youth’s parents shared that her parents own a Malay food stall and understands the difficulties in being a hawker or stall owner such as paying rent.
1 more shared about how she felt when she watched Auntie Yap enthusiastically sharing her stories and how proud she was to share them.
A discussion about millennials not liking dirty places and things and manufacturing, where there should be a consumer responsibility to find out where the goods in the supermarket come from.
Haizad shared about the renovation
How will it be afterwards?
He could imagine the stall operators preparing for the temporary closure, such as Auntie Yap slowly taking down her photos, one-by-one.
The hawkers are uncertain of the change and displacement that the renovation will bring.
He finally shared about trying to tell these stories and issues/concerns during the performance
Sharing of reflections.
The final activity was to meet and patronise our “favourite” stall, Kayat Nasi Padang, #01-37, since some of the youths expressed that they were starting to feel hungry. Hasyimah brought the group to have a chat with the hawkers there. Since the stall was in the middle of serving customers, everyone conversed with one of the operators sitting outside, who introduced herself as Cik Sarimah.
Last stop: Kayat Nasi Padang, #01-37.
She shared that her husband has passed on, and that she has 10 grandchildren. She looked at the youths, commenting that they reminded her of her children and grandchildren. Hasyimah then asked about the meaning of “Kayat”, to which her sister and owner of the stall, Cik Misa, shared that its the name of her son and that the stall is a family business.
Cik Sarimah happily sharing about the stall and her family.
Everyone then took a group photo in front of the stall, with Cik Sarimah requesting us to help her take a photo using her phone for her to keep a memory of that day. Finally, the day ended with everyone patronising the stall.
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A complimentary meal from Kayat Nasi Padang to end off the activities for the day.