Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) today announced the launch of inaugural Singapore’s Friendly Neighbourhood Award 2022, where residents can nominate their friendly block(s), estates, and streets. The award celebrates initiatives aimed at fostering neighbourliness and a close community spirit that results in a more cohesive, united Singapore.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented Singaporeans with the unique opportunity to interact more closely and lean on their neighbours for support. With the gradual resumption of most social activities, there are even greater opportunities to foster close ties with neighbours. The launch of Singapore’s Friendly Neighbourhood Award 2022 will showcase shared stories of resilience, camaraderie, and ‘kampung spirit’. These are the fundamentals of Singapore’s social compact and are key to building a kinder society.
Jalan Bintang Tiga is one outstanding example of a neighbourhood that has been heralding this friendly spirit for over 20 years. Crowned by SKM as the first friendly street in 2019, the street’s annual ‘Big Makan’ potluck celebration made a comeback after a 2-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Guest-of-Honour Mr Edwin Tong, MP for Joo Chiat, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law joined the residents to celebrate the comeback of the ‘Big Makan’ street party.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Mr Edwin Tong shared: “I am very happy that Jalan Bintang Tiga has been used as the exemplar for paving the way to kindliness and promoting good neighbourliness amongst the residents of Jalan Bintang Tiga. The annual street party here is the highlight of the year. Over time, our residents at Jalan Bintang Tiga here have grown to become tight-knit, and cohesive and look out for one another with a smile. That is how Singapore’s first “Friendly Street” came about in 2019.”
“It is my hope that Singapore’s Friendly Neighbourhood Award will continue to inspire a strong sense of neighbourliness, and camaraderie and instil that special ‘kampung spirit’ across more neighbourhoods,” Minister Tong added.
Held annually since 1999, the street party is a highlight for the residents of Jalan Bintang Tiga. The three-hour-long event sees the community come together for an evening of fellowship, food, and games, and also serves as an opportunity to connect with new residents to the neighbourhood. This year, the event saw eateries within the estate including Baker n Cook, Black & Ink, and Saffrons contribute to the spread.
Initiated and self-organised by the neighbours, an entirely new team of young residents have taken charge of the planning committee this year. James Suresh, the former Village Head, passed the baton to the new blood of Jalan Bintang Tiga, Melissa Quek.
“A strong social fabric in Singapore must start with building a good relationship with our neighbours – the people we see and interact with daily. I have the utmost confidence in Melissa’s ability to lead the residents of Jalan Bintang Tiga; she took the initiative to set up a Facebook page for the street years ago and has been speaking with eateries in the vicinity to secure sponsorships for tonight’s event,” James said.
The close relationship between the neighbours of Jalan Bintang Tiga is a key reason why both current and former residents make an effort to keep the street party tradition alive.
General Secretary of SKM Dr William Wan said, “I’m thrilled that we’re able to resume large gatherings like this. I’ve always believed that good neighbourly relationships promote gracious living and pride towards one’s community. With this space to connect with our neighbours from different backgrounds, we are able to eradicate prejudices and become more compassionate towards each other. Jalan Bintang Tiga is a great example – the residents here have paved the way and given Singaporeans hope that the ‘kampung spirit’ is still achievable, even in today’s fast-paced, busy world. I hope to see more neighbourhoods in Singapore foster stronger communities by aiming to become Singapore’s next ‘Friendly Neighbourhood’.”
Interested neighbourhood communities can look out for more details about the Singapore Friendly Neighbourhood Awards on SKM’s Facebook page and webpage (www.hoodchampions.sg) in October. Nominations will open from October 2022 to January 2023, and are open to public and private housing entries.