Mengukir Harapan

About the Edition

Between 2021 and 2022, Both Sides, Now focused on engaging with the Malay-Muslim community in exploring end-of-life conversations and planning.

Research was commissioned on end-of-life and the Malay-Muslim community, to identify and better understand the complexities that prevented the community from undertaking or embracing advance care planning and what would facilitate the process. This involved interviews with resource persons, as well as facilitating community engagement workshops cum focus group discussions with diverse demographics within the Malay-Muslim community.

A Creative Team with lead artists, as well as other team members and volunteers from this cultural community, was also assembled to generate culturally competent approaches and engagement strategies to engage the community in end-of-life conversations.

Held during the Covid-19 pandemic, the first year of the public outreach, Kata-Kata Kita (Our Words) took place in a hybrid manner with a limited in-person audience at Aliwal Arts Centre, and the remaining audience online. The second year of the public outreach was fully in-person, and a larger-scale arts festival, Lepaskan Sesalan (Release Your Regrets) over four days at Heartbeat@Bedok.

The lead-up to the public outreach in 2022 also involved artists facilitating arts workshops with seniors, and other community members over a few months for a deeper engagement and conversations on end-of-life. Their artworks and a dance performance were part of the public outreach festival.

Reach and Impact

Despite the experiences from previous editions, there was much learning and unlearning in Mengukir Harapan to be culturally competent with the Malay-Muslim community. The team had to acquire new vocabularies, develop greater awareness of cultural nuances and sensitivities, experiment with new arts approaches and learn to communicate and engage with the various groups within the same community.

Overall, more than 8100 members of the public were engaged through the two public outreach events. Of which, 95% expressed a better understanding of end-of-life issues and 81% indicated intent to follow up on the topics. A ground-breaking research report on end-of-life in the Malay-Muslim community was also produced, involving more than 60 community members as research participants. This report has been shared with various community organisations and groups. Read more about the report here.

The team is cognisant that the work with the Malay-Muslim community is still at its nascent stage. While the edition received positive feedback and gratitude from the community, especially in creating safe, non-judgemental spaces that were not overly religious to having conversations on end-of-life matters, it remains an ongoing journey in deepening these conversations and planning.

Some of the areas of focus for the latter include harnessing opportunities around having conversations on loss and grief, and providing psycho-emotional support in this area. There is also significant potential in having intergenerational conversations on end-of-life matters, with the different generations learning to listen to each other.

Community Voices

“The personal stories told by the art makers – they’re real, relatable; sharing and saying things we usually will keep hidden.”

Audience Member who was at Lepaskan Sesalan public engagement

Public Engagement Photos

Kata Kata Kita - Hatta Said and Gloria Tan on stage
Kata Kata Kita - Panel discussion with Ms Halijah Bte Jantan
Kata Kata Kita - Radio Dukacita DJ Big
Lepaskan Sesalan - Art Festival at Heartbeat@Bedok
Lepaskan Sesalan - Performance
Lepaskan Sesalan - Guide explaining at exhibition

Presented by

Drama Box Artswok logo

Supported by

Tote Board logo Agency for Integrated Care ECCA Family Foundation