Singapore Really Really Free Market (Image by Post-Museum)

The Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) is a market organised by Post-Museum, a cultural and social enterprise. Based on a movement that started in America by anarchist groups in response to the ill effects of capitalism who wanted to promote a more environmentally and socially responsible lifestyle, a ‘really, really free market’ doesn’t involve money or trade at all.

In fact, there are three guidelines to these types of market:

  1. No monetary exchange in the market.
  2. Participants are encouraged to have a loving and giving heart.
  3. The market is based on self-organisation.

Its concept is based on giving and building a community that is founded upon sharing of resources, caring for each other, and improving the collective lives of every person.

With that in mind, Post-Museum launched the Singapore Really, Really Free Market in 2009. Jennifer Teo, who works with Post-Museum, told us that they wanted a market of sorts to be part of their regular programme as a way to connect people. At the time, flea markets were popular across the island but Post-Museum wanted something a little different.

After stumbling across the movement in the US, they decided to bring that idea over to this little island in South East Asia.

Over the past 10 years, Jennifer tells us that not much has changed for the market ‘because society basically has not changed much’.

She adds, “In terms of the format of SRRFM, we have moved out of our space in Rowell Road from Oct 2011 and have been intentionally moving around Singapore to reach out to residents of different areas. We have a group of regular contributors and volunteers who come by to participate every time and some of them have been around since the very beginning.”

Each year, the market sees hundreds of participants from across the island. People bring all sorts of things that they do not want or need any more with the hopes that those items will find a loving home somewhere else. Some popular items include fiction books, new clothes, home-baked cookies, and even worms for composting.

Beyond that, the people also offer their services at the SRRFM. Anything from a massage to haircuts, yoga and even tarot card readings. It’s a place where generosity and kindness thrives.

One thing Post-Museum has noticed though is that more and more people are giving away used clothes. Jennifer notes, “This is indicative of how fast fashion is promoting excessive
and unnecessary consumption”. The clothes that aren’t picked up often end up in the bin a there’s no real way of recycling fabric just yet.

Still, the whole concept of a free market is a bold one, especially in this capitalist society that we all find ourselves in.

Post-Museum is organising their 10th annual SRRFM this year on 20th January at Marina Barage from 11am to 4.30pm. Everyone is invited.

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