Sunday, June 24, 2012

Really Really Free Market


Today me and the kids went to this event called Singapore Really Really Free Market. It was held at the open space next to the Central Library. According to the National Library, Singapore Really Really Free Market is a community art project by Post-Museum that explores and puts to test an alternative notion of free commerce."

How it works is anyone who wants to give away free stuff  signs up as a vendor to display their free stuff at the event. No money is exchanged and anyone is free to take anything.

According to wiki,

"It holds as a major goal to build a community based on sharing resources, caring for one another and improving the collective lives of all. Markets often vary in character, but they generally offer both goods and services. Participants bring unneeded items and food, as well as skills and talents such as entertainment or haircuts."


I was immediately drawn to the books. You never know. You might just chance on a children's book or a craftbook. (fat hope) This vendor says only one book per person and I can't keep the book after I'm done. I have to pass it on. I looked and I looked and I finally picked one book. It's a book I've already read!

 Yes, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I picked this book because it has John Tenniel's illustrations.

Good god. Did I come late?

No one was manning this space and I sort of wanted the basket. You understand I couldn't just take it and go. The concept of free shopping is quite hard to accept. I felt like I wanted to throw a few coins down.

Later as we were leaving, my son gallantly went and took the basket for me. And of course I immediately regretted it because I realised I had to carry it on the train all the way home. I thought of returning it but by then the vendor had closed shop. Too late!

These were the other stalls I simply couldn't find anything to take.


We stood here for a while trying to figure out what the items were.

I was only eyeing the mat.

There was a guy giving massages. I think there was a queue. Of sorts. I think if he weren't wearing furry wings, I might consider. 

This lady was giving away free poems.

This is my choice.

Alright. I was really after the interesting print on the other side. I think I owe the poet an apology:

Lady, lady on the mat
Sorry I'm such a shat

* * *

I do like the idea of recycling stuff I don't need anymore. Maybe I'll think about ways to give away my scraps at my VivoCity craft market? Will the shoppers react in horror?


Sarah Pings said...


"lady, lady on the mat
sorry I'm such a shat"!!

hello tea thru nose ...

Dee said...

What views do Singaporeans have to free stuff?
Here in Australia there are various attitudes to free items and charity. Most people are keen to donate to charity; cash, clothing, furniture etc. Aussies are very giving in general.
Receiving is mixed. When in crisis it is welcomed by some and feels shameful to a few.
Aussies are big on recycling and keeping items out of landfill, hence there are many ways of ding this. There are places where items can be taken to be bought by others like the local tip shop, located at the rubbish tip. there is Free-cycle and multiple similar organisations. all run by volunteers. There is quite an etiquette around organisations like freecycle and most people work with it.
When I started participating in freecycle I only donated items. It was quite a while before I felt comfortable receiving items that I needed. Now I am fine with it and love it. I still don't ask for many items. I know there are some greedy folks who grab as much as they can, some of which they then sell etc, which is not in the spirit of it. but hey. what can you do? I try to screen the folks to whom I offer items and have met some really lovely people as well as a few who I have decided to add to my 'naughty' list.
I like the idea of a free market, although I think i am too lazy to do it that way. I like posting an item on a web site and having the recipient come to me to collect.
enjoy what is left of the school holdays. my kids are just starting this week.

punkychewster said...

Wow, what was the turnout like? Im always curious because we Singaporeans are such suckers for free things. I know what you mean by struggling with the concept of bartering. Now is this open to the public or do you have to be a vendor to be able to pick other vendors' stuff? That's so cool that they tried this out.

Linda said...

This is such a wonderful idea!

tamdoll said...

Love the free concept - but it is odd I think at a market, you never know what will come up! Here, if I had a lot of fabric scraps I'd try firs to package it up & sell it in my etsy shop. Actually, I probably have done that in the past & don't even remember. Or, I'd offer it online to crafters with - this way someone who really wants it will get it. At your market, people come to get finished bags! Maybe one of the other vendors who sew would want it.

Chris H said...

What an interesting concept.

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