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OPEN BORDERS: Stories Have No Boundaries

4 February, 2024

Organised by Migrant Writers of Singapore, supported by Sing Lit Station and Tekka Place.

The sun was gleaming so bright on me on 4 February, 2024. I woke up early and prepared myself. It’s a big day and I was excited. It was our pilot session for Open Borders this year with the theme “Connection”. I grabbed a cup of coffee along the way and met Ate Nelie at Tekka Place and we went down to B1 to begin the preparation. We tried to imagine what could be the set up. When Miranda arrived, she settled the projector and we arranged the chairs and table accordingly. MWS volunteers and guests started to arrive. We were a little anxious whether the venue will be filled by audience but at 1:30 PM they started to emerge. We gave a short briefing to the storytellers and welcomed the guests.

Eventhough it was not my first time to host, nervousness attacked seeing the the overwhelming crowd. We started the session at exactly 2 PM with Cristina Belingon as my first time co-host.

The event went smoothly from heart touching stories , cheers from the crowd, overflowing tears of gratitude and sharing tru to life experiences. I learned so much from all the stories and I really paid attention to be able to respond and give feedback accordingly. Most of the stories I’ve heard can relate to my life on a day to day basis. After the storytelling session, we came to the most exciting part which is the panel discussion that aims to get to know more about our storytellers. We’ve prepared few questions for them to answer and we also accepted impromptu questions from the audience. The response from our guests was overwhelming because they didn’t hesitate to share. We wrapped up the session by thanking all those who came and support us and we also awarded certificates to the storytellers as a token of appreciation.

Our gratitude to Mr. Dennis Lim of Tekka Place for accomodating and assisting us on our venue request, to Miranda Cardenas of Sing Lit Station for all the support, my co-host Cristina Belingon, to Janelyn Dupingay who’s working behind the curtain and always guiding us on everything, to the Open Borders organising committee and all the volunteers. Thank you so much to all our storytellers for showing vulnerability and for sharing us your real life stories. Our sincerest thanks to the audience who cheered on us nonstop. This session wouldn’t be possible without you all. Thank you Migrant Writers of Singapore for the trust you put on me to lead this year’s Open Borders organising team. Overall, it was succesful and full house! I believe that with teamwork and helping hands, we can achieve great things together.

We do not live only for ourselves. The important thing in life is the connections we make with others.

Written by: Jenelyn Leyble

Edited by: Jane

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