Lifestyle

Why Throw When You Can Fix It! A Singaporean Community Making It A Reality

Some us are pack rats. Some of us aren’t.

Those who belong in the latter group have a habit of doing a spontaneous spring cleaning session, which involves dumping items that are no longer in use. More often than not, we leave these unwanted objects in boxes outside elevators in HDB blocks, creating a filthy and messy space.

This proves two things: we have immerse ourselves in the unhealthy throwaway culture and it has become problematic. It’s not a question of whether we can afford it — it’s a matter of environmental and ethical concerns.

Image Credit: Repair Kopitiam Facebook
Image Credit: Repair Kopitiam Facebook

Meet Repair Kopitiam

Fronted by Yusri Sapari, Repair Kopitiam aims to put an end to the throwaway culture, and build a more sustainable future in Singapore.

The local initiative follows in the footsteps of Repair Cafés of Europe; it organises free community events, where people repair broken items together.

sustainable living
Image credit: Repair Kopitiam

Powered by Sustainable Living Lab with the support of South-West Community Development Council, and the National Environment Agency, these meet-ups typically take place at void decks and community centres.

From household objects to electrical appliances, participants are guided by the repair coaches to assess the item, fix it, and acquire new skills.

The Repair Coaches

At the end of the day, the initiative hopes that participants will find the merit in these items and learn the importance of discipline and patience.

Having gone through training before each session, the repair coaches have ample experience to fix these broken items. Take 27-year-old Yusri, for instance. The community manager of Repair Kopitiam learned to repair his things when he was only a kid.

Fabric repair coach, Agatha Lee, is an eco-designer and previously worked as a policy maker at the National Environmental Agency for over 10 years.

sustainable living
Image credit: Repair Kopitiam

Not As Simple As It Looks

However, the initiative stresses that it’s possible that the repair sessions may not work out in the end; the lack of certain tools or spare parts could potentially hinder the process.

Repair Kopitiam is divided into four departments: electrical appliances, fabric repair, home improvement, and responsible dismantling. For items that are beyond repair, the initiative still strongly encourages participants to bring it down to the event, as some of the parts could be useful and given a second life.

Image credit: Repair Kopitiam

Move Over, Marie Kondo

In this day and age where the majority are lax about adopting a sustainable lifestyle, it is heartening to see an initiative like Repair Kopitiam still exists. A community that has the passion and shrewdness to stand up and say, “We’re not going to take it anymore. It’s on us to do our part for the environment.”

Marie Kondo, who? I’ll take Repair Kopitiam over her any day.

Feature Image Credit: Repair Kopitiam Facebook