Behind the Scenes with Burmah108: Bridging communities through art and food

If there was a language that’s as universal as it is diverse – it would be food. Food never fails to be a convenient excuse to meet amongst old friends, and works as an adhesive gel between strangers across different communities, cultures, time, and place!

Burmah 108, a boutique food events organiser, is a living testament to the social draw of food. Consisting of a trio of foodie musketeers from Penang who met in primary school and bonded through conversations of food over food, they now bring people together through their passion for food! All you need is a big appetite and an open mind to join this community of foodies – who’s in?

Burmah 108 Founders

Burmah108’s Founders: Chui Lim, Hooi Chin, Sharon

We got behind the scenes with the trio, Chui Lim, Hooi Chin, and Sharon, about why they started Burmah 108, how they’re involved in the cultural and heritage bonanza that is George Town Festival in Penang, and what their wishes for Malaysia are as we approach Merdeka!

What’s the one thing that excites you most when you get up each day?

It’s a brand new day! Life is good!

Tell us more about your events at George Town Festival.

For 2015’s George Town Festival, our events involve 2 themes with a total of 7 events:

1) Culinary Roots & Communities – basically to share our heritage food

2) The Secret Food Diaries of Penang Artist – to feature Penang artists who will share about their art-making and their favourite food

We hope that these art + food events will stimulate a greater appreciation for Penang’s rich food heritage, which is an art form in itself as we’ll see in the community events. We also hope the Secret Food Diaries of Penang artists will draw in foodies to artists’ talks.

What inspired you to kickstart your events and what do you hope to achieve from organising them?

What is George Town without its food? We want to increase appreciation of our local heritage food, and also our own artists and their work.

Share with us three challenges you’ve faced in organising your events. How have you overcome each of them?

a. Funding required – we do not expect to make a profit from these events, thus we need some kind of funding to materialise them. Eventually we managed to get some assistance, so working with a tight budget.

b. Support – local support of our ideas, our events

We have been fortunate that the working partners we have approached, are mostly  very supportive to the concept of our events and work closely with us. Having said that, the public doesn’t seem to share our vision – at least not reflected in our ticket sales for some events. So, we are trying hard to market our events until the event day.

c. Lack of interest in arts, food & culture in local community – this does not refer to their like of food, but the appreciation of good food, arts & culture. We are constantly “educating” the people around, and hoping our supporters will “educate” their friends too.

What keeps you going in running your events?

The people who believe in our concept whom are also our working partners.

Last but not least, as we reach 58 years of independence, what are your wishes for Malaysia?

That Malaysians are united! And for good governance.


Giveaway to a Burmah108 event at George Town Festival!

We’re giving a pair of tickets to one lucky winner to a Burmah108 event worth RM70 held in conjunction with George Town Festival in Penang – find out about the event and how you can win!

Community, Malaysia. permalink.
Claire Ding

Claire Ding is the Community Manager at ticketing platform Peatix in Singapore. She runs a community event for organisers, Backstage Pass , where organisers connect with others and learn tips on event management. Quite the thrill-seeker, Claire’s gone skydiving, bungee jumping, and enjoys anything that puts her on edge (quite literally), it’s no wonder she’s in the business of events with never a dull moment!