Singaporeans in Germany’s Oktoberfest gathering
(Images courtesy of SGinDE)
Singaporeans in Germany (SGinDE) had an early start to the Oktoberfest festival with their annual gathering on 24 September. The 25 attendees – which included a visiting Singaporean couple – came together at the Schützen-Festzelt beer tent located at the Theresienwiese event grounds in Munich at 9am.
“All Oktoberfest tents open at 9am, so we usually go there early to ‘chope’ our tables and seats before the rest of the crowd comes in,” Amy Kiesgen, SGinDE’s founder and administrator, explained about the early meeting time. “So far, this arrangement has worked for us!”
The gathering, which has been organised since SGinDE’s inauguration in 2006, serves for Singaporeans in Bavaria to foster ties and network with each other. “Since Oktoberfest orginated in Bavaria, we only organise it annually in Munich. However, we intend to get more Singaporeans from other German states to attend,” said Amy.
In true Bavarian spirit, the ladies in attendance came dressed in its national dress, the dirndl, while other male guests wore lederhosen (leather breeches), complete with Bavarian shirts, socks and shoes. As the Niederalmer (music group) on stage performed live traditional Bavarian music, everyone enjoyed catching up with each other over Bavarian food like wies'n hendl (grilled chicken), schweinshaxe (pork knuckle), ente (grilled duck) served with blue cabbage & potato dumplings, and apfelstrudel (apple in filo pastry) served with vanilla sauce. Adding a refreshing touch to everyone’s meal were mugs of beer (both alcoholic & non-alcoholic), and other beverages.
After the morning meal, everyone took the opportunity to explore the other tents at the event grounds, browse and shop at the various souvenir stalls, and visit the fairground to enjoy the rides and attractions.
“The atmosphere was warm and full of laughter,” Amy said of the gathering. “Everyone enjoyed themselves and are already looking forward to next year’s!”
SGinDE Community Leaders in various states like Frankfurt and Munich recently organised gatherings to celebrate Deepavali. They will be organising get-togethers again in December to celebrate Christmas.
UC Berkeley SSA’s Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations
(Images courtesy of UC Berkeley SSA)
In celebration of the Mid-Autumn festival, the University of California (Berkeley) Singapore Student Association (UC Berkeley SSA) co-organised a community get-together at UC Berkeley’s Memorial Glade lawn on 6 October.
The turnout for the evening took the organisers by surprise. “It was extremely packed – the turnout was much better than we had expected,” said Wei Xuan Poh, secretary of UC Berkeley SSA, of the 60 attendees that came for the gathering, which was co-organised with the UC Berkeley Malaysian Student Association (MASA) for the first time. “Everyone was mingling and reconnecting, and we’d even met a few other Singaporeans who were new to the Singaporean community at Berkeley!”
Adding on to the festive mood were the delicacies that attendees got to enjoy: hot tea and mooncakes of various flavours, like the traditional lotus seed paste, and green tea, which were purchased from a bakery in Oakland’s Chinatown. Wei Xuan pointed out that one particular flavour was enjoyed the most significantly among all. “The durian-flavoured mooncake – durian is such a rare commodity in this part of the world, and to pair it with a traditionally eastern pastry enhanced its nostalgic appeal.”
Overall, the attendees greatly enjoyed the evening, and the organisers too were pleased with how it turned out. “This was an opportunity to commemorate an important cultural event often celebrated back home, to bring the Singaporean community much closer,” said Wei Xuan about the gathering. “We look forward to organising similar events in future!”
UC Berkeley SSA will next be holding a Thanksgiving potluck in November, for members and friends to bond over shared homemade Singaporean and Western dishes.
UC Berkeley SSA’s website: https://ssa.berkeley.edu/
UC Berkeley SSA’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ssaberkeley/
Edinburgh University Singapore Society’s Diwali Celebration
(Images courtesy of EUSS)
Following their successful Diwali celebration last year, the Edinburgh University Singapore Society (EUSS) once again commemorated the Hindu festival of lights with a lively gathering on 14 October. Around 100 students of all races gathered at Salvation Army Edinburgh for an evening of culture, dance and good food.
The event saw the return of the Edinburgh Bhangra Crew, who was also invited to last year’s celebrations. “Following the great reception from last year’s event, we were really glad to have the Bhangra crew back with us to conduct a Bhangra dance session,” said Agnes Ng, president of EUSS, referring to the lively traditional Punjabi dance. “They taught us the choreography to an entire song over 1.5 hours, and it was great seeing everyone on their feet and actively participating!”
For those who were too shy to show off their dance moves, they could choose to try out other Indian cultural activities, like henna art and decorating with rangoli (designs created from coloured rice, powder or flowers to bring good luck). Attendees also enjoyed a buffet style dinner of chicken and vegetable curry with biryani rice and vegetable samosas, which was specially catered for the event.
“It’s nice for us to be able to share our culture with others wherever we are, while catching up with Singaporean friends,” Agnes said of the celebrations. “Everyone’s been so busy with school work, and this was an occasion to bring everyone together again. It was a chill and enjoyable evening, and overall, everyone had a great time.”
EUSS will next be organising a weekend brunch catch-up for members, along with a Chinese New Year gathering and sports event planned for next year.
EUSS’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/edinsingsoc/
EUSS’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EUSingsoc
From hosting regular makan sessions to organising fun-filled family days, Singaporean clubs and student associations have been the pillars of support to fellow Singaporeans. No matter how far from home we might be, these clubs and associations are always flying our flag high and celebrating the Singapore spirit.
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If you’re keen to reach out to a Singaporean club or student association near you, check out our list of overseas Singaporean clubs!