Overseas Singaporeans were in for a treat this past month as our President Tony Tan and Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong met Singaporeans in Norway and Japan. Along with these two visits, here are other featured events that took place in October:
National Day Reception in Tokyo
(Images courtesy of Gary Tan, Jack Sng and PM Lee’s Facebook Page)
On his recent state visit to Japan, PM Lee Hsien Loong attended a National Day Reception on 27 September, at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo.He met around 400 Singaporeans from all walks of life, some of whom got to take highly coveted ‘selfies’ with him. The guests also enjoyed a sumptuous Singaporean dinner, with local delicacies like laksa, satay and chicken rice on the menu.
For management trainee Gary Tan, the reception was a good opportunity for to meet and interact with other Singaporeans living and working in Japan. While he did not have a chance to speak with PM personally, he and a friend were able to snap a quick picture with him.
“The atmosphere that night was really lively and filled with excitement,” Gary said, “I think it was combination of having the chance to see PM Lee in person, and… getting to meet and speak with Singaporeans in an accent that we are so familiar with – I felt right at home!”
“It was fantastic to be able to speak Singlish without anyone asking me what language I was speaking, because some of my Japanese friends are convinced that Singlish is a completely different language from English!” quipped aircraft leasing analyst Jack Sng, who had previously attended two other National Day Receptions in Tokyo. “We also sang the National Anthem and recited the pledge at the start of the evening, which everyone in attendance did enthusiastically.”
Gary echoed Jack’s sentiments, saying that he felt ‘proud and emotional’ when the National Anthem was played at the reception. “It reinforced my identity and pride of being a Singaporean,” he shared.
If you’re based in Japan, stay in touch with fellow Singaporeans through the following:
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Tokyo: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/tokyo.html
The Singapore Association in Japan Facebook group: https://web.facebook.com/groups/296975250331084/
RedDotters@Qatar’s Hari Raya & Lantern Festival Joint Celebration
(Images courtesy of RDQ)
As part of RedDotters@Qatar (RDQ)’s initiative to ‘create a community by celebrating Singapore’s major holidays in Qatar’, the organisation held a joint celebration on 7 October to commemorate Hari Raya Haji and the Mooncake Festival.
“We started organising these [cultural] events to bring Singapore’s culture to Doha and for Singaporeans to feel closer to home,” said Sharyfie Hamdan, President of RDQ, “It also gives children who have otherwise spent most of their lives overseas, an opportunity to experience these celebrations.”
The joint celebration, held at the Shangri-la Hotel in Doha, saw a turnout of 110 Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans. Attendees, some dressed in traditional outfits, enjoyed a spread of local delicacies like laksa, mee goreng, goreng pisang, and mooncakes that were specially flown in from Singapore. They also took part in games like a Singapore-themed Treasure Hunt, chapteh and ‘Guess The Flavour’ (where blindfolded contestants had to taste food items and figure out what they are). Lucky winners brought home delicious prizes like salted egg crackers!
“Through this joint celebration, participants got to meet old friends and make new ones. They appreciated RDQ’s initiative to hold events for Singaporeans and look forward to attending our future events,” said Sharyfie.
RDQ’s next event is a joint Singapore Day and Deepavali celebration on 3 November, organised in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Qatar.
RDQ’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reddottersqatar/
Reception with President Tony Tan in Norway
(Image courtesy of Ashwanee A Kjelsnes and Teng Jin Chen)
While President Tony Tan went on his first state visit to Norway in October, he took the time to meet around 140 Singaporeans based in Oslo at a reception on 9 October, at the Grand Oslo Hotel.
“It was very special meeting them face-to-face, because it’s such a once in a lifetime moment,” said first-time attendee and nurse Ashwanee A Kjelsnes, adding that both President and Mrs Tan were “very nice, and showed interest in learning more about [her] life in Norway”.
Teng Jin Chen, who was on a student exchange program, expressed her excitement at meeting the President and his wife. “I felt honoured to be able to… have [a] conversation with him. The friendly exchange between them and our group of exchange students left an impression on me.”
Meeting the President aside, Ashwanee was also pleased to have met fellow Singaporeans living in Oslo and different parts of Norway at the cosy reception. “Everyone was excited to meet each other. It felt good to hear some Singlish in the room – suddenly, I felt like I was back in Singapore.”
Stay in touch with fellow Singaporeans in Norway through the following avenues:
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Oslo: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/overseasmission/oslo.html
Singaporeans in Norway Facebook group: https://web.facebook.com/groups/SingaporeansinNorway/
Durham University Singapore Society’s Welcome Event
(Images courtesy of DUSS)
The Durham University Singapore Society (DUSS) started the new academic year with a Welcome Event on 14 October, to welcome both freshmen and existing members back to the university.
At the event, participants got to join in various team games like beer pong and charades. They also took photos at a very well received photobooth, adorned with the Singapore flag and the Merlion in the background.
“DUSS opened this Welcome Event to all regardless of nationality, and this also gave our members an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, while the non-Singaporean guests got to learn more about Singaporean culture and experience Singaporean hospitality,” said Velda Ang, Treasurer of DUSS, “We are glad that our members truly enjoyed our first event in Durham’s new academic year.”
On 5 November, DUSS will participate in the Nottingham Winter Games at the University of Nottingham, an inter-university sports event and the longest running Singaporean student-run event in the United Kingdom. They will also be organising a Christmas celebration at the end of the year, and a Chinese New Year celebration next year.
From having 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.
We’d love to feature your event in next month’s roundup! Reach out to us on our Facebook page.
If you’re keen to reach out to a Singaporean club or student association near you, check out our list of overseas Singaporean clubs!