Much has taken place around the world in the first half of the year; this is certainly also the case with our fellow Singaporean friends, who continue to organise activities and gatherings to bring people together. Here are some highlights for the month:
President Tony Tan’s State Visit to Poland
(Images courtesy of Jacob Lim and Jerry Ho)
On his recent state visit to Poland – the first by a Singapore Head of State – President Tony Tan hosted a tea reception for the Singaporean community at The Westin Warsaw on 21 May.
The reception was attended by 80 Singaporeans working or studying in Poland, with some travelling from other Polish cities like Krakow and Katowice, and even as far as Lisbon, Portugal for the event.
After a welcome address by the Singapore Ambassador to Poland, Dr Loo Choon Yong, the President took the stage to speak about the growing ties between both countries, our entrepreneurial spirit in the Central and Eastern European region, and how “every Singaporean in Poland plays an important role of being Poland’s window into Singapore".
This was followed by the actual reception, where many enjoyed a spread of fusion food like braised salmon skewers and sweet sesame pops, and Singaporean local delights like satay and bak kwa.
While most were queuing for food, others made a beeline to meet the President face-to-face. One person who did so was exchange student Jacob Lim, whose first presidential meeting gave him “butterflies in [his] stomach”.
“Meeting the President in person was a humbling experience. Despite the long flight from Singapore and touching down early in the morning, he was still friendly and game to take any questions we posed to him. Mrs [Mary] Tan was also very approachable,” he shared.
Another guest, Jerry Ho, was the first to be introduced to the presidential couple, along with his family. “[The President] may look serious, but he and Mrs Tan were really friendly towards us, and especially to our children. During our conversation, he showed that he cared for overseas Singaporeans, which made us feel that we’re still remembered by our country.”
Mr Davinder Singh, who has been running an Indian and Thai restaurant in Warsaw for the past 20 years, said it was “a real pleasure” to have been invited for the reception. “My family and I were honoured to meet the President and the Singapore delegation. Our President was very enthusiastic and happy to see so many Singaporeans in Warsaw!”
Jacob also elaborated on another occurrence that left an impression on him. “Dr and Mrs Tan encouraged us to interact with Ambassador Loo, because of his vast knowledge of the country and the general Eastern European region. Though they were the honorary guests of the event, they did not have any airs about them and were constantly looking out for others. Their personal touch and consideration impressed me indeed.”
Aside from meeting the President, all three guests were also glad to have had an opportunity to connect with fellow Singaporeans at the reception.
“We had the chance to share our experiences and encounters with each other, and everyone’s stories were inspiring to all of us,” said Jerry. “It’s always nice to know that we’re not alone overseas, and that we can help encourage each other.”
Jacob agreed, adding how he and his fellow Singaporeans “got to use Singlish” as they chatted. “[Being away] has certainly made us more appreciative of what we have in Singapore; this simple yet heartwarming event gave me a glimpse of the strong Singapore spirit [and] it really felt like a home away from home. This certainly adds to the highlight reel of my student exchange programme!”
“I am very glad that [the President and the Singapore delegation] made a trip here, and hope in future that the relationship and trade between Singapore and Poland will grow and prosper,” said Mr Davinder.
Stay in touch with fellow Singaporeans in Poland through the Singapoeans in Poland Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1111681148852699/
Singaporeans of Victoria’s 4th Annual Inter-Varsity Games
(Images courtesy of SOV)
It was a thrilling day at Singaporeans of Victoria (SOV)’s 4th Annual Inter-Varsity Games (IVG), held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on 19 April.
The annual event aims to promote a holistic lifestyle to all Singaporean students studying in Melbourne. It also brings Singaporean students from different Melbourne universities together, such as the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
“Aside from instilling a sense of pride in representing their own university, joining the IVG also allows participants to widen their social circle,” said Mackenzie Chng, head of the IVG organising team. “The bonds created in the midst of friendly competition help to give a little taste of Singaporean camaraderie in our home away from home.”
Along with creating awareness for the upcoming Singapore Day in Melbourne on 9 September, this edition of the IVG also marked the first time it was held in support of a good cause. Net proceeds from the event’s ticket sales, which amounted to S$1128.97 (AUD$1096), were donated to the Community Chest Singapore via SG Cares, a national movement co-led by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to encourage volunteering in Singapore.
“While we bring Singaporeans together through the IVG, we can also contribute to a good cause back in Singapore,” shared Mackenzie.
This year’s edition saw a turnout of 180 participants and spectators, a greater turnout than that of previous years’. Participants represented their respective schools and associations in handball, netball and futsal, for a chance to win the IVG Challenge Shield, a badge of honour for both the school and team.
“The highlight of the Games was definitely the finals of the futsal match, which was the last event of the day. The atmosphere was intense as the competitive and aggressive teams battled it out for a chance to win!” recalled Mackenzie. “Hearing the spectators cheering for their respective teams and friends also added to the electrifying atmosphere.”
Attendees also enjoyed a delicious nasi lemak lunch from PappaRich, and took part in a lucky draw contest where some lucky winners walked away with $100 Emporium vouchers.
Though it was a long day for all, the organising team was satisfied with the outcome of the event. “Everyone played a significant role to make it happen, and the advance planning we did was crucial to the event’s success,” said Mackenzie. “There may have been some unforeseen circumstances on the day, but the team was able to improvise and pull through.”
Ang Wei Cheng, SOV’s Managing Director, added, “It was worthwhile to have everyone enjoying themselves, while making new friends in the process!”
The IVG may be over till next year, but SOV has other plans in store. Its next event is the annual SOV National Day Gala Ball on 11 August with an expected attendance of at least 400 people – more information can be obtained directly from Mackenzie or Kimberly. It is also planning to organise a career talk and networking fair for Singaporean students and young working adults.
SOV’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SingVic/
Dulwich College Suzhou’s 10th Anniversary Founder’s Day Celebration
(Images courtesy of Samantha Chong)
It was a memorable day at the Dulwich College Suzhou’s 10th Anniversary Founder’s Day on 13 May.
Aside from marking the founding of Dulwich College, the yearly event celebrates the diversity of the Suzhou campus by showcasing the different cultures and home countries of its students. From China to France, South Africa to Malaysia, representatives from each country set up booths to sell food and souvenirs to visitors for a good cause. The funds collected from the sales go towards the Friends of Dulwich College Suzhou (FoD) organisation, run by parents of Dulwich College students, to be donated to worthwhile charities in Suzhou, including the Children’s Hospital of Soochow University.
According to Samantha Chong, mother of Dulwich College student Chong Ju-Ern, there was a strong showing of support from the Singapore community in the region. “The Singapore community in Jiangsu and Shanghai province turned up strongly to support the event,” she said. “They contributed towards props for the booth and the various Singaporean items sold at the event.”
Singapore representatives had a standalone booth for the first time this year, instead of sharing a booth with Malaysia like in previous years. Besides enjoying food from Singaporean-owned restaurants like Harry’s Forbidden Bar and Restaurant Suzhou, and Frankie’s Place from Shanghai, visitors could also buy Singaporean souvenirs like key chains, caps, and Merlion soft toys donated by the Singaporean community in Suzhou and Shanghai.
There was also a lucky dip at the booth, helmed by four young Singaporean girls aged six to 12, dressed in the Singapore Airlines patterned batik kebaya. Prizes included keychains, caps, stationery and bags, courtesy of the Overseas Singaporean Unit and the Consul General Office in Shanghai. Ju-ern and his friends also ran a game booth, ‘Ring the Bottle’, which raised a total of RMB1485 (S$301.86).
To further raise money for a good cause, two Singapore baskets - called ‘Splendid Singapore’ and ‘Sizzling Singapore’ – were packed with Singaporean goodies like Tiger Beer, Bengawan Solo cakes, sauce packs from Prima Taste, and Merlion soft toys and magnets, and auctioned to the highest bidder. The sale of both baskets raised RMB1050 (S$213.41).
There were various performances to entertain the crowd, like those from school orchestra, and other clubs and country representatives. The Singapore representatives also put up two of their own: a cover performance of 70s local band Matthew and the Mandarins’ ‘Singapore Cowboy’, by a band with Singaporean members hailing from Suzhou and Shanghai, and an electric guitar solo by a 10-year-old Singaporean boy.
Thanks to everybody’s combined efforts, a total of RMB225,131 (S$45,757.66) was raised for charity.
“The organizing team felt that the overall event was a great success, and that the Singapore booth made a big statement of the unity of Singaporeans overseas. The participants were also very happy with the outcome and many has promised to support the event again next year,” said Samantha.
For more information on SSC: http://www.whatsoninsuzhou.com.cn/EventsDetail.asp?IDs=816
Singapore-Philippines Association’s Dumpling Festival 2017
(Images courtesy of SPA)
The Singapore-Philippines Association (SPA) held their annual Dumpling Festival celebration on 30 May at Gloria Maris Shark’s Fin Restaurant in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
The group has celebrated this Singaporean tradition since SPA’s inauguration in 1990. “Celebrating the Dumpling Festival allows us to gather all our members, family and friends to come together and be part of this special occasion,” said Joan Carsola, SPA Secretariat.
The 70 guests in attendance were treated to a delicious spread from the restaurant, along with local and Singapore-made dumplings, and enjoyed lively musical performances. Singapore’s Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Ms Kok Li Peng, who was the Guest-of-Honour of the evening, also addressed the crowd.
Rounding up the evening was a lucky draw, which had prizes like golf umbrellas, mini massagers, earphones, hotel vouchers, and a Samsung tablet.
“We’re glad the event went smoothly,” said Joan. “There was a lot of laughter and everyone had a good time!”
SPA will next be hosting their annual golf tournament on 27 July, followed by a National Day celebration in August.
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.
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!
We’d also like to hear from you if your club or association is planning to organise a National Day celebration in your city this August! Send us an email here.