No matter how far our Singaporean friends are from Singapore, they can still find a sense of belonging and home when they come together for gatherings and celebrations! Here are some recent event highlights:
Singapore Club Christchurch’s Singlish Day
(Images Courtesy of SCC)
Since its inauguration in 1993, the Singapore Club Christchurch’s (SCC) annual National Day celebration has been a mainstay on their event calendar. This year, the Club decided to celebrate Singapore’s 52nd year of independence with a special twist by organising ‘Singlish Day’, held at Omarino Wine Park in Harewood, Christchurch on 19 August.
“Singlish Day stemmed from a sense of pride of being true to what us Singaporeans speak every day, without having to mind our Ps and Qs,” said Gulwant Kaur, SCC’s media and public relations representative. “So, instead of a traditional sit-down dinner like in past years, we chose to reminisce and re-create a slice of sunny Singapore on a cold winter day in Christchurch by enjoying Singaporean hawker food, traditional games and home-grown Singaporean movies, all while highlighting our unique Singlish culture.”
The free entry event, which was graced by the Singapore High Commissioner to New Zealand, His Excellency Mr Bernard Baker and his wife, Susan, saw an overwhelming turnout. “We anticipated 100-150 guests, so we were very surprised by the surge in online sign ups a few days prior,” shared Gulwant. “On the actual day, there were over 250 attendees – the turnout exceeded our expectations!”
Centered on the theme ‘Oh Pardon My Singlish’, guests took part in quizzes to guess well-known Singlish catchphrases from Singaporean TV shows and movies, and watched snippets of local films like I Not Stupid, Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd (both the movie and TV series) and the Ah Boys to Men trilogy. There were even photobooth props with quintessential Singlish phrases like ‘Don’t play play hor!’, ‘Why you so like dat!’ and ‘Die die must try!’ A spontaneous Singlish dialogue contest held that day also drew much laughter from the audience.
The Singlish-themed activities aside, attendees also tried their hand at playing traditional games like carrom, capteh, ‘five stones’, and card games such as Old Maid and Snap, and took part in the lucky draw for a chance to win the top prize of a return ticket to Singapore.
They also enjoyed a delicious spread of affordable authentic Singaporean hawker fare priced at NZ$5 (S$4.86) or less per portion – a rarity in Christchurch. From mee rebus to mee soto, roti canai to roti jala, and even chai tow kway, the food proved to be a sold-out hit. “Many guests even decided to ‘da bao’ the food for dinner as it was such value for money, and since it’s also not easy to re-create the recipes at home,” said Gulwant.
The event was an overall success, but one moment in particular stood out to those in the committee. As Gulwant recounted, “We observed that not many guests were browsing through their smartphones or tablets (unless they were taking photos and selfies for the event). Instead, they were busy savouring the scrumptious Singaporean hawker fare and interacting with fellow Singaporean friends they may have not seen in a long time. We’re glad that everyone found the event very enjoyable, and it certainly helped us from feeling homesick for our homeland.”
Besides organising a potluck dinner that took place on 23 September, SCC also plans to organise a Singaporean Networking Business Dinner and a year-end gathering before 2017 comes to a close.
SSC’s website: http://sccnz.weebly.com/
SSC’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/128670867334243/ (Singaporeans Living in Christchurch)
ASEAN Golden Jubilee in Dubai
(Images courtesy of SBC (Dubai))
In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), members of the ASEAN Business Councils Alliance (ABCA) in United Arab Emirates (UAE) came together as one community to celebrate the ASEAN Golden Jubilee on 8 August at the H Hotel Dubai. Singapore’s representative organisation in the ABCA is the Singapore Business Council (SBC) (Dubai).
The Golden Jubilee celebration had 170 guests in attendance, along with the Singapore Consul General, Mr Cheong Ming Foong; the First Secretary of Brunei, Mr Soekarddy Abdullah; and consul generals of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Guests were also encouraged to dress up in their national outfits for the evening.
The evening started out with the ASEAN anthem, which is ‘an expression of ASEAN unity and strengthens the sense of ASEAN unity and belonging among the peoples in the region’. This was then followed by a word of welcome by Bobbie Carella, President of ABCA and Chairman of the Philippine Business Council, and performances put up by the various business councils.
Wilson Chan, Vice President of SBC (Dubai), said of the evening’s programme, “This year, we took a different approach to the usual ‘business’ theme. We opted to showcase cultural performances from each country represented, through their traditional songs and dances. For Singapore, we performed a medley of Singapore folk songs, including Rasa Sayang, 小人物的心声 (Voices of the Common Folk), and Home – a very appropriate closing song for our performance as National Day was to be celebrated the next day.”
The programme rounded up with the ASEAN Song of Unity, closing remarks by SBC (Dubai) President, Derick Ting, and was followed by a cocktail and networking session.
The organisers were very encouraged by the positive feedback received by both guests and dignitaries regarding the event. “We were very motivated and encouraged by the great turnout, and the continuous support from members of the Singaporean community,” said Wilson.
Founded in 1999, SBC (Dubai) has become one of the most prominent business councils in the Gulf region, with 1,200 members to date. The council actively engages Singaporean businesses and working professionals through its networking events, seminars and other unique initiatives. Membership is open to all Singapore companies and residents, and individuals or entities with professional or business ties with Singapore.
SBC (Dubai) held its National Day Celebration on 8 September, and will next hold a seminar in October and their annual SBC Golf Invitational, tentatively scheduled for 24 November. For more information on the council and its events, or to sign up as a member, visit their website at http://www.sbcuae.org/.
SBC (Dubai)’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SBCDubai/
SBC (Dubai)’s LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/399875
UKSSC’s Singaporeans in Conversation
(Images Courtesy of UKSSC)
Singaporeans in Conversation (SginC) is an annual panel discussion organised by the United Kingdom-Singapore Students’ Council (UKSSC), to reach out to and raise awareness about the organisation, and what they do. The first edition, which was held last year, touched on the topic ‘Beyond SG50: A New Social Contract?’
This year’s edition was held on 19 August at the S&P Global office in Marina Bay Financial Centre, and was attended by close to 50 attendees. It featured three panel members, including Mr Teo Eng Dih, Senior Director (Climate Change) at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Mr Wilson Ang, Executive Director of Global Compact Network Singapore, which is the national society that promotes corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Singapore.
Discussions were centered on the topic of ‘Politics in Climate Change’, where panelists explored how climate change has become a facet of international politics, the implications it has on international relations, and also on the climate change policies that have been put in place both at home and abroad.
“The session helped to clarify some of the implemented policies and engineering rationales behind certain infrastructures in Singapore, and how they would be affected if the country experiences drastic climate change. There were also a few other questions raised from the audience to the panelists, such as how Singapore could do more to reduce the usage of, and increase the recycling of plastic bags.” said Yu Thet Wai, UKSSC’s General Secretary (19th Executive Committee), adding, “We are elated and honoured to have been a part of planning and organising this educational event.”
The UKSSC will next be organising an ‘All Scots Weekend’ trip for their Scotland-based members from 27-28 October, co-organising Singapore Community Day in London on 28 October, and preparing for the new executive committee handover.
UKSSC’s website: http://www.ukssc.org/
UKSSC’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheUKSSC/
Flinders SSA’s Hari Raya Haji event
(Images Courtesy of FUSSA)
The Flinders University Singapore Students’ Association (FUSSA) helped bring Haji Raya Haji celebrations a little closer to home for their Muslim friends, at their inaugural Hari Raya Haji event on 31 August. The event, held at Oasis Center in the university, saw a turnout of 55 attendees.
“The aim of this event was to instill a sense of belonging amongst fellow Singaporeans, and to celebrate the occasion with our Muslim friends,” said Emily Yeo, FUSSA’s Year 2 representative. “It was also a great opportunity for non-Muslim friends to learn more about Malay culture.”
Fellow FUSSA member Syauqina Alyani started things off by giving a short presentation about the Muslim festivals and cultural traditions practiced in Singapore, and shared more about aspects like the five pillars of Islam, and the differences between Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. This gave attendees the opportunity to learn something new, and have their queries answered about the Malay-Muslim culture.
Attendees also got to try their hand at making ketupats, traditional Malay rice dumplings woven with palm leaves (usually eaten with satay) – though in this case, ribbons were used in place of palm leaves. “Folding the ketupats was challenging but fulfilling,” said Grace Koh, FUSSA’s Year 1 representative. “Everyone was very focused and did not want the activity to end!”
A homely dinner of nasi lemak and curry chicken was catered for all attendees, who also participated in a lucky draw to win prizes such as cinema gift cards and supermarket gift vouchers.
Angel Tey, another Year 1 representative, shared that majority of attendees agreed that the event “provided an opportunity for Singaporeans to celebrate Hari Raya together”. “Overall, we were greatly satisfied that the event went very smoothly, especially after seeing the members enjoy themselves so much, and hearing their positive feedback,” she said.
Continuing in the spirit of cultural celebrations, FUSSA organised a Mooncake Festival event in late September. They will also be holding a gathering in early October to celebrate Deepavali, which will coincide with the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
FUSSA’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fussa.sg/
FUSSA’s Instagram page: http://www.instagram.com/flindersunissa
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!