Updated: 08/08/2014 21:42

Celebrating National Day is "serious business": Overseas Singaporeans



Celebrating National Day is "serious business": Overseas Singaporeans

They might be thousands of miles from home, but Singaporeans overseas are also celebrating National Day. 

Our reporter Fann Sim spoke to four of them who are holding special celebrations for Singaporeans in their community. 

Singaporeans in Victoria, Australia, are flying in the comedian Kumar as part of celebrations. 

Yen Chun Ting, who's the president of Singaporeans of Victoria, says it's the biggest ever National Day celebration they've planned, with about 500 Singaporeans in Australia attending. 

"We've always had Singaporean artistes come down and perform with us just to give that home feel and to bring that entertainment to Melbourne."

And interestingly, what overseas Singaporeans miss most isn't the spectacular fireworks display, or the Red Lions' free fall from the sky, but our humble hawker fare. 

Mary Vellasamy and her husband were one of the first few Singaporeans who relocated to Kampala, Uganda almost 30 years ago. 

Since then, she's been organising annual National Day get-togethers with about half a dozen other Singaporeans. 

"Everyone brings a Singapore dish and we just sit down and celebrate and eat together. And we used to sing the National Anthem and stuff like that."

But how does she acquire the necessary ingredients? 

"It's more like the Chinese ingredients and Malay ingredients like Buah Keluak and all that stuff, we can't get it. So we improvise."

It's a little easier for Singaporeans in other cities, thanks to local food company Prima Taste. 

They've been providing those in the United States and Germany with a "care package of local delights" that includes Hainanese chicken rice and Laksa. 

Its General Manager, Eric Sim, relates his own experience as an overseas student. 

"In the 80s, I was studying in Midwestern in the US and had no access to Singaporean food, so I can appreciate that. We missed Singaporean food so much that we went to the local Chinese restaurant and the fried rice is Americanised, the chow mien is Americanised."

Amelia Lim, who is vice-president of the Singapore Students' Association of Germany, is organising a get-together for Singaporean students in Freiburg, a university town. 

"Singaporeans (here) are like family to me and it's the only day where I can speak my own language Singlish. We talk about things happening in Singapore, news, updates about Singapore and of course about our studies and how we're doing and problems we face in Germany."

Lim Ai Lin, who's been in the United States for almost 10 years, say it's a very special moment when about 100 Singaporeans gather together so far away from home. 

"The Singaporean community does cherish opportunities like that to gather, speak Singlish, eat familiar food and just to really understand that we all go through a similar journey."

Clearly, Singapore remains close to their hearts, even though they are miles away from home. 

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