LONDON: Over 9,000 Singaporeans living, working and studying in the United Kingdom and Europe came together to celebrate Singapore Day in London on Saturday.
They were joined by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu.
The event was held at London's Victoria Park.
Thousands of Singaporeans and their friends enjoyed the familiar tastes, sights and sounds of home including authentic hawker food.
They were also updated on developments in Singapore, including the education landscape, the sports scene, infrastructural developments and career opportunities.
For entertainment, the Dim Sum Dollies, Hossan Leong, The Noose's Chua En-lai and Michelle Chong, music duo and radio entertainers Jack & Rai, as well as indie rockers, The Great Spy Experiment wowed the crowd with their songs and performance.
"I could feel the strong Singapore spirit among the participants today,” said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
“More than 180 overseas Singaporeans volunteered to help organise and contribute to the event. Apart from Singapore Day, Singaporeans abroad do organise their own programmes to keep in touch with home and with one another.
“I am glad to see that many have a keen interest in what is happening in Singapore and want to contribute to make Singapore a better home for us all."
Ms Fu said: "Over the years, we have tried to make this as accessible and relevant to Singaporeans.”
“We hope that we have brought some of the updates from Singapore and… to make this as close to your heart as possible. The idea is to get everyone… to participate and… get back (their connection) with Singapore, and hopefully relieve them of some of the homesickness."
Rozalina Rawi, a student in London, said: “There're some friends who actually came from Singapore to be here, and we're definitely looking forward to rojak, mama nasi lemak and teh tarik”.
Singapore Day is a collaborative effort by the Overseas Singaporean Unit and its partners from the public, people and private sectors.
It is held annually in major cities where there are a significant number of Singaporeans.
Singapore Days have been held in New York (2007), Melbourne (2008), London (2009), Shanghai (2011), New York (2012) and Sydney (2013).
A statement from the National Population and Talent Division said Ms Grace Fu also held a dialogue with about 40 overseas Singaporeans, mainly students and working professionals living in London.
At the dialogue, they shared their hopes and aspirations for Singapore and discussed ideas on how the overseas Singapore community could be involved in the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations.
Ms Fu said, "Singaporeans based overseas are an integral part of our Singapore family and it is important that they be involved in the celebration of our 50th year of independence in 2015.
“As we commemorate our journey as one people, we should reflect on what the first 50 years of Singapore's development means to us and how we can shape our future together. The SG50 celebration is indeed a special milestone for all Singaporeans, no matter where they are." - CNA/ec
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