[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, September 01, 2006

[Hosting the former Economic Minister of Qatar]
My old friend, the former Economic Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohamed, is in Singapore on a private visit. I persuaded him to join me at a seminar to promote inter-faith peace and harmony at Jamiyah this morning. Haji Abu Bakar Maidin, the resident of Jamiyah, is a remarkable man. Over the years, by action more than by words, he has established close links with non-Muslim individuals and groups, many of whom have become regular supporters of Jamiyah's good work. Sheikh Mohamad spoke from his heart without a script, speaking as a Muslim to fellow Muslims.

In the late afternoon, I brought him on a short tour of SMU. Ephraim and Melvin got two student to play host, one was the President of the SMU Students' Association, Timothy and the other was Jonathan, a friend of Ephraim. Both Sheikh Mohamad and I commented with some envy that the students today are so fortunate to have all these facilities. We visited the radio station, Explor Centre, the gym and Edmund@SMU where the owner Edmund Ng, an alumnus, invited us to sample his chempedak/durian/apple crumbles, chocolate brownies and cheese cake. They were delicious. I was inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit and wished him good luck and continuing success.

We then walked over to McDonald House to take the NE Line to Hougang. Despite it being peak hour, the train was not too crowded. I wanted Sheikh Mohamad to see how Singaporeans live and brought him to the corner apartment of our illustrious water colour artist, Ong Kim Seng, near the Punggol Community Club. I have known Kim Seng since MITA days. He was happy to oblige when I asked him if he would open his home to our foreign guest. His wife, son and daughter were all there to greet us. Even prepared little delicacies which Kim Seng in his earthy way described as 'pretending to be ang mo'. It was always a pleasure to see his paintings of scenes from China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bali and Pulau Ubin. He also showed us one he did of the romantic coastal village of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. Coincidentally, Sheikh Mohamad's wife had always wanted to visit it. He took a shot of it with his handphone to show to his wife back home.

Curiously, we see and understand ourselves better when we show foreign visitors around.


Blogger LaiCF said...

Shukran Mr. George Yeo.

Curious, how is the progress in training up a corp of Arabic-speaking SIngaporeans to man those outposts in the Middle East?

By the way, is MM and SM keeping an eye on the progress of The Dubai Mall as it is an extremely high-profiled and SIngapore-designed and lead project.
What if it flops and cannot meet the target-date of opening in 2007.....and Singapore "design and construction expertise" becomes the laughing-stock in UAE?

Lai CF

Sunday, September 03, 2006 11:20:00 am

Anonymous Sandra said...

And why should we show foreign visitors around, George Yeo? So that they can find a good place to bomb? Or maybe invade, as like in Kuwait. Instead of spending your time with the Middle East types, how about those Singaporeans in Aljunied who felt neglected enough to give you just a passing mark in the GE 2006?

Monday, September 04, 2006 12:26:00 pm

Blogger George Yeo said...

Shukran, Mr Lai for posting.
We are pressing on with the promotion (revival) of the Arabic language in
Singapore. MFA's objective is to have a group of officers who know the
language. But this is a long-term undertaking. I've been encouraging MFA
officers of Arabic descent to brush up their language.
As for your question about Dubai Mall, this is a private sector effort.
There are always business risks. Better not to get SM or MM involved.

Monday, September 04, 2006 12:36:00 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i sure didnt vote for you! and if you want to blog and to stay "with it", please just a better platform.

whatever mr eprhaim loy is in real life, his rep in cyberspehere sucks big time. you wouldnt want to be associated with such peopl, would you?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 8:08:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sure his reputation sucks? or is it people just out there to whack him? now, what did he do wrong?

Thursday, September 07, 2006 1:12:00 am


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