[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

Saturday, September 23, 2006

[Meeting Singaporeans Overseas]
1. The Singapore tribe is spreading worldwide. I meet Singaporeans everywhere I travel, even in distant countries like Brazil and Kazakhstan. Some get into trouble and we have to find ways to help them. A few months ago, two Singapore students travelling in Armenia were detained because their papers were not in order. Our Embassy officers in Moscow got in touch with Armenian diplomats there. I offered to call the Armenian Foreign Minister whom I had met earlier. After a few days, they were able to fly out from Yerevan much to the relief of their parents in Singapore. When the war in Lebanon broke out, we had to evacuate a few Singareans stranded in Beirut. Our Honorary Consul General in Lebanon, Mr Habis, did a great job.

2. This week in New York, I met Singaporeans working in UN agencies over lunch (quite a few) and Singaporeans living in NY over dinner (many). The UN Plaza Hotel where I'm staying is owned by a Singapore company. The wife of the company's CEO here cooked us local breakfasts every morning which lifted our morale for the day. Last year, I 'bungkus' some nasi lemak for the Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid whom I was meeting later that morning. This morning when I met Syed Hamid, he asked whether I had my nasi lemak this year. I replied sheepishly that I had it two days earlier. I must remember to 'bungkus' him some next year.

3. With the Internet, instant messaging and the mobile phone, keeping the Singapore tribe connected around the world is no longer a problem. Food is one item which is very important to Singaporeans and Malaysians wherever we are. It must occupy many giga-bytes in the brain of the Singaporean. Even as we are eating, we are talking about the next meal. I used to tell my officers in MITA (now MICA) that it was one important way to keep overseas Singaporeans together. I'll be leaving for home tomorrow evening and already I'm thinking of the food I shall have when I return home.


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