President Tony Tan encourages Singaporeans abroad to join in 50th anniversary celebrations next year

Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam speaks in the Marianne North Gallery during a visit to Kew Gardens in West London on Oct 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam speaks in the Marianne North Gallery during a visit to Kew Gardens in West London on Oct 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - As Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence next year , Singaporeans living abroad have been encouraged to join in the fun wherever they are.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam asked Singaporeans based in Britain to do just that on Friday, as his six-day state visit drew to a close.

"As we celebrate SG50, I hope that all Singaporeans, whether at home or overseas, will jointly commemorate our nation's growth and journey," he said at a reception at the Royal Garden Hotel attended by over 200 Singaporeans living in Britain.

More than 210,000 Singaporeans live outside Singapore and the overseas Singaporean community in the United Kingdom is one of the largest in any country, he noted.

Dr Tan said he looked forward to hearing more about ground-up ways of celebrating SG50, such as the Imperial College Singapore student society's upcoming show in February next year.

The musical will examine questions of national identity and brotherhood between Singaporeans, said the society's chairman Clive Aw, 22, a second-year physics student.

Similarly, Singapore-UK Association committee member Manjit Sidhu, 54, hopes to organise a garden party next year with stalls serving Singaporean fare like those which can be found in hawker centres back home.

In his speech, Dr Tan also asked the Singaporean diaspora in Britain to "continue to build on the strong links you have with one another and back home with Singapore".

He also visited the Imperial College campus in central London on Friday, where he received a warm welcome from over 200 Singaporean students.

charyong@sph.com.sg