LONDON - Singaporeans living in Britain and other parts of Europe headed to the Singapore High Commission in London on Thursday (Sept 10) to cast their vote in the general election.
Ten people were in line outside the High Commission at 7.45am local time (2.45pm Singapore time), before the polls opened at 8am. Most were there early because they had to go to work after voting.
First in the queue were Mr Samuel Chang, a 31-year-old public servant, and his wife Gerlynn Ho, 27, a housewife. Both were voting overseas for the first time. They arrived at the High Commission at 7.30am as they had to drive to Cornwall for a holiday after voting.
"It is important to us to vote today even though we are away,'' said Mr Chang.
Several of the Singaporeans told The Straits Times that they were first-time voters. Most had kept close tabs on the election campaign in Singapore through social media, news websites and friends.
"I thought long and hard," said Ms Amandas Ong, a 24-year-old marketing coordinator in a financial consultancy. "We've been told that we should vote for the party with the right values and skills, so we definitely kept that in mind."
She was at the High Commission with her friend Koh Yi Nah, a 23-year-old trainee solicitor, who is also a first-time voter.
Voting took less than 10 minutes in the morning as few Singaporeans turned up to vote. More came in the evening before the polls closed at 8pm (3am Friday, Singapore time). Among them was actress Adelina Ong, who was seen wheeling a cabin bag out of the High Commission.
The 36-year-old, now doing her PhD in applied theatre in London, said she had just returned from a conference outside of the city. She had been voraciously reading news of the election every morning and watching rallies on YouTube every night.
Most Singaporeans came on their own or with friends. But there was at least one chartered coach from Southampton with at least 15 voters that made its way to London.
Other Singaporeans also came from Germany, Switzerland and Brussels to vote.
Ms Mauricette Lee, 29, who is doing her PhD in physiotherapy in Dublin, Ireland, flew to London to vote with her husband because “I just wanted to make my voice heard”.
London is one of 10 overseas polling stations. The rest are in Dubai, Washington, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Canberra. They are places where a significant number of Singaporeans are present.
The Elections Department will release both Singapore and overseas turnout numbers when the overseas votes have been counted in Singapore.
The ballot boxes will be delivered by polling officials, under police escort, to the designated counting centre in Singapore.