The ninth edition of the Singapore International Indian Expo (Siiexpo) opened yesterday to the beats of Chinese drums and a lion dance performance, a surprising and unlikely occurrence at an Indian-centric event.
The auspicious and celebratory sounds reverberated throughout Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre's exhibition halls 403 and 404 when shoppers thronged the stalls as soon as the doors were thrown open yesterday morning. There were performances by Maya Dance Theatre, the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society and Apsaras Arts.
The four-day event runs till Sunday, and entry is free.
In his address to dignitaries and visitors, India's High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf said the products at the Siiexpo bear the unmistakable stamp of India and are intrinsically linked to the country's art, culture and tradition. He noted that it is a "particularly special year" as India celebrates its 70th Republic Day tomorrow and commemorates Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary.
He added that the industries represented at the Siiexpo have a "very special place in India".
"They constitute nearly 48 per cent of India's exports and, while headlines are being grabbed by big corporations in India, the real hard work of pushing exports from India belongs to the small exporters, the small and medium-scale industries, the village industry, the agro-products and artisans who work with their traditional skills," said Mr Ashraf.
Price of ticket to attend a talk by life coach Gaur Gopal Das tomorrow at hall 405. Tickets are available at https://gaurgopaldas.eventbrite.sg
At this year's Siiexpo, there are several stalls offering apparel, handicraft, jewellery and decorative items.
Among the booths are Artisans (Chennai) offering artefacts, Tanjore paintings and bronze statues; Rajasthani Village selling handmade shoes and block-print fabrics; and Ethnic Handcraft from Gujarat selling handmade jewellery, table runners, cushion covers and bags.
Ms Anjali Saxena, who was shopping at the event with a friend, said she got to know about Siiexpo through advertisements.
"It's amazing that shoppers can get a variety of goodies exclusive to different states in India all under one roof. We have bought stoles, purses and earrings," the 39-year-old said.
Visitors can also try their hand at using Rotimatic, a fully automated roti-maker at the Zimplistic booth.
The young can play games at the World Wildlife Fund booth and learn about the non-governmental organisation's wildlife conservation efforts.
Renowned life coach Gaur Gopal Das will give a talk tomorrow at hall 405. Tickets, priced at $40, are available at https://gaurgopaldas.eventbrite.sg.
The event is is organised by Singapore Press Holdings newspapers tabla! and Tamil Murasu and events company De Ideaz. It was inaugurated by SPH deputy chief executive Anthony Tan.