SINGAPORE - An international array of gourmet food and products is on sale on Saturday at the Shangri-La Hotel, as the group of resident diplomats in Singapore come together to organise a charity bazaar to celebrate the nation's 50th birthday.
It is the first time the Diplomatic & Consular Corps is organising such a large-scale event, with over 40 countries - more than half of the total number of diplomatic missions here - participating.
The group, led by the Dean and Brazilian Ambassador Luis Fernando De Andrade Serra, put together the Diplomatic Charity Bazaar event in three months. The working committee was led by Indonesian Ambassador Andri Hadi, who said: "The committee hopes not only that the diplomatic communities can come together as one through this event, but also can share our culture diversity with each other.
"On top of that, this is one of our ways to contribute and give thanks to Singapore for her warm welcome to us, as well as to strengthen our relationship together."
Wooden lacquered vases from the Maldives, embroidered bags from Bangladesh, as well as French pastries, Nigerian snacks and Filipino coffee liqueur are some of the items that are being sold at the 44 booths. Some of the products were flown in specially for the event.
Nett proceeds will be donated to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and the Singapore Children's Society.
Besides booths, visitors can watch 15 cultural performances involving some 158 people. The items will range from a Mongolian violin recital and the Maori kapa haka, to folk dances from Greece, Lao and Sri Lanka.
Among the countries participating in the event are 10 who are also commemorating 50 years of bilateral ties with Singapore, including India, Malaysia and Germany.
The Diplomatic Charity Bazaar, which is being held at the Tower Ballroom in Shangri-La Hotel, will run until 3pm on Saturday.
Entrance is free and open to the public, while coupons to purchase goods can be bought on site with cash only.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also set up a booth, and the event is Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan's first official engagement with the Diplomatic Corps since taking up his new role.