MELBOURNE - More than 6,000 Singaporeans were reunited at Singapore Day 2017 celebrations at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne yesterday (Sat), reliving their fond memories of home and getting up-to-date on the latest economic, social and cultural developments in Singapore.
This was the third Singapore Day to be held in Australia following previous editions in Melbourne and Sydney in 2008 and 2013, respectively.
A uniquely Singapore concert featured Singaporean group acts Teng Ensemble and MICappella with their renditions of childhood and popular songs, while artistes including Aisyah Aziz, Dick Lee, Jay Lim, and Tabitha Nauser also entertained the crowd with song.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was at the gathering, said: "I am glad to see the strong participation from Singaporeans all across Australia. We have brought a slice of home to celebrate everything Singaporean together. Thank you for your care and contributions to our fellow Singaporeans."
Also present were Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong.
Among the exhibits on display was a special installation, "Hearts for Home". Made up of paper hearts folded by Singaporeans across Australia in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and Hobart, the installation was meant to showcase the contribution of overseas Singaporeans.
As part of the SG Cares movement, Singaporeans also raised funds for the less privileged back home during National Day events held across Australia. Many of them took part in a Fold-A-Heart campaign that aims to help children and young with special needs through Singtel's Touching Lives Fund. For every heart folded, Singtel contributed S$1 to the fund, with a total of S$35,000 raised. DPM Teo received the cheque on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Minister Fu said, "I am glad to see overseas Singaporeans coming together to help build a caring Singapore. Their act of folding a heart signifies a moment of thought from those who are far away from home, for those who are in need at home. Everyone and anyone can play a part to build a better Singapore. This is what the Singapore spirit is about, looking out for each other, helping one another, and leaving no one behind."
Mr Mohamad Hafiz Bin Abdul Kadir, 24, the RMIT University Singaporean Students' Association President, said of the event: "It is a good thing that we have Singapore Day in Melbourne as we have a big Singaporean community here and it allows everyone in Australia to congregate here and celebrate. The food and atmosphere here is amazing as well and it is an awesome feeling hanging out with other Singaporeans."
Mr Muhammad Zaki Bin Azhar, 21, a student from University of New South Wales who came down from Sydney, said: "I managed to catch up with old friends who are studying from other universities in Australia. I also met new friends and it is such a friendly environment because making conversations are so easy with so many common topics - food, NS, family."
Sixteen hawker stalls were set up at the event to serve up a taste of Singapore to the participants. Said Ms Angela Lee, 36: "Singapore Day has allowed me and my family to be home for a day. It is almost like a mini National Day celebration with an extra perk because we get to eat local hawker food."