Six-hour online show made for overseas Singaporeans to join National Day celebrations

Hossan Leong (left) and and Dick Lee rehearsing at Kallang on Friday (Aug 6) for the Singapore @ Home performance.
Hossan Leong (left) and and Dick Lee rehearsing at Kallang on Friday (Aug 6) for the Singapore @ Home performance.PHOTO: SINGAPORE GLOBAL NETWORK
Singapore @ Home is a virtual show produced by Dick Lee and hosted by Hossan Leong that will go online on Saturday (Aug 7).
Singapore @ Home is a virtual show produced by Dick Lee and hosted by Hossan Leong that will go online on Saturday (Aug 7).PHOTO: SINGAPORE GLOBAL NETWORK

SINGAPORE - As some 200,000 Singaporeans continue to weather the Covid-19 pandemic overseas, they have not been forgotten by organisers of National Day celebrations, said singer-songwriter Dick Lee.

Singaporeans unable to return from abroad will get a taste of home in a virtual show produced by Lee and hosted by comedian Hossan Leong that will go online on Saturday (Aug 7).

Singapore @ Home runs for six hours and will feature performances by Singaporean entertainers and musicians like Kumar, Irene Ang and Taufik Batisah.

The programme includes a play by local theatre company Wild Rice titled Grandmother Tongue, as well as segments from Singaporeans around the world such as chef Emily Lim, who owns Singaporean virtual pop-up Dabao Singapore in San Francisco, and chef Pamelia Chia, author of cookbook Wet Market To Table.

The show premiers at 10am Singapore time on Saturday and will be available on demand until National Day on Aug 9. It was organised by the Singapore Global Network (SGN), a branch of the Economic Development Board which seeks to connect Singaporeans living overseas.

Lee told The Straits Times he will be talking about his own experiences as a Singaporean living overseas, during which time he wrote the National Day song Home. He will also perform it.

“When I was away in the 1990s, it could get quite isolating. In those days, I felt quite distant from Singapore as I was alone without family in the country,” said Lee, who spent about 10 years in Japan and Hong Kong, where he wrote Home.

Lee said he also used that experience to “bring Singapore” to those living overseas, having directed one of the first Singapore Days in Melbourne in 2014.

Singapore Day is a yearly celebration held in countries like Australia, the United States and China. Homesick Singaporeans as well as residents of those countries get to watch Singapore artists and eat Singapore food by hawkers, flown in specially for the event.

While SGN has not been able to organise a Singapore Day for the past two years due to the pandemic, its director Karen Leo said the virtual show will bring viewers into the city instead, adding that the show took about six months to develop.

She said: “The idea of home and homesickness has come up very strongly and how much they miss their family and friends, and not being able to travel back.”

The show will give viewers a virtual tour of local attractions. These were picked by overseas Singaporeans who voted through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube in July. Short films will also show how the landscape has changed over the years.

Host Hossan Leong, who has performed at “multiple Singapore Days”, told ST that he hopes people will take the time out of their busy lives to indulge in some nostalgia.


Singer-songwriter Dick Lee rehearsing at Kallang on Aug 6, 2021. PHOTO: SINGAPORE GLOBAL NETWORK

He said: “I think that sense of connection is so important and if people can give us that one or two hours we hope to give them the opportunity to reconnect.”

People here and abroad who are interested in attending the show can register here to receive a link.