Singapore contingent sets off on 92-day drive home from London

The group of Singapore driving enthusiasts, comprising 31 participants, will travel in a convoy of 16 cars on a 22,000km National Day drive that commemorates the city-state's bicentennial.
The group of Singapore driving enthusiasts, comprising 31 participants, will travel in a convoy of 16 cars on a 22,000km National Day drive that commemorates the city-state's bicentennial.PHOTO: AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

Jars of sambal belachan, two rice cookers, 20kg of jasmine rice, curry paste and packets of instant noodles are just some of the essentials that a group of Singapore driving enthusiasts have packed for their 92-day road trip from London to the Republic.

Yesterday, Singapore's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Foo Chi Hsia flagged off a convoy of 16 cars comprising 31 participants. They were embarking on a 22,000km National Day drive that commemorates the city-state's bicentennial.

Organised by the Automobile Association of Singapore, the overland trip is one of the longest expeditions for the association and its members, both in terms of duration and distance. It is also the association's first overseas flag-off - other driving trips usually begin in Singapore.

The idea first surfaced about two years ago and has been six months in the making.

The trip will take the team across 15 countries, including Croatia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and China, driving an average of about 500km a day with rest days in between.

One of the highlights will be camping in Turkmenistan's Karakum Desert near the "Door to Hell", where a national gas crater has been burning for more than 40 years.

The team left The Intercontinental London - The O2 on a 200km drive to Canterbury in south-east England at about 2pm (9pm Singapore time) yesterday.

The president of the association, Mr Bernard Tay, 70, said: "The expedition starts easy, with a short drive to build up momentum. Participants will be driving between two and eight hours a day."

On Friday, about 120 overseas Singaporeans attended a 45-minute evensong at Westminster Abbey. It is organised annually by the abbey in honour of Commonwealth nations on the occasion of their National Day to pray for the country, its leaders and people.


Singaporeans outside Westminster Abbey in London after attending an evensong on National Day. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 
 

Ms Foo said: "Especially since this year marks the bicentennial of the landing of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore, whose marble statue sits in the north choir aisle of the abbey, it is particularly meaningful that a large contingent from the Singaporean community and some of our friends here in the UK are able to join us on this special occasion to celebrate the 54th National Day of Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 11, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore contingent sets off on 92-day drive home from London'. Print Edition | Subscribe