Tuesday, December 13, 2016

National Day Reception 2016 in Tokyo

There was a National Day Reception held for Singaporeans in Japan on 27 September this year (yes, yes, still catching up on my posts). Our Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong was in town for several matters (including receiving a posthumous award for Lee Kuan Yew) by invitation of Japan’s PM Abe Shinzo, and we had all been extended an opportunity to meet him.

Yeah, most events like this are pretty much always viewed through the cameras of others でしょう

It was quite incredible to see so many Singaporeans gathering in the same room, speaking in full Singlish/Hokkien/Teochew left right and centre. It’s almost as though I never left Singapore. Later after the event when I made my way back home, a couple of middle-aged ladies (aka Singapore Aunties) were speaking Hokkien in really loud voices. I felt a tiny sense of pride realising that most of us will never part with our creole no matter how many years we’ve been abroad.

Anyway, since the reception was technically a belated National Day celebration, we were all encouraged to come dressed in red and white. There was an abundance of Singapore cuisine offered that evening.

Hainanese Chicken Rice - this was pretty authentic except the chilli as always. SIGH.
I miss the fresh bright orange lime chilli so much.
Satay - super good!
In a randomly chosen area of the room there also stood… A GIGANTIC MERLION. Gloriously bathed in neon lighting.

Merlion seems pretty pleased to be in the spotlight.
Some of the event’s official photographers helped us to take a picture with the Merlion too!

Only one holding a Tiger Beer in my hand. (My priorities....)
I think I'd have carried a better impression if I was holding, say, NEWater?
(Credit: Singapore Embassy in Tokyo)
As most Singaporeans would know, one of the highlights of attending an event graced by Lee Hsien Loong is…. a chance to take a selfie with him.

Yup, we got ours.

Oh, nothing much, just us hanging out with our good pal in Tokyo!

(Credit: Singapore Embassy in Tokyo)
I showed our selfie to some of my colleagues the next day; some were amused, some did not understand the excitement I carried. IT’S A BIG DEAL OKAY YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND 

Overall it was a fun event and I’m really glad to have made new friends (on the JET Programme, and also from other walks of life like those on the MEXT Scholarship.) And in true Singaporean fashion, the farewell door gifts for this reception ran out so quickly because it was apparently a generous goodie bag of bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang ( I heard there were 4 whole slices!!!!!) so most of us didn’t manage to get our hands on them. When you’ve seen how much a slice of bak kwa costs at the outlet in Ginza, you’ll understand why we were so desperate to get our hands on it.

Looking forward to more free food next time! Hoseh!!

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