From 5 to 6 December 2019, the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) hosted its international friends at SIF Connects! Singapore to showcase Singapore’s past, present and future. The immersive programme saw participants visiting a vibrant mix of community spaces, social enterprises and urban green spaces.
As 2019 also marked Singapore’s Bicentennial Year, the visit began with the centrepiece event, “From Singapore to Singaporean: The Bicentennial Experience”, giving participants a glimpse into Singapore’s transformation over the centuries.
The biennial local edition culminated in ShiOK! Nite, an evening of celebration. The night was filled with festivities as guests mingled and reconnected over a spread of Singaporean delights, visited exhibit booths featuring the work of the SIF’s programme alumni, and pledged their support for a better world. Guests were also kept entertained with performances by local and international artists: Quan Ho Folklore Song and Dance and the Cheo Song and Dance by the Ecopark Art Club Community Performers (Vietnam), Prae-Wa Thai Dance (Thailand), stand-up comedy by Singaporean comedian Fakkah Fuzz, and live music by Clement Chow, esteemed Singaporean musician, who performed his original piece None of This Came Easy, a heartfelt ballad written specially for Singapore’s Bicentennial year.
From 30 November to 1 December 2017, local and international participants of SIF Connects! Singapore embarked on an immersive programme to experience Singapore’s past, present and future. Participants visited a vibrant mix of historical districts, social enterprises, water conservation sites, and residential project Punggol Eco-Town. At the end of the two days, many shared that they had acquired new knowledge about Singapore’s arts and cultural heritage, as well as its approaches towards social innovation and urban sustainability.
The biennial local edition successfully concluded its 2017 programme at ShiOK! Nite graced by guest-of-honour Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth.
The evening’s programme quickly grew loud and festive as guests mingled and networked over a sumptuous buffet of local cuisine while enjoying performances by home-grown artists. One of the evening’s highlights included the recognition of 14 individuals comprising, Singapore International Volunteers (SIV), partners and programme alumni.
A special SG50 edition of SIF Connects! Singapore held on 3 and 4 December 2015 saw more than 100 programme alumni and Friends of Singapore (FOS) from 20 nationalities gather in Singapore to reconnect with the Singapore community, while sharing their insights and advice on what’s next for Singapore in the years ahead.
Several of our FOS brought with them young undergraduates for the experience, seeding the next generation of FOS. We also had with us several programme alumni from India, Malaysia, Thailand, the UK and the US, all of whom now volunteer as SIF Representatives to grow FOS communities in their home countries. Alongside Singaporeans, our FOS freely shared their views and ideas on how we could collectively shape the next chapters of the Singapore story.
A major highlight of this edition of SIF Connects! Singapore was the SIF SG50 Dialogue with FOS featuring the SG50 Economic and International Committee Co-chairman, and Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin. Themed “What is Singapore; What’s next, Singapore?”, the dialogue was held against the backdrop of the second edition of Singapore: Insights from the Inside, and continued from the SIF’s series of overseas SG50 dialogues with FOS earlier that year in Bandung, Kuala Lumpur, Washington DC and London.
From 5 to 6 December 2013, programme alumni from 15 countries participated in the second SIF Connects! Singapore. During the two days, the Friends of Singapore (FOS) participated in a dialogue session with Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information (MCI), engaging in a lively exchange of ideas on how friendships across borders can bridge world communities and result in collaborations for good. Indeed, these interactions provided a platform for the alumni to be re-acquainted with the head, heart and soul of Singapore and gain insights into new developments of the country – from social innovation and entrepreneurship to cultural vibrancy.
The two-day programme culminated in ShiOK! Nite – a celebration of food, friendships and fun. Guests reunited with fellow programme alumni, while enjoying performances by the talented FOS community.
Since 2011, ties among and within various FOS communities have been strengthened with the appointment of four SIF Representatives, Mr Zhou Ji (Shanghai), Ms Kanlaya Kampan (Bangkok), Mr Moch Kurniawan (Jakarta) and Mr Chris Davis (London), who work tirelessly to promote collaborations between Singapore and the world communities to enrich lives and effect positive change.