Tinkering of glasses, lots of chatter, high-fives and laughter could be heard at NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House on the evening of 5th Oct 2013. It was the day that all had been waiting for to catch up with their old pals and alma-mater – the Australian Alumni Singapore’s 58th Anniversary Dinner.
The event, which was packed to capacity with 300 Australian alumni and guests, was graced by our Guest of Honour Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minster for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Mrs Iswaran and His Excellency Mr Philip Green, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore and AAS Patron and his wife, Dr. Grace Moshi.
The evening began with guests mingling over wine and drinks in the open area, after which they proceeded to the ballroom. In his address, AAS President Loh Hoon Sun thanked the guests for their enthusiastic support and thanked Minister Iswaran for gracing the occasion. Mr Loh told the audience that the minister is a fellow alumnus from University of Adelaide. He highlighted the strength of AAS by stating that “AAS now has 30 Institution members, 25 Australian universities and 5 other Australian institutions. Together with their Singapore alumni and members, our outreach is to more than 50,000 Australian graduates in Singapore. This success was in no small measure facilitated by our Patron HE Mr Philip Green, Australian High Commissioner, and his predecessor HE Mr Doug Chester, who have been actively promoting AAS to the various Australian universities and alumni associations.” He also thanked the AAS committee for a successful year. He also took the opportunity to thank all members, friends, supporters, sponsors, committee members and the two AAS Patrons for their kind support and wise counsel, as his maximum term as President of AAS ends in March next year. He was greeted with a thunderous applause. (Speech by Mr Loh Hoon Sun)
In his speech, Mr Green highlighted the way AAS had grown from strength to strength under the leadership of Mr. Loh. He assured the AAS that strengthening the alumni is one of his key objectives and he will always be supportive of the work AAS is doing.
Minister Iswaran in his address noted that AAS founded in 1955 is 10 years older than the Republic of Singapore and at the age of 58, AAS remains one of the most active alumni associations. He commended the AAS Committee members for contributing to the success of AAS. He said that AAS’s success is a reflection of Australia-Singapore’s strong, long-standing and multi-faceted partnership. He stressed that this partnership is slated to grow even stronger in the near future. He had the audiences in splits when in his trademark humorous style, he mentioned that he had done his part to strengthen this partnership as his wife is an Australian. (Speech by Mr. S Iswaran)
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the inaugural ‘Outstanding Australian University Alumni Association Award 2013’ to the University of Melbourne Alumni Association Singapore (UMAAS). AAS initiated this award to recognise and encourage Australian alumni associations for their outstanding efforts in helping their fellow alumni by organising various activities for them, and helping the underprivileged members of the society at large. All these alumni associations are manned by volunteers and their selfless contributions and team efforts deserve our recognition and encouragement.
Minister Iswaran presented a plaque and citation to President of UMAAS, Melvin Gwee, who received the award on behalf of his alumni. (View citation) Mr Gwee, in his acceptance speech, thanked AAS for bestowing this honour on UMAAS and said “It is also a moment of pride for our founding members who since 1993 have witnessed the evolution of our association from that of a small gathering into a very active and well-organised association supported by 14 committee members, 2 honorary auditors and a university country manager. Our clear vision is to continue to build a strong alumni network in the country. “(Award winner quotation)
During all this, guests were treated to good food and wine as well as musical entertainment by Dick and his Minstrels. While the guests were enjoying the delicious food, Lucky Draw was conducted. Ten prizes were given and they ranged from a Juicer to a Full Home Theater System, courtesy of our wonderful sponsors, who supported us. Ms Peggy Tan, Vice-President of AAS and Chairman of the 58th Anniversary Dinner Organising Committee, ended the proceedings by giving a vote of thanks to all those who helped to make this event possible. (Thank you speech)
The bonding between the alumni was there for all see. As the event was about to close, alumni promised to keep in touch and meet again at next year’s 59th Anniversary Celebrations.
Guests had some kind words to say, Mr Christopher Cheah said “It is amazing to see what AAS has achieved with a group of volunteers. Congratulations!” Dr Moh Chong Tau said “The dinner was well organised and garnered great support from members. Congratulations go to you (Ms Peggy Tan, Chair of Organising Committee) and your organizing committee. I also like to extend my compliments to the Chairman of AAS Mr Loh for his leadership in leading AAS to the current level of recognition and status.” Ms Irene Ho summed up the experience in four words “We had a great time!”
AAS would like to thank all the guests present for the evening, especially our Guest-of-Honour, Mr S. Iswaran, and Mrs Iswaran, HE Mr Green, and Dr Grace Moshi, all presidents and members of Australian Universities Alumni Associations and Alumni International Singapore. AAS would also like to thank main sponsors CPA Australia, Makino Asia Pte Ltd, Phillip Securities Pte Ltd and all sponsors of table wine and lucky draw prizes, all volunteer photographers and videographer, “Dick Yip and his Minstrels” for the musical performance and all who have contributed in one way or another, to the success of the evening’s event.
Article by: Kaushik Bhanushali
Photos : Courtesy of Jason Wee