Australian Alumni Singapore 57th Anniversary Dinner and Farewell Party for His Excellency Mr Doug Chester, Patron of AAS

Held on 24 August 2012 at the Grand Orchard Ballroom, Orchard Hotel, the 57th Anniversary Dinner of the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) was another significant milestone for AAS. But this evening was exceptionally memorable in a unique way.

It was also a farewell party for H.E. Mr Doug Chester, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore and Patron of AAS and his charming wife, Mrs Lyn Chester who have been in Singapore since 2008.

The annual dinner was attended by 340 university alumni and guests. We also had with us special guests, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development, and Dr Tan Chin Nam, recipient of the Eminent Alumnus Award 2012, as well as our generous sponsors.

Front row from left to right: Dr Tan Chin Nam; Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development; H.E. Mr Doug Chester, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore; Mr Loh Hoon Sun, President of Australian Alumni Singapore; Mrs Lyn Chester; Mrs Brenda Loh; and Mrs Tan Chin Nam Back row from left to right: Prof Themin Suwardy; Mr Robert Cochrane; Ms Lynette Tan; Mr Jedidiah Tan; Ms Sylvia Oo; Mr Paul Chia; Ms Peggy Tan, Chair of AAS 57th Anniversary Dinner; Mr Peter Teo; Ms Christina Tan; Ms Alicia Lim; Ms Esther Chng; Mr Simon Ho; and Mr George Huang
Ms Peggy Tan, Vice-President of AAS and Chair of the AAS 57th Anniversary Dinner giving the opening welcome
Mr Loh Hoon Sun, President of AAS, giving the appreciation speech
His Excellency Mr Doug Chester, Patron of Australian Alumni Singapore, addressing the audience

The event commenced with an opening welcome by Ms Peggy Tan, Chair of the AAS 57th Anniversary Dinner, who thanked the Guest-of-Honour H.E. Mr Doug Chester, Mrs Lyn Chester, Minister Khaw Boon Wan, as well as other distinguished guests for making time to join us for this special celebration. She also took the opportunity to thank all the sponsors who have generously provided prizes for the lucky draw.

This was followed by an address by Mr Loh Hoon Sun, President of AAS. Mr Loh recalled the Alumni’s progress in alumni engagement since 1955 and shared about the milestones that AAS has achieved over the years. He also shared briefly about the future plans in strengthening alumni engagement and partnerships with the Australian High Commission and key Singapore Public Service agencies to spearhead joint community events. In closing, he also thanked H.E. Mr Doug Chester for his generous support for the Alumni during his term of office as the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore and expressed best wishes for His Excellency’s future appointments. He led all those present to applaud and wish His Excellency and Mrs Lyn Chester all the best in their future endeavours.

His Excellency also addressed the dinner and expressed his appreciation for the Australian Alumni Singapore. He thanked Mr Loh Hoon Sun, President of AAS and others within the Management Team over the past years, for the good working relationship and camaraderie. He also reaffirmed Australia’s commitment towards strengthening relations between both countries, in the areas of people-to-people connections, trade and education, just to name a few.

This magnificent 6-kilo birthday cake was specially designed and sponsored by PrimaDeli for the occasion.
H.E. Mr Doug Chester, Mrs Lyn Chester and Minister Khaw Boon Wan singing the AAS 57th birthday song, together with members of the AAS Management and Dinner Organising committees

Later on in the evening, Minister Khaw represented Australian Alumni Singapore in presenting a Fabric Wall Art piece to H.E. Doug Chester. He was accompanied by President of AAS, Mr Loh Hoon Sun. The gift was specially customised and sewn together by beneficiaries of the Mother and Child Project, a Social Enterprise initiative by the Singapore Anglican Community Services. Entitled Friendship – Our heritage, legacy, and future, the motifs symbolise the deep and longstanding friendship between Singapore and Australia, the Australian Alumni of Singapore and the Australian High Commission over the years.

The evening’s event host, Ms Lynette Tan, Producer-Presenter at Gold 90.5FM and an alumnus of the University of Queensland, then rallied the guests in singing a birthday song to commemorate the 57th birthday of Australian Alumni Singapore. This was followed by a joint cake-cutting by His Excellency and Mrs Lyn Chester as well as Mr Loh Hoon Sun, Ms Peggy Tan, and members of the Management and Dinner Organising Committee.

Guests were also treated to an evening of great entertainment. The exciting line-up of performances included Chinese folksongs and Canon in D by students from Zhong Hua Secondary School Chinese Orchestra, electrifying dance and song performances by Glamour Danzfit, and an excellent vocal repertoire performed by Ab Oriente, a vocal ensemble.

Guests also had the opportunity to win a total of 12 excellent prizes, generously sponsored by our event partners. And as the evening drew to a close, Mrs Lyn Chester did us the honour of presenting the top four lucky draw prizes. These included two complimentary NTU Alumni Club memberships for the third and fourth prizes and an Oroton handbag worth $1200 for the second prize. The top prize, a Samsung 55” Smart TV, courtesy of Harvey Norman, went to a lucky Mr Seah Peng Siong, an alumnus of the University of Technology, Sydney.

Chair of the Organising Committee, Ms Peggy Tan, along with Ms Grace Chia from Zhong Hua Secondary School, also took the opportunity to present Mrs Lyn Chester with a floral bouquet and a token of appreciation.

Appendix A – Acknowledgements / Sponsors

Appendix B – Programme / Menu

Article by:
Jedidiah Tan
Chair, Communications Committee

Photos: Courtesy of Mr Sunny Lai and Mr Tan Geng Hui