Good food and wine, chilled beers, live music! Friends catching-up, acquaintances made, laughter, chatter and good fun! All these make for the hallmark of a Great Aussie Barbie (BBQ). 500 guests enjoyed all this when the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency Philip Green graciously opened the doors to his residence on 20th May 2014 for an evening in “Celebration of Australian Alumni”.
The event, which received overwhelming response, marked the visit to Singapore by the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, The Honorable Andrew Robb and the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Senator The Honorable Brett Mason. The President of Singapore, Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, who has a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Adelaide, attended the celebration. Other notable local dignitaries in attendance included the Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings Dr Lee Boon Yang and former National Development Minister Mr. Mah Bow Tan.
It was all things Australian Alumni, as the Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Lynette Tan, a popular local radio host and alumnus, invited His Excellency Philip Green to make his address the guests. Mr Green thanked the President, Dr. Tan for taking time out of his busy schedule to grace the occasion. He also thanked all alumni for their participation. The Australian High Commissioner reaffirmed his support to the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) and the common vision to bring all Australian Alumni under one roof. He then invited Senator The Honorable Brett Mason to share a few words.
Sen. Mason thanked Singapore for being a participating partner with Australia on “The New Colombo Plan”. The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia. The New Colombo Plan offers prestigious scholarships to Australian students for study and internships in Asian cities, so that the students can experience first-hand a feel of Asia. Special mention was made of the first participating group of students from James Cook University. Sen. Mason then invited Mr. Neil Parekh, General Manager, South and South East Asia, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Mr. Christopher Cheah, President of Australia Alumni Singapore, to join him on stage. The announcement that NAB has agreed to be a platinum sponsor, with a sponsorship of $150,000 over three years, in support of AAS initiatives, was greeted with thunderous applause.
HE Mr. Philip Green escorted the President Dr Tony Tan to meet separately, five groups of representatives; members of the AAS Management Committee, Alumni from the University of Adelaide, alumni from James Cook University, alumni from Curtin University, and the New Colombo Plan students.. The President interacted with these groups & congratulated each group on the work they were doing in uniting Australian Alumni. The President then took his leave.
Guests were treated to a special guest appearance by a renowned Australian Blues musician, Ash Grunwald, who happened to be in Singapore for the “Music Matters Live” festival. His music surely got the crowd going and many were seen shaking a leg. There were lots of photographs being taken, and “selfies”, as HE Philip Green, Sen. Brett Mason and The Hon. Andrew Robb mingled freely with the crowd. With lots of wining, dining, and socializing, it truly was a Celebration of Australian Alumni.
AAS would like to thank all the guests present for the evening, especially our special guest, Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, the President of Singapore, The Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, The Honorable Mr Andrew Robb, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs for Australia Senator the Honorable Brett Mason, all Presidents and members of Australian Universities Alumni Chapters for their support.
AAS would also like to thank their Platinum sponsors National Australia Bank, all volunteer photographers and videographer, and Ash Grunwald & his band for the musical performance.
A special thanks to Jennifer Burdick & her team at the Australian High Commission and all who have in one way or another, contributed to the success of the evening’s event.
AAS will especially like to thank the Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr. Philip Green for his untiring efforts, generous hospitality and staunch support.