DARK clouds had hung low over the Singapore Island Country Club's New Course since noon on July 30. Braving occasional showers, around 100 golfers played the entire afternoon with the aim of building bonds of friendship.
When the game ended in near darkness, the winner surprised everyone to set an example of what winning is all about.
S. Vikkash Babu, 18, told the organisers that he had just turned professional and hence it is only right that the magnificent Integration Cup, donated by Tamil Murasu chairman S. Chandra Das, be given to an amateur golfer.
That winner turned out to be Jasni Sabar in a field of Singaporeans and expatriates.
For Jasni, the unexpected win turned out to be a special Hari Raya surprise.
He was not aware that he was the winner and he had rushed off home after the game to welcome some friends who had come visiting. As a result he could not be present when his name was called to be presented with the Cup at the Integration Night Dinner event which followed.
The second and third prize winners were Mohamad Hanafi Khan and S. Murali respectively.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan was the guest of honour at the event, which saw around 300 guests, including the golfers treated to sumptuous food and great entertainment.
In his address, Minister Balakrishnan spoke about the importance of immigration and the challenges involved.
Explaining the challenges involved, the Minister said: "Even as we want to and need to maintain open borders we need to recognise this reality that Singapore is not an empty slate, there is a people, a nation of Singaporeans and if we are to maintain open borders, native Singaporeans must feel secure because an insecure host can never be a hospitable host, and therefore membership must have its privileges.
"We are trying to navigate this tightrope of maintaing openess on the one hand and providing a sense of security and recognition to local and native born Singaporeans so that they can also welcome all of you with open arms."
He said the Integration Cup golf tournament was best suited to build bonds of friendship between citizens and newcomers.
"Golf is a very laborious time-consuming game but the larger point behind it all is that unless you invest time interacting, playing, you can never really build relationships, so I want to thank tabla! and Tamil Murasu and Mr Patrick Daniel for organising this, because this event is one of the many things that we need to provide opportunities for interactions for relationships to be built, for contributions to be made for trust to be earned and I just want to end by saying this is absolutely essential if we are to keep Singapore alive," said Mr Balakrishnan.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Mr Chandra Das said: "This event is now a part of our community's calendar, and we've been able to bring together a good cross section of our community each year."