Singapore Day to be held in London next month

LONDON - This year's Singapore Day carnival is headed for London next month, and will feature a fresh creative element.

The annual event organised by the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU) will showcase works by 11 Britain-based Singaporean artists that tap their personal memories of Singapore.

They comprise students and working professionals such as architects, sound artists and fashion designers.

Visitors will get silk-screen postcards featuring nostalgic Singapore scenes such as guppy fishing in longkangs (drains) to post to friends and family back home.

There will also be the unlikely sight of a larger-than- life 3-D printed strand of laksa noodle, created by industrial designer Leong Kok Chian, 40.

Sound designer Jing Ng, 26, will create soundscapes to help listeners recall the experience of a humid, tropical rain shower - a contrast to London's often freezing showers.

The quirky activities are curated by British-based Singapore arts networks Creative (Sin)ergy and Platform 65, which were approached by the organisers of Singapore Day.

"The idea is to explore notions of memory and identity, and start a discussion of what it means to belong to a place, what it means to be home," said Creative (Sin)ergy director and independent creative designer Clara Yee, 25.

An OSU spokesman said this year's edition "hopes to evoke a sense of pride and nostalgia on the success that Singapore has achieved as we head towards 50 years of independence".

The event is expected to be held on March 29 in London's Victoria Park, in the city's East End, and attract more than 7,000 visitors. It was last held in London in 2009.

Visitors to this year's event can tuck into dishes from famous hawkers such as 328 Katong Laksa, Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hill Street Char Kway Teow.

They will also be entertained by the likes of comedian Hossan Leong, musical duo Jack & Rai and indie rock band The Great Spy Experiment.

Since its start in 2007, Singapore Day has been held in Melbourne, London, Shanghai, Sydney and twice in New York.

The event seeks to keep Singaporeans living abroad in touch with their country.

But the Singapore Day held in Sydney last October made the headlines for the wrong reasons when an Australian who was turned away from the event claimed he was being discriminated against.

When asked how it aimed to prevent a repeat incident this year, the OSU, which comes under the Prime Minister's Office, reiterated that "Singaporeans are welcome to bring along one guest who might be a non-Singaporean".

They can also go as a family with members who are non-Singaporeans.

But all guests must pre-register and have a ticket, added the OSU spokesman.

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