The vote is done - now for the sausage sizzle, mate

SINGAPORE - As Australians digested the results of the election, around 2,000 expatriates in Singapore gathered at the High Commission in Napier Road to indulge in another polling day tradition - the sausage sizzle.

There, after casting their votes, they tucked into an Aussie-style barbecue of beef sausages served with bread and lashings of onions and sauce.

Expat voters were also treated to the sounds of home as Australian bush music - complete with the noise of crickets and birdsong - was played within the High Commission building.

Mr Philip Green, 53, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, said he and his team decided to hold the sausage sizzle in the Republic for the first time to help strengthen bonds within the 27,000 strong expat community.

"Australians don't have many opportunities to come together... Many people are busy with a life that is fundamentally Singaporean," he said. "Today is an opportunity for them to express their Australianness... The sausage sizzle helps."

Community groups throughout Australia usually hold barbecues outside polling stations to raise funds for good causes.

Singapore's election day sausage sizzle raised an estimated $3,000 and was organised by the Australian and New Zealand Association Action, which supports a number of projects in the Republic and Cambodia.

Amid the laidback vibes of the barbecue, expats exchanged serious views about the election.

Mr Rishnel Chandra, a 30-year-old banker from Sydney who has lived in Singapore for two years, said he voted for the Liberal party even though he is not a fan of Mr Tony Abbott. "He doesn't say the right things, he's a bit aloof, but at the same time I feel like the people that are around him are quite capable and I think that they will do a good job," he said.

Student Shelby Koh, 18, who has lived in Singapore for four years, said she preferred Labor leader Kevin Rudd over Mr Abbott. "I reckon he has got more experience because he was prime minister before," said Ms Koh, who is from Perth.

She added that she was a supporter of equal rights, including gay marriage, and she felt Mr Rudd would be able to deliver on this issue. Australia's policies on refugees and climate change were the most pressing concerns for Ms Kirsty Leong, 39, a postgraduate student from Melbourne who moved to Singapore eight months ago.

Although the nation's official refugee intake is relatively high compared to other countries, Australia's policies around asylum seekers are still "pretty harsh", said Ms Leong, who voted for The Greens, who agreed to support Labor after the hung Parliament in 2010, but are formally unaligned.

 

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.