What began as a group of friends missing home transformed into an extravagant night of food, friends and entertainment all with traditional elements of the beautiful country – Singapore.
Three of the four UniHallers, Michelle Kang, Nivetha Anand Pereira, Javirthaa Rengasamy and Siti Mohamad Asfia had never attended a Global Café event before. Even so together they took on the challenge to organise the highly sought after evening.
“We wanted to give a piece of home to the UniHall community. Not just for Singaporeans but for all residents to enjoy,” said the girls.
This small idea became a reality when the girls approached Residential Life Coordinator, Stuart Ede, who helped build this idea into a theme for the Global café night.
With only three weeks to organise this event the girls brought together many people from the internal and external community. They liaised with their UniHall mentors the UWA Singapore Student Society, ResClub, current residents and even their families back home.
“Over Skype we talked to our families back home who gave us more ideas and also got excited with us as our plan started coming together,” said the girls.
They said it was amazing to have so much support from the UniHall community with volunteers asking to help with organising the night.
When the night arrived on Thursday, 30 April, the girls could not contain their excitement. They had expected 70 UniHallers to attend but instead were blown away with 150 residents coming down to the K House common room on the night.
The evening kicked off with five different presentations on the various ethnic groups and traditions in Singapore. The girls said they not only wanted to bring people together but to also share the unique characteristics which make Singapore their home.
One of the highlights was guest performer Sochantha who sang ‘Home’ from the National Singapore Day.
“This was my favourite part of the night when guests started to sing along,” said Siti.
“Some guests actually started tearing up during the presentations and Home song,” said Nivetha.
Volunteers spent the day preparing five delicious dishes for guests to sample. These included:
- Prata: Flat bread
- Kaya Toast: Coconut jam on toast
- Otak Otak: Grilled fish in banana leaf
- Tang yuan: Glutinous rice balls (two different flavours)
- Pandan Cake: Fluffy sponge cake
- Bandung: Sweet refreshing rose syrup drink
“We prepared the food outside and used the Dining Hall BBQ pit to grill the Otak Otak.
This reminded us of the hawkers markets at home where family and friends would spend time together to enjoy food,” said Michelle.
The girls laughed as they said there wasn’t a single piece of food left over!
Some of the residents, including Michelle, showcased their artistic skills through Henna designs for residents.
“One resident was missing his girlfriend quite a bit and she used to draw henna on him. So this was another way to connect Singaporean residents with home,” said the girls.
Looking around the room the atmosphere of smiles and new friendships being made was a wonderful sight. You could see guests who had worn traditional Singaporean attire such as an army uniform, Baju Kurung and the Saree.
“People who didn’t know about the culture were enlightened,” said Siti.
The girls agreed that one of their highlights was to be able to work together with other Singaporeans right in here Australia. Many residents moving from overseas don’t have family here, but their friends made at the Hall become your family.
“UniHall becomes your home away from home – this is family,” said the girls.
Not only did the Global Café Singapore showcase their unique culture, it allowed residents to reach out to people they may have not known and introduced freshers into the vibrant UniHall community.