Spring Luncheon at Singapore Embassy in Tokyo


Recently, I was the emcee for a Spring Festival Luncheon Celebration held at the Embassy of Singapore in Tokyo. The event brought together the Singaporean community living in Japan, and also helped promote Japan-Singapore cultural exchange and interaction. Diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan were formally established on 26 April 1966. In 1973, the Singapore Government purchased a plot of land in the Roppongi district, Minato ward where many foreign embassies are located. The Embassy complex (consisting of the main chancery, the Ambassador’s residence and several staff apartments) was designed by renowned Japanese architect Shinichi Okada, who also designed Japan’s award-winning Supreme Court located in Chiyoda ward.

最近、シンガポール大使館でシンガポール風の春祭り昼食会(Spring Festival Luncheon Celebration)を行いました。このイベントは、在日シンガポール人のコミュニティを結集させ、シンガポールと日本の文化交流を奨励するものです。私は、司会進行を務めさせていただきました~☆

National flags of both Singapore and Japan are at the entrance of the Embassy of Singapore in Tokyo
It was great fun to be the emcee host for the event. Red is often recognized as an auspicious color for the start of a new year and good fortune, and so I chose to wear a red dress for the event. ^^
シンガポール大使館で司会進行を務めさせていただきました~ 赤色はシンガポール人にとって、春や新年の幸運を表している色なので、私は春祭り昼食会のために赤いドレスを着きました。 
Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Ethan Chua’s welcoming remarks
Photo with Ciel Liu in front of her work.

The event also featured an exhibition for Ciel Liu’s work as a Singaporean Artist, Freelance Producer, Photographer and Documentary Filmmaker. At present, she is strongly focused on video projects aimed at raising awareness internationally of Japanese traditional culture and crafts. She is also self-funding and working on an ongoing project documenting Outsider artists in Cuba.

Ciel Liu / シエル・リューさん(www.cielimpression.com)のアーティスト展は大使館で行いました。Cielはシンガポール人のドキュメンタリー作家、テレビプロデューサー、写真家です。現在は日本の伝統文化・伝統工芸を世界に伝える映像プロジェクトに意欲的に取り組んでいるそうです。また、キューバのアウトサイダー・アーティストのドキュメンタリープロジェクトなども制作中らしいです。

Buffet of local Singaporean food!

We enjoyed a buffet spread of local Singaporean food including two styles of Chicken (roast and Hainan) for Chicken Rice, Kueh Pie Tee, Carrot Cake, Laksa, and Bubur Chacha! Yum! Located in Omotesando, Tokyo, Rakudo uses the superior ingredients available in Japan to bring authentic Singapore food to the people in Japan.


Did You Know? 
The tradition of Yu Sheng or Lo Hei originated from the phrase’s Cantonese meaning of ‘tossing up good fortune’ using raw fish salad which symbolises an ‘abundance of wealth and long life’. Made up of white and green radish, carrots, capsicum, turnips, red pickled ginger, slices of raw fish (commonly salmon), crackers, topped with the fragrant dressing of plum sauce, five-spice powder, sesame oil, this dish is usually served as an appetiser.
“Lo Hei” in Cantonese, where 捞 “lo” (literally mixing) means “tossing up good fortune”, refers to the ritual adopted in Singapore of tossing the yu sheng and saying of auspicious phrases before eating it. It is popularly believed that the higher the toss, the better your prospects and fortune in the year ahead. Before the tossing begins, the dish needs to be prepared, usually by one individual who adds the ingredients one by one in a specific order, while the reciting wishes of luck and prosperity evoked by the names of the ingredients used. With the plate placed in the middle, diners stand around the table to toss the ingredients whilst exchanging blessings and words of prosperity.



with Chef KT Yeo (center), award-winning Singapore chef

With Rakudo’s Chef KT Yeo, award-winning Singapore chef and one of the pioneers of private fine dining in Singapore. As a child, Chef KT honed his cooking skills by helping his parents cook in their humble Singapore street-food stall. Later he trained at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu and has also been inducted into Le Cordon Bleu’s Hall of Fame for his achievements as a chef. Chef KT has also authored award-winning cookbooks and regularly appears on TV, both in Singapore and internationally.


Group photo in the Banquet Hall with everyone who attended the luncheon.
We also had a fun raffle! Prizes included wines from Shiojiri, Nagano and dinner vouchers. Congratulations to the winners!
Group photo of the event organizers in the Embassy’s Japanese garden. The garden was designed by Junichi Inada, who worked with Singapore’s National Parks and Botanic Gardens for several years.
With other Singaporean ladies

I do hope that having more of these events can help contribute to Japan-Singapore relations in the years to come!


Incidentally, I was recently interviewed and featured by the Overseas Singaporean Unit on their official media in an article on “Giving Back Through Mentorship” and “Contributing from Afar: Rachel Leng”! The OSU in the Prime Minister’s Office is part of the Government of Singapore’s efforts to engage its citizens overseas (under the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth). Read more on my mentoring activities in my post on 「Harvard Prize Book 2018」and The Appeal of Liberal Arts リベラルアーツの魅力

ちなみに、Overseas Singaporean Unitというシンガポール政府の文化省、青少年省から取材を受けて、政府公認メディアに「メンタリングを通して社会に還元する」や「リン・レイチェル:海外から貢献する」についてニュースレターに掲載されました!(首相官邸のOSU(文化省、青少年省)は、シンガポール政府が海外の市民に対して従事する努力の一環です。)詳しくは、次回にシャアしたいと思います~ ☆ よろしくお願いします!

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About Rachel

Rachel Leng is COO and Co-Founder of SeiRogai, Inc., a Tokyo-based business consultancy & media production company. Previously, she was Leader of Business Development on the Investment Management team at a Japanese private equity fund, as well as Policy Analyst at a top think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

As an East Asia specialist and former Miss Singapore titleholder, Rachel is passionate about the potential of media to educate and raise awareness about history, culture, art, business, and societal issues to enhance mutual understanding.

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