Indian beauty with French looks

Singapore—the city state has impressed me every time that I visited it—three times in the last few years. I am impressed with the cleanliness, orderliness, strong discipline and work ethic of this Asian tiger that transformed itself since World War II.

My first memory of Singapore dates back to accounts heard from my mother, Inderjit Kaur Sandhu, who had visited the city reroute to New Zealand to take part in the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ Conference of Executive Heads. The year, if memory serves me, was 1975, and she was one of the three women Vice-Chancellors in the world at that time. When she came back, she regaled us with accounts of her visit and what she saw.

A more tangible memento of Singapore was an Ebel watch that she bought from there, which served me well as I wore it in college. The battered Ebel is still with me.

During an earlier visit to Singapore, guided by the
friendly Augustar Salleh,
I visited various gurdwaras and interacted with the Sikh community there, just as my father, Giani Gurdit Singh, had done more than once. I had also seen how Dr Bachan Singh’s initiative resulted in a large number of Sikhs were teaching Punjabi to children in Singapore schools and my friend and artist R M Singh’s contribution in illustrating Punjabi text books so well.

On November 6, 2007, I met a local Sikh granthi at the unveiling of sculpture by Brother Joseph McNally, founder of LASALLE College of the Arts and the official opening of McNally Street by Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yeo. “I was a host of Giani ji for a few days,” he told me, and proceeded to reminisce about the father I had lost recently.

I, escorted by the charmingly efficient Ms Sherina Chan of the Singapore Tourism Board, had visited the National University of Singapore, earlier that very day, where my mother had been felicitated in the 1970s. At that time, she had been interviewed by The Strait Times. Ah! The serendipity of life! Deepika Shetty, Correspondent, Life! The Straits Times, recently interviewed me about Chandigarh. Her write-up, Indian beauty with French looks, was published on Tuesday in the paper that has an estimated readership of 1.23 million. Please click here to read the write-up and see the photographs which were published.

My link to Singapore is still going strong….

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