Dinner with President Nathan at a 6-star hotel


Remember I spoke about the POSB Everyday Champions Award, about how I wanted to nominate the Goonfather for the award for attacking me during his sleep and inadvertently training me in unarmed self-defense combat (although he’d like to have you believe that it’s the other way round)?

Well, the winners have been revealed and I was invited to attend the award ceremony last Thursday to join in the celebrations of these champions for sport.

(The POSB Everyday Champions Award pays tribute to individuals, coaches and organisations that contribute consistently and selflessly, beyond the call of duty, to inspire others to play and grow through sports.)

I had at first pictured the event as being held in a small function room with a mock-up stage and rows of seats facing the stage, and maybe a buffet table serving snacks at the side.

I was told the event would be held at St. Regis Hotel but I knew of no such hotel in Singapore.

When I arrived at the hotel, I was startled by its majestic presence.

St Regis Hotel

I was even more startled to see a row of uniformed hotel staff lining up along the driveway leading to the hotel lobby, as if they were preparing to welcome a VIP.

As I entered the lobby, there was a row of hotel staff wearing formal black suits standing at attention right in front of me. I wondered what big event was happening.

A black suit approached me and asked if he could escort me to the event.

I stared at him dumbly, wondering how he knew what event I was attending. Sensing my hesitation, he confirmed with me that I was attending the POSB Everyday Champions Award Ceremony and showed me the way to the reception lobby.


At the reception, I saw more black suits and dressed-to-kill ladies milling about.

It was while picking up my media pass at the registration table that I confirmed that President S R Nathan was going to be the guest-of-honour for the event. That explained everything! I also found out that St. Regis is a six-star hotel.

How fitting that these sporting heroes should be given due recognition with a grand ceremony in a prestigious six-star hotel. It made my eyes tear to see them recognised and rewarded. I mean that, totally.

With the President of Singapore himself supporting the award and St Regis hosting the event, it illuminates just how important these champions are. Noble and selfless, our sporting heroes truly deserve the prestige of being honoured in such a grand manner.

You might be interested to know that 3,375 nominations were made over a one-month time frame, and 57 winners spanning three categories were picked to receive the award.

The ceremony was held at the John Jacob Ballroom at St. Regis Hotel. It’s a huge, magnificent ballroom. Attending were VIPs, the winners and their guests, and members of the press.

I shared a table with Ming (founder of Nuffnang), Raine (Nuffie) and Leslie (ieatishootipost).

Photos of them later!

There was a huge parade in the lobby before the event started proper, as President S R Nathan arrived and was mobbed by the press.

The other side of the mob:

I like President Nathan. He’s very personable. I had tea with him once at the Istana, together with the cast and crew of Singapore Dreaming. He made the effort to shake hands and talk to every single last person at the event (there were like 50 people, I think). How sweet!

The President’s entrance into the ballroom:

And everyone standing to receive him:

The event started off with a percussion performance, which was unexpected. That was followed by VIP speeches and then dinner.

Oh, before I talk about dinner, I want to remark on the table settings. Everyone had their own personal sauce plates.

The little spoon (about the size of my index finger) is so cute I wish I could have taken it home.

And there’s a pretty and large decoration piece in the middle of the table.

I was wondering where they’re going to put the food, and then the food came. Everyone was served individually. Question answered.

The first course was… very interesting. In fact, almost all courses were quite interesting. They were all very hard to photograph because they were like little portions scattered sparsely on huge plates.

Okay, you know what, this isn’t a food review, so I’m just going to show you a bunch of pictures to sate your curiosity and then we’ll move on.

Alright, I’ll say one thing about the food: The cod fish was sublime. It’s the first time ever I feel compelled to apply the word “creamy” to fish (with no tartar sauce in sight, mind you).

Compliments to the chef. I will have cravings for it my entire life now.

The menu:

There were only five courses but dinner was very filling, overall. I couldn’t even touch my olive and scallop fried rice at the end of it, to my horror, because it was quite delicious. Okay, yeah, I touched a bit of it.

Between courses, the award winners were called up one by one to receive their trophies and certificates from the President.

We were also shown several creative video clips starring the award winners, with the message “Let’s Play”, to promote sports to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations.

Leslie and I picked one winner each to “interview”, although I didn’t do much of an interview because a new dish had just been served at the time I got to speak to him, and I didn’t want to keep him from his dinner.

Anyway, I picked Leo Wen Yeow, a wushu coach, because I am a huge wushu fan. I love watching wushu demonstrations and I love practising it myself, just that I never got the chance to attend regular lessons (problem of got time no money, got money no time).

Raine, myself and Leo Wen Yeow

But I feel inspired to make time for it now, after attending this very sports-promoting event.

Here’s Wen Yeow’s writeup on the POSB Everyday Champions website:

To Wen Yeow, his trainees are his family members. And he certainly exemplifies this family spirit. His doors are always open, so his trainees can easily talk to him and come to him for any problems, even for family matters. On festive occasions, Wen Yeow would even organise trips to Sentosa or the zoo, just to build up their team spirit. He is also a compassionate coach, offering to buy the less well-off trainees shoes and attire. Above and beyond normal training, Wen Yeow also buys DVDs of major Wushu events including the recent Beijing Olympics and points out mistakes and the finer details so that his team will score that extra point.

He has been training since the age of five (the same age as when I started gaming!) and now owns his own wushu school. I suppose a visit is in order!

Leslie interviewed Khu Soon Hin, a hawker who plays hockey. Heheh.

Here’s a group photo of all of us!

From left: Soon Hin, Leslie, Ming, Raine, me, Wen Yeow

The event ended at around 9:45 pm, with the President being escorted out of the ballroom.

The President waved at me (or, rather, my camera) as he walked past my table.


Well, the party may have ended and the awards awarded, but the campaign is still ongoing!

Would you like to win $1000 in cash? If you would (I know I would), please visit the POSB Everyday Champions website and look through the winners’ profiles.

Be inspired and touched by the stories they have to share!

(I stole that line from the website. Sorry, I just thought it was quite apt.)

Then choose your favourite and vote for him or her. If the champion you voted for is among the top three in his or her specific category after the voting period, you will stand a chance to win $1000! Simple as that! A total of $30,000 will be given away.

The closing date is March 15, 2009.

The POSB Everyday Champions Award is organised by the Singapore Sports Council, with POSB as the title sponsor.

Do drop by to vote and let me know if you win some cash. I want a treat! =P

The Goonfather, my hero!


I am going to nominate the Goonfather for an award.

It’s the POSB Everyday Champions Award 2009, organised by POSB in conjunction with Singapore Sports Council, to reward individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to promote participation in sports.

Some time back, the Goonfather enthusiastically encouraged me to pick up combat sports by way of occasionally punching me in the middle of night while we sleep, prompting me to seek immediate training in self-defence.

When I confronted him about the unwarranted assaults, he claimed innocence, citing that he was whacking stormtroopers in his dream (sometimes, it was the bog monster or the marshmallow man) and it was just unfortunate that I happened to be in the line of fire.

Well done.

I am now trained in Ninja-do, wushu and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (although Justyn, my Bujinkan instructor, will claim that I’m a useless student who dropped out after two classes).

((In my own defence, he’s a slave driver.))

So, these days, I am totally and competitively fit, thanks to the Goonfather. I punch him back in the middle of the night when he snores.

Okay, seriously.

The above story is only about 75% true.

But the POSB Everyday Champioins Award 2009 is 100% true.

POSB and Singapore Sports Council are now seeking nominations for the award.

If you know people who have unwaveringly encouraged and supported you in your pursuit of sports and a healthy lifestyle, who have gone far beyond the call of duty and sacrificed time and energy towards this endeavour…

…please secretly e-mail their contact details to me so that I can nominate them and win the nominator’s prize.

No lah. I’m not that free. Haha.

Please nominate those people yourself.

You can nominate any individual (your friend, teacher, grandmother, two-year-old niece, really, whomever!!) as long as they are true sporting heroes who have supported you to such an extent that you want to name your first-born after them (if you haven’t already).

You can also nominate coaches and organisations.

There are three separate award categories, so go ahead and find someone to nominate for each of the categories! Winners of the award will receive cash prizes, trophies and certificates!

Nominators whose nominees win will also win cash.

You have until Nov 16, 2008 to nominate!!

Go to the POSB Everyday Champions Award 2009 website now to download a nomination form or three!

And remember to eat your greens and exercise daily if you want to beat the Goonfather in a wrestling match.

Okay that was totally random.

Thank you for reading!