A celebration for the Czech national day took place in Singapore on Wednesday, with Czech Ambassador Michaela Fronkova underscoring the robust relations between the two nations.
The event, which took place at the Conrad Centennial hotel, shone a spotlight on the enduring bilateral relations between former Czechoslovakia and the Lion City, marking the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
The event came a few days early, with the actual Czech national day being celebrated on October 28.
50 years of diplomatic ties
The occasion, graced by Her Excellency Michaela Fronkova and Singaporean Acting Minister of Transport Chew Hong Tat, offered a glimpse into the rich history of the Czech Republic’s and its ongoing collaborations with Singapore.
Amidst speeches, music, and culinary delights, the evening provided a poignant reminder of the warmth and solidarity that transcends borders in our complex world.
Sharing stories of solidarity
In Fronkova’s address to the esteemed guests, she mentioned recent visits to Singapore by high-ranking officials from the Czech Republic. These visits were driven by the pursuit of greater investment and trade opportunities between the two nations.
Notable entities such as the investment funds company Arete have established offices in the city-state, and renowned brands like Skoda automobiles also have a presence there. A free trade agreement between the European Union and Singapore has facilitated all business and commercial transactions between Czechs and Singaporeans.
Ambassador Fronkova emphasized, in a world fraught with conflict, the importance of sharing a story of kindness and human solidarity. She recounted the story of a local girl named Natasha, introduced to the embassy by Rainbow Centre, a Singaporean social service agency empowering people with disabilities. Natasha has been taken under the wing of the Czech mission as an intern.
Ambassador Fronkova’s heartfelt speech radiated compassion, reminding us of the value of empathy in today’s world.
Cybersecurity point of interest
Acting Minister of Transport Chew Hong Tat conveyed Singapore’s best wishes to both the Czech government and its people. He noted an increase in trade figures following the recent pandemic and acknowledged hosting one of the few business delegations from the Czech Republic that recently visited the country.
Chew emphasized that one of the areas of significant interaction is cybersecurity, highlighting the growing importance of connectivity and digital sciences.
People-to-people relations also play a crucial role in the exchanges between the European and Southeast Asian countries, with cultural exchange events and programs now being a vital part of this dynamic. Music, especially, has emerged as a powerful tool in strengthening these relationships.
The speeches were followed by a captivating concert performed by the T’Ang Quartet, a Singaporean string ensemble. They delighted and entertained the audience with compositions by the Czech musician Antonin Dvorak and a couple of folk themes, including “Rasa Sayang” and the Indonesian-origin “Bengawan Solo.”
Throughout the event, guests savored Czech beer and dishes, culminating in an evening marked by delicious food, outstanding music, and, above all, the warmth of the Czech people.