Mr Jai S Sohan
Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany

Fellow Singaporeans and friends

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good evening

When we were first planning for this reception many months back, I was told that about 120 Singaporeans might turn up.  I am very happy to see that you have exceeded our expectations. The number of Singaporeans here today is more than double that number. Many of you even took the trouble to travel from cities outside of Frankfurt. It shows that you, fellow Singaporeans, are still rooted to our home country even when you are away from home. This is very encouraging.

Germany is one of Singapore’s most important economic partners. About 1,500 German companies have set up operations in Singapore and many of them are in important sectors including chemical and logistics. The strength of our cooperation also spans other areas –education, research, finance and even now defence. The positive trajectory of our relations will continue. As the 10 Southeast Asian countries intensify our integration process, including the formation an ASEAN Economic Community last year, Singapore is positioning itself to be the gateway for German companies wishing to set up operations in Southeast Asia. Europe is also looking at Southeast Asia closely as another growth area for them to tap.

As Overseas Singaporeans, you play an important role.

First, you are our ambassadors to strengthen the already excellent ties between Germany and Singapore. You serve as the bridge between the peoples of the two countries. You enhance and promote mutual understanding and friendship between Singapore and Germany.

Second, you are an integral part of Singapore. I am pleased to hear that many of you have organised community activities together to keep in touch with one another and to remain connected to Singapore. Better still, you do that out of your own initiative. I hear from Ambassador that there are strong and active communities in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and the Cologne region. The Singapore Students’ Association of Germany is another example of active organisations. Despite the heavy workload, the Singapore Students’ Association of Germany still helps to reach out and build rapport amongst overseas Singaporean students in Germany. To all of you who have been organising and initiating these activities, keep up the good work.

Singapore’s fundamentals are strong. We have a well-educated and hardworking workforce, a business-friendly environment, and sound fiscal and economic policies. We continue to invest heavily in science, research and innovation. I am therefore confident that Singapore is well-positioned to cope with the global challenges.

Let me conclude by wishing the Overseas Singapore community in Germany continued success in all your endeavours here. I look forward to interacting with you, hearing your aspirations and hopes for Singapore at the reception later.