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Out and About

Banquets and Ice-Skating in Singapore
By Cheryl-Ann Tan
Photos courtesy of Troika Dialogue

Russian Olympic ice-hockey stars
with enthusiastic Singaporeans on the ice rink

The Russia-Singapore Business Forum kicked off with the aptly-named concert SINGAPORE, featuring Russian composer Vladimir Martynovs minimalist, yet innovative and inspiring symphonic-scale work, SINGAPORE. A Geopolitical Utopia. The occasion was graced by the President of the Republic of Singapore and First Lady Mrs S. R. Nathan, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Mrs. Lee and the Russian Minister of Trade and Economic Development, German Gref.

Martynov was commissioned by Singapore Ambassador to Russia, Michael Tay. SINGAPORE can hardly be described in one word. Like the island-state, SINGAPORE comprises a unique blend of worlds: minimalism, Russian Othrodox choral, impressionist and strains of Chinese and Indian music, as well as Malay rhythms. Martynovs wife, celebrated musician Tatiana Grindenko, lead the Opus Posth string ensemble, the Vasiliev Chamber Choir lent its sonorous voice to the chants of Sin-ga-pore, together with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra led by resident conductor Lim Yau, have created a milestone in Singapore musical history. To close the Forum, Singapore was introduced to ice-skating, courtesy of Troika Dialoge, a Russian investment bank. Participants and guests attending the Forum were treated to an ice-skating spectacle featuring Russian Olympic skaters and young Singaporean skating champions. Hosting such an event at the tropical haven on Soliso Beach in the resort island of Sentosa was a feat in itself; more than half a million dollars was invested in building the ice rink, the giant tent to house it and the over 300 VIP guests seated at banquet tables. The performances ranged from the classical to quirky-themed performances that included a kitschy Soviet-styled number and a sword-wielding crew of pirates on ice. One of the more unique highlights featured an ice skating couple comprised of a Singaporean and a Russian, symbolizing the emerging partnership between the two nations.

The event was a perfect way to conclude the high-octane business forum that ended earlier that evening. After the performance, the ice rink was opened and ice-skates provided to ice-skating enthusiasts present at the gala dinner. Russian Singapore business will be the subject of a Special Report in the May issue of Passport Magazine.

Minister Mentor of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, (centre) makes a point to Ruben Vardanian, President and CEO of Troika Dialogue, watched by Ms Euleen Goh (Chairman, International Enterprise Singapore, the co-organiser for the forum), while Herman Gref, Minister of Economics, Russian Federation, (third from left), listens to Mr Lee Yi Shyan (Minister of State for Trade & Industry, Singapore), while, left, Mrs Lee talks to Lee Kuan Yews wife, during the banquet at the close of the Russia-Singapore Business Forum.

Minister Mentor of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, (centre) reaches out to Mrs Yew as Ruben Vardanian looks on, at the end of the banquet in Singapore. The two young ladies to the left are members of Mr Lees family.

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