by Tan Thiam Peng for Team Singapore website
What better way to celebrate an occasion than with a cake.
Singaporeans in London gathered today to celebrate the country’s commendable display at the London 2012, and at the same time throwing an early birthday bash for the nation’s 47th.
At the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, supporters, officials and yet-to-depart athletes enjoyed an informal and uniquely Singaporean evening, capped by a special cake exclusively made for the event by Jane Cheong, a patissier based in London.
“Cakes always represent celebration. Our Team Singapore athletes have done so well, we need to celebrate that. That’s why we must have a cake in any celebration,” she said.
“It’s my honour to be able to bake for our nation’s heroes.”
Taking up to 10 hours to prepare, the cake is the Singapore-United Kingdom Association’s tribute to the Singapore contingent and fans, the latter numbering close to 200 over the course of this Olympic Games.
Around 150 of them are UK-based students, one of whom is Jerrold Thong, who even took time out to coordinate the efforts.
“We’re the voices at the matches!"
“I’m really proud to be part of this experience. And they’ve won a medal already!”
A high point of the evening was a short video put together by Cambridge University students Aylwin Low and Lee Si Min, chronicling Team Singapore’s Olympic journey.
Lee said, “It’s good fun to recap the experience.”
“It’s a very simple gesture. We just hope it’s well received,” added Low.
The event was graced by Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth & Sports Chan Chun Sing and joined by High Commissioner to the UK, T Jasudasen, International Olympic Committee Vice-President Ng Ser Miang, Chef de Mission Jessie Phua and Singapore Sports Council CEO Lim Teck Yin.
Athletes who could attend were men’s table tennis trio of Gao Ning, Yang Zi and Zhan Jian, gymnast Lim Heem Wei, badminton player Yao Lei and track stars Gary Yeo and Dipna Lim-Prasad.
Minister Chan said, “We have reasons to be very proud and happy of the performances put up."
“Quite a few have done very well. It’s not just about medals, but achieving personal or season bests, or a breakthrough in your performance.”
Acting Minister also took the chance to thank all his countrymen in London who worked behind the scenes to support Team Singapore, although he did not want to discuss the women’s team table tennis bronze-medal playoff much for fear of adding unnecessary pressure.
“I’ve spoken to the team and I think they’re quietly confident. We’ll be all behind them.”
Phua, however, rallied that we would “bring home another medal tomorrow”.
She further said, “Watch out. The next Olympics we’ll win more!"
The stars of the evening though were the athletes, who can finally rest now after some intense competition. Gymnast Lim paid tribute to her coaches, family, friends and medical personnel, while Yeo gushed about meeting superstars like Usain Bolt and Ryan Giggs in the Olympic Village.
Already looking ahead was Zhan. He said, “We made a breakthrough. It’s the first time the men’s team has reached the quarter-finals. Hopefully soon we can achieve a miracle similar to Feng Tianwei.”