So yesterday we had the fails – today, let’s see the wins! There are plenty of awesome expats doing great things in Singapore. Here are five of our faves:
1. Emmanuel Stroobant
Celebrity chef, doting father and husband, yogi, the Belgian chef and restaurateur has lived in Singapore for over ten years. Apart from giving us delicious food in his eight restaurants including Brussels Sprouts and the family-friendly Picotin, Stroobant opened Up Dog, a hot yoga studio in East Coast. The successful entrepreneur has hosted three TV series – Chef In Black I, II and 36 Ways to Live – and is known in the industry as the “nice guy” chef. We think he’s just delicious.
2. Aidan Bamrah
Born in the UK, but raised in Paris, Aidan moved here 14 years ago and is a percussionist and entrepreneur. After gaining attention as manager and co-founder of Wicked Aura Batucada, he helped bring the Afro-Brazilian drum band to its peak, touring the world and releasing its debut album. Since leaving Wicked Aura in 2009, he formed the Bamrah Bros – a percussion, guitar, didgeridoo and DJ duo – with his younger brother Stew and set up Sideshow. Best known for their flagship event Sundays at The Training Shed, the company, run by Aidan and partner DJ Shellsuit (aka Tom Kelly) now holds five parties every month at various venues in Singapore and Malaysia. They have an ardent following among hip young locals and expats. Best of all? Despite success and model-good-looks, he’s known to be humble and hardworking.
3. Terry O’Connor
The face and outspoken CEO of Courts Asia set foot on our shores in 1993 with his wife and son. A self-made-man, O’Connor, dropped out of school at 17 to support his mother and brother, and was just 25 when he started at the furniture and electronics retailer. Fast-forward 20 years and the Englishman has brought Courts from strength to strength, leading its expansion into Malaysia and Indonesia. As one of the most recogniseable corporate honchos in here, the company has earned a 5.1% profit under his charge in the last financial year. The father of two and past president of the British Club has now added author and philanthropist to his list of credentials – he published his memoirs in July and is donating all proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
4. The Flying Dutchman (Mark Van Cuylenburg)
OK, so he’s technically not an expat. But the Singapore-born radio DJ and Saint Joseph’s Institution alumnus is such a well-loved ang moh we thought we’d slip him in! We’ve listened to him on morning radio (at Class 95, and now in a recent big move, to Gold FM) for as long as we can remember and laughed at his jokes (sometimes corny, often clever, always irreverent) in all that time. Over his 32-year career he’s only gotten more and more charming. FD, we’re big fans.
5. Aleksander Duric
The Bosnian-born Tampines Rovers striker scored six goals last month (in just three games) and was named best player in the S.League August 2013 by goal.com. The soccer website also called him “one of the fittest players in the league.” But what really endeared us to this footballer, father and husband who moved here from Australia in 1999? His love for our city. “All my true friends are here. I feel that I am a part of Singapore and this is my home,” he told The New Paper in a 2008 interview. As his son and daughter were born here his wife Natasha told TNP: “They feel more Singaporean than Australian,” she said. “Whenever they go to Australia they ask ‘Mum where is my chicken rice?” An expat family that loves our food – we accept you as one of our own!
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