NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter – Dinner at Yarra Botanica

23 April

In line with the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, NUS Alumni Melbourne Chapter organised a cosy meet-up with Mr Bernard Toh (Architecture ’84), Director of the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) at the Yarra Botanica, which is located in the heart of Southbank. Chapter Chairperson Dr Edna Yeo (Science ’93) introduced Mr Toh, welcoming him to the city after more than two years of restricted international travel.

18 alumni attended the meet-up, each sharing personal stories after what could be considered the hardest lockdown in Melbourne. Mr Toh engaged in interesting and thought-provoking conversations with both new and longstanding members of the Chapter. He highlighted the importance of engagement, recounting his experience in the Singapore Air Force where he first met Mr Richard Seet (Engineering ‘86} and Dr Edna Yeo (Science ‘93). He also emphasised the importance of education and literacy to engage people in active debates. Alumni like Mr Philip Chan (Computing ’94) and Ms Leanne Lim (Arts and Social Sciences ‘13), who are also part of the Singapore Global Network, chimed in with their wishes to see positive changes in future generations. Attendees also shared the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace and its impact on families juggling with working from home, while home schooling their children. Ms Pit Li Chew (Design and Engineering ‘89) highlighted her struggle at being unable to commute back regularly to Singapore for work due to border closures. With travel restrictions eased, many looked forward to visiting their loved ones, especially since they were previously limited to video chat calls only.

As the evening progressed amid the beautiful setting of the Yarra River, the lovely conversations transited into feasting on cheese platters, wood-fired pizzas, buffalo wings and hot chips with beverages from the bar. The long-awaited gathering drew many smiles, cheers and laughter from attendees. On behalf of the Chapter, Dr Yeo presented tokens of appreciation to Mr Toh and OAR for the continual support given in sponsoring this event. Lastly, Dr Yeo distributed thoughtful AlumNUS face masks from OAR to members, before the day concluded.

Here are some comments made about the event by alumni who attended: “Lovely to meet everyone!” – Ms Pit LI Chew (Design and Engineering ’89)

“Such a wonderful night and lovely fellowship” – Ms Violet Fan (Business ’89)

“Thanks Edna! Great to meet Bernard and so many alumni for the first time today!” – Mr Kwong Li-Lin (Arts and Social Sciences ‘96)

“Thanks for having me too! Despite only being on vacation. Hope to see you guys more often once I move back to Melbourne permanently!” – Ms Micki Goh (Nursing ’11)

“Thanks Edna for organizing this lovely informal session. Great to meet Bernard and new friends.” – Mr Philip Chan (Computing ’94)

Submitted by Dr Cecilia Xiao (Science ‘10).

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