Celebrating the Singapore National Day in Rome

It was probably my first time spending National Day out of Singapore.

Rinaz camwhoring with a handmade Singapore flag

What I thought was going to be a solo camwhoring session with a homemade flag at Gianicolo, turned out to be a mini Singaporeans meet in Rome!

A few days ago, I received an email from a Singaporean lady. She said that she was going to spend some time in Rome with her girlfriend and she invited for us to meet. It was a very curious email. I hesitated for a while but in the end, what harm would it do?

I invited Lynn, the other Singaporean besides me to join us and we decided to take them around the interesting sights of Trastevere and settled for a pizza dinner at a place called Pizzeria Ai Marmi in Trastevere.

Although initially we were apprehensive, when we finally chatted with Rahimah and Eng Nai, any feelings of unease dissolved immediately. They were both so jovial and funny! They loved to joke around and we both relaxed immediately.

Lynn and Eng Nai - Singaporeans meet in Rome, 9 August 2009

This is Eng Nai and Lynn. I quite like how Lynn looks like in this picture.

Rinaz and Rahimah - Singaporeans meet in Rome, 9 August 2009

And this is me and Rahimah. The both of us even wear glasses! For some reason, she reminds me of my aunt, Mak Busu.

Don’t you think that its very coincidental that Rahimah and Eng Nai were Malay and Chinese? Suddenly they claim that Lynn and I were going to be their foster daughters. Personally for me, Rahimah looks too young for that role though

We found out that both Rahimah and Eng Nai have been living in Hamburg, Germany for many years. They were both married to Germans and have migrated there since then.

We chatted over a lot of different things – like how it was trying to integrate into the different culture, growing curry plants and lemongrass during the winter. Rahimah tells me that, unlike in Rome, there was a large network of Singaporeans in Hamburg and they would meet regularly for mahjong!

Pizzeria Ai Marmi
We also talked about smocked provola – knitted cheese

Rahimah also told me of this amusing story of how her German husband used to be so shy when he first donned the sarong, but is now so comfortable wearing it that he wears it practically all the time.

How to wear a Sarong
Picture credit to Wottoncool

That is so cool!

It was fascinating to listen to their point of views about having a large support of friends. But it wasn’t like that when they were first in Germany some 15 – 30 years ago. Social networking is so much easier with the internet. Speaking to them though, makes me feel more motivated to try to explore more places. If two aunties could do it, so can I!

We had such a lovely time that the next day on National day itself, we decided to meet again. This time around, we met and showed them around beautiful Gianicolo – you could see heaps of monuments from up here.

Singaporeans meet in Rome, 9 August 2009
Singaporean meet in Rome with my *ahem* homemade Singapore flag

We then headed to the city centre. There were plentiful of interesting sights to see along the way. Like buskers.

Buskers in Trastevere

Since it was summer, there were a number of buskers around. And remind me to make an image stabilizer because night shots are pretty bad for me … I wish I had more stable hands

Trinità dei Monti

I’ve always been curious to know what was on top of the Spanish Steps. And I finally knew. It was the Trinità dei Monti. It was interesting to me as it had a sundial on the right hand side to tell the time. But since it was night time, a regular clock will have to do for now

For some reason, this reminds me of the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink. People just glided by

Eventually we reached a little restaurant near Piazza Navona where we had a good conversation over dinner.

Gnocchi! One of my favourite things to eat!

Creme Caramel
Creme Caramel! I loves!

Suddenly I heard Francesco trying to teach Eng Nai on how to make pasta.

Turns out that Eng Nai was a cooking teacher. And she knows her stuff! And being Chinese gives her precedence since noodles are created in China. I was extremely amused by the entire conversation.

But one characteristics of Italians that I admire is how passionate they are and gracious they are at sharing their knowledge.

Unfortunately, the evening ended too soon and we had to say our good nights.

Regardless, I really enjoyed the company. I am really glad that we said yes to the meet! Thank you for the every lovely company ladies. I really enjoyed our time together and I hope that we will meet again, be it in Rome or in Hamburg

14 Replies to “Celebrating the Singapore National Day in Rome”

  1. Daphne

    I hope to have it more inclusive with the rest of the Singaporeans in Italy. Hopefully Lynn’s and my plans to have a Singapore day in Italy will materialize 🙂


    Yeah, she’s pretty isn’t she? And she’s very very married 😛

  2. Well, I had a feeling she’s married, sinc she’s an expat like you 😉 Don’t worry, I won’t hit on her. Just complimenting a beautiful woman. I like how she and Eng Nai showed how Chinese noodles are made, haha. Was funny 🙂

  3. It looks like you had a really good time. I can agree that the internet makes social networking and finding other people with similar interests, or in your case from the same place, much easier!

    I lived in Germany as a kid for a while, near Frankfurt on an Air Force Base. It was quite an interesting experience and I loved when we would go out to the German towns and cities to explore. I especially liked the castle ruins there.

    And, it’s funny you should mention the sarong. My wife was just talking about that the other day. She said her eldest brother wears one frequently, and maybe I would too. Who knows?

    By the way… this is off topic but, does your blog do e-mail notifications on follow up comments? Time to scan back through posts, but I just realized I never recall seeing them in my inbox.

  4. MKL

    That was just a trifle of the amusing things that was said that evening! 🙂




    So, will you be wearing a sarong too? Rahimah adviced newbies to have them sewed in with an elastic to make wearing it a little easier.

    Its really cooling, my parents wears it all the time in the warm Singapore weather – I should do that too in this maddening summer heat.

    My blog will send me an email when there is a new comment most of the times. An inkling, for some reason, the blog thinks that its a spam and sometimes I’d have to manually wade through -_-

    It should be the same for blogger

  5. HI!
    The flag did not really look homemade, it look bought. Good job :D.
    By the way, i’ve tried the creme caramel too. They gave it to us as part of our dessert in my school trip to India. It was too eggy. I hope the Italian version is better. Which reminds me, your blog entries just make me long to go to Rome! Ugh, its so off not being able to run away to another country. 🙁

  6. Was amazed that there r so many Sg’reans in Germany – mainly in Hamburg, was it ?

    Would like to know which european city has the most concentration of our fellow-citizens ? Pity that forums r so fragmented. It would serve a better purpose if we all could chat or communicate via one official channel, dont u think ?

  7. Maalikka

    When did you go to India? I remember Mr Krish and Mr Rajah talking about it last year. I guess you guys went this year then 🙂

    Maybe you could tell your HOD’s to come to Rome then, heheheheh


    I’m not sure about the best way of going about finding the concentration of Singaporeans overseas. Perhaps going to the embassy? I’ll try to write an email to them.

  8. I’ll probably wear a sarong in the Philippines when I’m around the house or just in the neighborhood. I probably wouldn’t wear one if I were going out though. Kinda wish I could wear one in Singapore, but that would draw too much attention I imagine. I already get looks, being white and being all the way out in Pasir Ris. All I need is for people to start talking about an “ang moh guy that wears a dress” walking around Singapore. That’d be the super fail!

    As for comment notification, I had to enter my e-mail address in the control panel to be notified of new comments. Seems like that should be something that happens automatically, or has a check box for on and off. What I meant though is that when I comment on your blog, I don’t get notified when there are replies under mine, so I don’t see that you’ve posted a reply and I have to manually come back to check, if I remember. Makes for a lot of checking back, on a lot of sites. Not that I don’t like coming to your site of course!

  9. Shabel

    Haha, really? I think thats the Malay trait I guess? 🙂


    Maybe you’re being a bit too concerned about what people think? Rahimah’s hubby was concerned about how he looked like but now he goes all around wearing it cos it was so comfy for him … hahaha

    Dont care too much about what people think lah. Alot of Singaporeans are like that but what can they do? Anyway, most mean well, its just something different so we talk and look curiously. After a while it’ll die down 🙂

    Oh I see about the comment notification. No, I dont have that service. I didnt activate it. WordPress has a few plugins. But I havent really gone about to search for it.

  10. Comment notifications are nice because it lets you keep up with the conversation so you can reply again when you see something interesting.

    Perhaps I am too worried about what people think. Still, though, it’s a leap, regardless of where I am, to put on and wear around something that would be considered a dress in my home country.

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