“What hasn’t changed is the association’s core principles”

Sue Chamberlain from Adelaide moved from Sydney to Singapore in early 2005. She is married to Peter and they’ve lived in the same apartment on the East Coast for the past 18 years.

“We came to Singapore for Peter’s new job. Smart phones weren’t a thing so I remember packing my bag to go out with water, sunnies, an umbrella, a street directory, a bus timetable book and an EZ Link card. As Peter travelled a lot for work and we don’t have children, I joined ANZA to initially meet people and explore the island.

ANZA was a life saver in terms of being a network of activities and a way of meeting people, and it quickly became a family away from home. When an opportunity came up to help the then Membership Secretary in the ANZA office to enter membership renewal info into the pre-web-based database, I offered to lend a hand. Back then it was an annual membership based on the calendar year so 2000+ family memberships were renewed manually at the end of December – a massive task!

A well-deserved cuppa for Sue!

I joined a Casual Coffee session only a few weeks after arriving in Singapore, followed by ANZA Drop-in Mahjong the next day. By natural attrition of people leaving Singapore, I ended up (with the help of several others over the years), coordinating Casual Coffee as well as ANZA Mahjong. I continue to coordinate both groups today and love it!

I have so many happy memories. During the SG50 celebrations in 2015, Peter and I headed one of the 50 BBQ teams around the heartlands, celebrating Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence and a long partnership with Australia over a shared love of food. I’ve worked on various ANZA events including our very special Pink Ribbon events each October to support Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) and our Biggest Morning Tea events supporting Singapore Cancer Society I’m incredibly humbled yet proud to be an ANZA Honorary Life Member, which was bestowed to me in 2009, and I was a recipient of The President’s Award for my volunteer services in 2012.

I’ve forged wonderful friendships, developed skills and grown as a person. And while it is marvellous that ANZA is always evolving, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the association’s core principles of welcoming people to a new home and country, getting them together through sport and social activities, and being a shoulder and support when family and friends are far away.”

“It could have been lonely in a foreign country”

Douglas Bateman from New Zealand has lived in Singapore for 32 years. He is married with four children and lives on the East Coast.

Douglas (second right), made SG home

“The engineering job I had in Auckland posted me to Singapore in 1991 under a three year contract. Before I moved, I met with a workmate who had lived in Singapore in the 1980s and he and his wife had been active in ANZA – they recommended I join, which I did pretty much straight away. Back then, there was a close knit bunch of Kiwi expats here and it was lovely to be amongst familiar people. ANZA was fantastic when we first arrived as it could have been quite lonely in a foreign country, but thanks to the community we had a great time. We all attended the ANZA balls and I had loads of fun getting dressed up in my tux – I will always cherish those early days.

The biggest change to ANZA was when Covid hit in 2020. I joined ANZA Cycling around 2002 and we went from riding as a big group several times to much smaller groups week riding in our own individual areas.

I became a Singapore Citizen in 2010. I am married to a Singaporean and enjoy the lifestyle that the island offers. I will always be grateful to ANZA for the foot up they gave me and I urge anyone planning to come and live here to connect with ANZA. I’m so pleased I did. If it wasn’t for the good times I was having with ANZA in the beginning, I may well have left the country at the end of my initial contract.”

“I was so excited at the Melbourne Cup when I won Most Elegant Hat 2003”

Pele Towers, originally from Samoa, moved to Singapore with her husband Steve in 2002. They live in Orchard.

“My husband Steve was transferred from his office in New York to Singapore in 2002. Life here was less interesting than it is now – there were no casinos, and less restaurants, supermarkets and shops. We moved to Orchard Road but there was no MRT or big shopping malls, it was a much simpler place and pace of life.

It was some friends I met here from New Zealand who encouraged me to join ANZA soon after we arrived. Steve worked overseas a lot so I developed my own social life. I began attending Casual Coffee, Ladies Nights and New Members’ Welcome Evenings, which I still attend today. In those days it was just a case of turning up at the venue! I have formed so many friendships through ANZA, especially Sue Chamberlain who is a great mate! However, it hits very hard when good friends leave Singapore.

My favourite event has always been the ANZA Melbourne Cup. I make a huge effort with my outfit and hat, and I was so excited when I won Most Elegant Hat 2003. Another memorable moment was celebrating Anza’s 70th birthday at the Australian High Commission where I was a bartender!”