When a modern island charms an ancient subcontinent: Desis raise toast to Lionville

They were not born in this land, but they call Singapore their home and love it dearly. They have been living in the "bright and beautiful red dot" as Shilpi Sharma, Senior Director, Strategic Alliances & Partner, Marketing at Aspect Software, describes Singapore, for various lengths of time. Some have returned to Singapore after living in other parts of the world. Often seem prouder of Singapore than some Singaporeans. On Singapore's 52nd birthday, Connected to India spoke to some NRIs on what does Singapore mean to them. This is what they had to say. 

Paras Sharma, Senior Vice President & General Manager (SEA) and Head of Digital Media (Asia) MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Paramount Channel & BET at Viacom International Media Networks

Paras Sharma, Senior Vice President & General Manager (SEA) and Head of Digital Media (Asia) Viacom International Media Networks; with his family here. Photo courtesy: Paras Sharma
Paras Sharma, Senior Vice President & General Manager (SEA) and Head of Digital Media (Asia) Viacom International Media Networks; with his wife Shilpi Sharma and son Yashvardhan Sharma Photo courtesy: Paras Sharma

Paras Sharma has been living in Singapore for past 11 years. "Singapore to me means multiple things – a nation driven by values of meritocracy and innovation, a society built upon tenets of inclusiveness, a culture that is always evolving by seamlessly and harmoniously merging varied beliefs. It is made up of a wide and varied group of people working together to always better the present for future," he said. 

"What I admire most, is its ability to continue to be at the forefront in various fields despite being such a small nation state; be it business, innovation, safety and security."

Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Partner at Happy Marketer

Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Partner at Happy Marketer with his wife Dipti Kamaz and son Ayaan. Photo courtesy: Prantik Mazumdar
Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Partner at Happy Marketer with his wife Dipti Kamaz and son Ayaan. Photo courtesy: Prantik Mazumdar

Alumnus of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Prantik Mazumdar has been living here for 16 years. "Singapore is where I earned my tertiary degree, built my career in and where I started my family – its a core part of my life. It is Singapore's meritocracy that makes it special; its ability to lead and plan for the future and its pragmatism. These are what always attracted me to the city state."

Bhavana Bahl Malhota, reigning Mrs India

Bhavana Bahl Mahlota, winner of Mrs India 2017, with her husband Vineet Malhota. Photo courtesy: Bhavana Bahl Mahlota
Bhavana Bahl Maholtra, winner of Mrs India 2017, with her husband Vineet Malhotra. Photo courtesy: Bhavana Bahl Maholtra

Bhavana Bahl Malhotra, who won the crown to Mrs India earlier this year, moved to Singapore from Melbourne two years ago. Born in India and brought up in Kuwait, she describes Singapore as a home away from home. "I love the Multiculturalism and safety of women in this country. The feeling of walking around without any fear is what I dig the most about Singapore," she said. 

Jagannath Narendran, Senior Vice President, Asia & Middle East at Aspect Software

Jagannath Narendran with his wife Hasika and daughter Aarna. Photo courtesy: Jagannath Narendran
Jagannath Narendran with his wife Hasika and daughter Aarna. Photo courtesy: Jagannath Narendran

"Singapore is home – where else in the world would you find a globally, socially inclusive people and government focused on breaking down walls rather than building ones?" says, Jagannath Narendran. 

He lives in the beautiful neighbourhood of Tanjong Rhu with his wife and daughter. "Singapore has been the boon in our lives," he added. "Here, an entire country demonstrates and imbibes the value system you want for your family and everyone around you." "Majulah Singapore!" he adds with pride. (Malay for "Onward Singapore")

Nawal Roy, CEO of a healthcare tech start-up Holmusk

Nawal Roy, CEO, Holmusk. Photo: Connected to India
Nawal Roy, CEO, Holmusk. Photo: Connected to India

Tech entrepreneur Nawal Roy has been living in Singapore since august 2016. Prior to coming to this sunny island, he was in the States for 16 years. To him, "Singapore means "what is possible" - ultimate "can do" attitude in principle and practice. It represents fully functional global city with continuous aspiration to improve."

His favourite item is the nature reserve at Upper Bukit Timah. 

Tripta Singh, Senior Vice President – International Business, Zee TV APAC

Tripta Singh doing Kathak with her daughter Kyrah. Photo courtesy: Tripta Singh
Tripta Singh doing Kathak with her daughter Kyrah Deo. Photo courtesy: Tripta Singh

Tripta Singh first came to Singapore in 2004. She was here for 3 years before moving to Hong Kong from 2007-2009, after which she moved back to this equatorial country and been here ever since. 

Tripta Singh, Executive Vice President at Zee TV APAC in her Suntec office Photo courtesy: Tripta Singh
Tripta Singh, Executive Vice President at Zee TV APAC in her Suntec office Photo courtesy: Tripta Singh

To her, Singapore can be summed up in one word, "HOME." As she said, "Singapore is home and has been so for many years now. Its diversity, attention to detail, security, vibrancy and comfort of welcoming all are what make Singapore stand out. The added benefit is its proximity to India which is the land I grew up in!"

Singh also said that her favourite thing about this place, is "the freedom and security it gives to women. Women are treated with respect, dignity and are given equal opportunities. Singapore’s ability to embrace everyone and stay ahead of the times."

Punam Sharrma, Director MediaGuru Singapore

Punam Sharrma with her husband Mohit Singh and daughter Jia. Photo courtesy: Punam Sharrma
Punam Sharrma with her husband Mohit Singh and daughter Jia. Photo courtesy: Punam Sharrma

Punam Sharrma, Director of MediaGuru Singapore, had been in and out of Singapore for last 17 years. "I first came here in 2000, went back to India for a year, and then came back again in 2004. Then I moved back to India in 2007 and then came back in 2013, Phew!!!" 

On what Singapore means to her, it's definitely home, she said. "It’s been a place I always come back to so, I think I might have some past life connection to this place." The safety that is enjoyed here is defintely her favourite thing about Singapore. "I have an 8-year-old daughter and I don’t think I would have chosen any other city in the world for her," Sharrma added.

Anuradha Alex reigning Mrs. Earth International Singapore

Anuradha Alex, Mrs Earth International 2017/2018 Singapore. Photo courtesy: Anuradha Alex
Anuradha Alex, Mrs Earth International 2017/2018 Singapore. Photo courtesy: Anuradha Alex

Chennai-born Anuradha Alex, who is the Mrs. Earth International, has been in Singapore with her family for more than 10 years.

"I am a people’s person, I love to explore and learn about different cultures. I feel there is no better place in the world than Singapore to experience this wonderful diverse culture. It is definitely a blessing for us to live here in a safe, clean and healthy environment," she enthused.

"One of the greatest achievements of my life is when I got the proud chance to represent Singapore at Mrs Earth Peagent in Las Vegas and I won the winning title of `Mrs Earth International’ 2017/2018 Singapore. This is my home now and I am proud to do my part to spread the sparkle of Singapore around the Earth." 

Rajul Mehta, entrepreneur, artist, fashion designer and Founder and CEO of Queenmark

Rajul Mehta, CEO of Queenmark, with her family.
Rajul Mehta, CEO of Queenmark, with her family. Photo Courtesy: Rajul Mehta

The artist, successful entrepreneur and businesswoman has been living in Singapore for eight years.

"Singapore represents home and comfort in my mind. I'm someone who travels a lot and when I return back to Singapore the feeling of 'welcome home' comes to my head," she said.

She found it hard to pick just one favourite about Singapore. "I think there are many things that are my favourite here. To start with, meritocracy, racial harmony but if I have to choose one, my favourite thing about Singapore is the way the country is run in terms of safety and the systems in place that allow it to become so convenient. I have full confidence in the Singaporean leadership and systems in the coming future," she said.

Author
Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. 

Sometimes she writes with light. 

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