Colonial-style Britain in alive and well in bustling Singapore

Published:  20 Jun at 6 PM
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A quintessentially British establishment is celebrating the pre-WWII colonial lifestyle in a small corner of one of East Asia’s most Westernised enclaves.

Singapore’s famous Raffles Hotel may be the last reminder in the city state of Britain’s grand colonial past, but the 30-year old British Club does its best to keep alive the traditions of Empire whilst its members live and work in the teeming modern city. Membership of the club in on the increase as more UK expats seek to join in order to network and befriend fellow Britishers.

Recently, most country clubs in popular expat destinations have seen a decline in membership as the overseas arms of foreign corporations cut their expat packages to the bone. Employers no longer feel, or are able to, offer a long line of salary enhancements, with country club memberships some of the first to go.

According to the club’s sports and recreation manager Aaron Reader, most expat clubs are finding it tough to attract new members who have to pay out membership fees from their own pockets, especially as Singapore is a comparatively expensive place to live. Sean Boyle, the club’s GM, noted that the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding had attracted new members through its events celebrating the two traditional ceremonies.

British expats are attracted to jobs in the city state for its colonial roots and the fact that English is one of its official languages. Over half the British Club’s members are actually from the UK, with Singaporeans accounting for 25 per cent and other nationalities for the remaining 21 per cent.
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