My first PPSEAWA conference was very much a delightful and wonderful surprise. However, I must admit that I had to be coerced into attending by my sister, Roseann Levy. We had been slated to attend last year’s conference but as you know, that had been called off due to the SARS epidemic.
From the time we reached the YWCA Hotel in Singapore, everyday was filled with exciting meetings, get-togethers and interesting beautiful and informative women. These women, from all different backgrounds had a lot to say. They were vibrant, multi-talented, bright and accomplished. Many of their native costumes were both beautiful and colorful. I got to discuss important women’s issues with ladies from such far away places as Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and even the good old USA. Learning about their lives, customs, homelands and how they function from day to day was fascinating and enlightening.
I thoroughly enjoyed PPSEAWA’s 75th birthday party, our dinner cruise with fellow members around Singapore harbor, shopping, the exchange of souvenir trinkets, the refreshing “Singapore Sling” at Raffles Hotel where it originated. The Culture Night entertainments and costumes were great fun. However, one of the highlights of the conference was a small tour around town with the wife of the Indonesian Ambassador, including a stop at the newly refurbished Fullerton Hotel. This was followed by a visit to their residence at the Embassy, along with an introduction to the Ambassador. There we had the opportunity to see and try out different instruments from Indonesia. To top it off, we were graciously treated to a sumptuous “high tea” filled with exotic foods and a nighttime visit to the zoo.
However, what I missed most upon my return to the states was the daily meetings and discussions with those terrific women from the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asian countries as well as some new found friends from the USA. I was on a wonderful high throughout the conference and I am now eagerly looking forward to the next conference in New Zealand, three years from now.
All that I have left now are very fond memories and some photographs. Hopefully, I have developed some lasting friendships. Thanks, Roseann.