Eurasian Association gets first female president in retired bank Sandra Theseira


SINGAPORE – Ms. Sandra Theseira has just been elected as the new President of the Eurasian Association (EA) and she is already planning to form the next group of community leaders.

The 72-year-old, the first woman to lead EA in 103 years, also aims to involve young Eurasians more in the association.

She said: “EA needs to stay vibrant and relevant and attract more people to get involved, especially young people, and we want them to feel like they belong.”

Speaking to the Straits Times in an interview at the Eurasian Community House on Ceylon Road in Joo Chiat, she said she would also focus on helping the disadvantaged.

Ms. Theseira, a retired banking executive whose career spanned 47 years, will serve as president for a two-year term by April 2024, after being elected at the association’s annual general meeting. April 23.

She ran unopposed and replaced Dr Alexius Pereira, 55, who served two terms as president from 2018 to this year.

The EA has 6,700 members as of last month, and Singapore’s 2020 population census revealed that around 18,000 Eurasians live here.

Eurasians are people of mixed European and Asian descent. Most Eurasians in Singapore can trace the European part of their ancestry to Portuguese, Dutch or British. The Asian component is usually Chinese, Malay or Indian.

Eurasians in the public eye over the years include Dr Benjamin Sheares, Singapore’s second president, former justice minister EW Barker and actress Eunice Olsen.

Ms. Theseira began volunteering at EA in 2009 and for the past two years has served as the Association’s Honorary Treasurer.

She said that while she was deeply humbled and honored to have been elected EA’s first female president, gender was never a deal breaker for her.

She said, “The way I see it, we’re just human beings, and if we’re given a role, we should just take it.”

Singapore’s decision to ease its Covid-19 restrictions on social gatherings is welcome news and will give EA a chance to engage young people and young families to help them feel a sense of community. Eurasian, she said.

The grandmother-of-two added: ‘We can resume organizing physical activities for the community – we are all starving for interaction.

To facilitate this, Ms. Theseira’s committee intends to organize a family tree exhibition in September, a project where Eurasian families can trace and display their roots.

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