US' Jonathan Kaplan submits credentials to President Halimah, after nearly 5 years of no ambassador to S'pore

Kaplan described Singapore as a "critically important partner in the region."

Faris Alfiq | December 07, 2021, 05:24 PM

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The United States finally has an ambassador to Singapore after their last ambassador, Kirk Wagar, left in Jan. 2017.

On Dec. 6, Jonathan Eric Kaplan presented his credentials to President Halimah Yacob at the Istana.

The Embassy of the United States in Singapore wrote on their Facebook page that this year, Singapore and the U.S. are celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations.

Kaplan said that he was deeply honoured to serve as President Biden's Ambassador to Singapore, and build on the 55 years of friendship between the two nations.

"Singapore is a critically important partner in the region and I look forward to advancing U.S. interests in Southeast Asia," Kaplan said.

"I am eager to meet with Singaporeans from all walks of life and to discover this beautiful country and region," he added.

The presentation of credentials is a formal ceremony where a newly appointed foreign ambassador presents a letter of credence to the receiving head of state, marking the beginning of the ambassadorship.

Chicken rice or chilli crab?

Kaplan also shared on his Twitter account that he and President Halimah "had a good conversation", including where to get authentic Malay food on Arab Street.

He seemed eager to try some of the popular Singaporean dishes.

When he was on the way to Singapore on Dec. 4, Kaplan asked on his Twitter account which popular Singaporean dishes should he try as his first meal, chilli crab or chicken rice.

On Dec. 7, Kaplan posted a video on his Twitter account of his first day in Singapore.


According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kaplan is a prominent executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

He was the co-founder and Chairperson of EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit organisation that brought high-speed Internet to more than 49 million children in K-12 classrooms across the U.S.

Kaplan is also known for founding Pure Digital Technologies, and inventing its revolutionary Flip video camera.

In 2009, Cisco bought Pure Digital Technologies, and he became Senior Vice-President and General Manager of its Consumer Products Division.

Kaplan was also the founding CEO of The Melt, a chain of fast-casual restaurants.

Previously he was President and CEO of, and he was the founder and CEO of FamilyWonder, an entertainment and technology company.

The Wall Street Journal identified Kaplan as someone who raised at least S$100,000 (S$134,800) for Joe Biden's presidential campaign in 2020, citing records publicly released by the campaign.

First U.S. ambassador after 4 years

Kaplan is the first U.S. ambassador in Singapore after four years.

Donald Trump first nominated KT McFarland, former Deputy National Security Adviser to the post.

But her nomination stalled in the Senate after questions were asked of her role in the investigation over Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump's second nominee, Barbera Hale Thornhill, the head of an interior design firm in Los Angeles, was returned by the Senate for renomination.

When Biden took office, he withdrew her name from consideration.

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Top image via Ministry of Communication and Information