Istana opens its gates to the public and organises first SG50 family picnic

Kids play congkak at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Kids play congkak at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Kids touch an SG50 wishing ball at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Kids touch an SG50 wishing ball at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Families at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Families at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
President Tony Tan (centre) sits with two families at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana.  -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
President Tony Tan (centre) sits with two families at the first ever SG50 family picnic at the Istana.  -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Hundreds of families laid out their picnic mats on the sprawling Istana grounds on Saturday, at the first ever SG50 family picnic.

More than 2,000 people attended the event, which was held as part of Singapore's 50th birthday celebrations. It was organised by the President's Office and the Families for Life Council, which promotes resilient families.

"We wanted an event to kick off the SG50 events and we thought that the theme of families would be most appropriate because family is the most important factor in our lives," said President Tony Tan Keng Yam, noting that it was families which gave people purpose and meaning.

"I hope that... we'll continue to care for each other as members of the larger family of Singapore," he added.

He joined families in various activities, such as making terrariums and writing messages on large "wishing balls".

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing and the ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling also attended the event.