SINGAPORE - As the new year beckons, President Halimah Yacob has a sobering message for Singaporeans.
She said on Monday (Dec 31) that "as we enter 2019, the uncertainties and volatility we have to deal with have intensified".
"We have to navigate them carefully for our own survival," she added. But we can only do so if we stay united, cohesive and strong."
In her video posted on Facebook, President Halimah also thanked Singaporeans for their generosity in contributing to the President's Challenge and for their support of worthy causes.
The President's Challenge is expected to raise $13 million in 2018, a record for the annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign, according to a news report in November (2018).
Madam Halimah said Singaporeans, especially the young, continue to generously volunteer their time. She has been "deeply inspired and motivated" by these Singaporeans, whom she has met, she said.
She plans to reach out and engage more Singaporeans this year, she added.
Meanwhile, the President encouraged Singaporeans to join in the commemorative activities which have been planned for the Istana's 150 years. The Istana was opened in October 1869.
One of the anniversary highlights is that people can enter the Istana grounds at night for the first time, during an open house in October.
Other events include a travelling exhibition on the Istana's history and heritage that will be put on show in the heartland and libraries across Singapore.