A purple shirt, healthy food and gentle reminders: 6 things on the National Day Rally sidelines

Clockwise from top left: PM Lee Hsien Loong in a purple shirt for NDR 2017, the Fitbit fitness tracker that guests received, Madam Halimah Yacob's wefie with her union friends, and food that were served to guests at the rally. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB/PMO, FACEBOOK/HALIMAH YACOB, ST PHOTOS

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday (Aug 20) night delivered the National Day Rally in three languages - Malay, Mandarin and English.

In his speech, he outlined three major initiatives: building up pre-schools, fighting diabetes and making Singapore a Smart Nation.

Apart from the main speeches, there was plenty going on at the rally.

Here is a look at what went on in the sidelines.

1. PM Lee's healthy dinner

After appealing to Singaporeans to eat healthy and fight diabetes, PM Lee walked the talk with a healthy dinner.

Before he delivered his English speech at 8.15pm, he posted a photo of his meal - olive rice, with seafood hor fun and chye sim - on social media.

A glass of pale yellow liquid accompanied his meal, and while he did not specify what it was, PM Lee later advocated drinking teh o kosong - tea without milk and sugar - in his speech.

2. Halimah Yacob's wefie

Presidential hopeful Halimah Yacob posted a wefie of herself with her union friends on Facebook.

She posted the photo before the rally started - most of her former colleagues did not take to the social media platform while at the rally at all.

"At the 2017 National Day Rally at ITE Ang Mo Kio with my union friends," she wrote.

3. PM Lee wears purple for NDR, breaking away from pinks and blues

(From left) PM Lee wore a red shirt for NDR in 2012, a teal one in 2014, and a striking red shirt in 2015. PHOTOS: ST FILE, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

The 65-year-old delivered his speeches in a purple shirt, embellished with red. It was the first time he put on the royal colour for a NDR speech in recent years.

He favours blues and variants from the red spectrum for rally speeches.

In 2012, PM Lee wore a red shirt. The following year, he donned one in pink, a hue he frequently wears.

In 2014, he wore a teal shirt from local shirtmaker CYC. For Singapore's 50th landmark year in 2015, PM Lee wore a striking red shirt.

He returned to the blue palette last year.

4. Guests served healthy food

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Guests at the NDR, held at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) at Ang Mo Kio, were treated to a mouthwatering spread of food.

But, as healthy eating was one of the major themes of the day, there were plenty of healthier options.

Instead of white rice, which PM Lee pooh-poohed in his speeches for its high glycaemic index, there was an option of mixed rice.

There was also chicken tikka wrapped in whole wheat chapati and plenty of vegetables including a Kachumber salad - an Indian salad with chopped vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.

Even the tang hoon, or glass noodles, came with black fungus.

5. Netizens remind PM Lee to take breaks and rest well after last year's scare

Last year, PM Lee took ill in the middle of his English speech, worrying many viewers.

He returned after a short break and the Prime Minister's Office later said he had felt unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration.

This year, several netizens took to his Facebook page to remind him to rest and take breaks for the speeches.

Anna Wang wrote: "The NDR speech is rather long and multilingual, please rest well before the day as it is quite a marathon speech, PM Lee!"

Susan Tan asked PM Lee to "take good care of your health", while Novita Adisutanto SE wrote: "Please drink more warm water and have sufficient breaks, PM Lee, take care."

6. A headstart to staying fit with a free fitness tracker

The fitness tracker that was given out by the Health Promotion Board at the National Day Rally. ST PHOTO: CHARMAINE JACOB

Guests at the rally got a treat - a free fitness tracker each, courtesy of the Health Promotion Board.

After the rally, people queued up to get their free gadgets.

The fitness tracker, Omniband by Oaxis, sets users a goal of taking 10,000 steps a day. That's in line with PM Lee's cited recommendation at the rally.

Walking for 10 minutes is the equivalent of 1,000 steps, while an hour of playing badminton or soccer is equivalent to about 10,350 steps.

Taking 7,500 to 10,000 steps daily can help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, according to HPB. It can also lead to improved glucose control and reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated that Fitbit fitness trackers were given out. The fitness trackers are Omniband, by Oaxis. We are sorry for the error.

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