President Halimah calls on Singaporeans to share photos of their Istana visits

President Halimah Yacob at a Mid-Autumn Festival picnic held at the Istana on Sept 24, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - In celebration of the Istana's 150th anniversary next year, President Halimah Yacob is calling on Singaporeans to submit old photos of their visits to the grounds.

She hopes Singaporeans today can enjoy the many events that took place over the years on the lush grounds, which has been open to visitors a few days a year since 1960.

Admission to the Istana grounds is free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

Madam Halimah said: "The Istana is an iconic national monument. It is very much in many people's hearts in Singapore because this is a place where many important events take place.

"As we celebrate next year, what is important are the memories. I would like to encourage Singaporeans to share old photographs of the Istana and their experience here."

More details will be shared on the President's Facebook page at a later date.

Madam Halimah was speaking to the media during a Mid-Autumn Festival picnic held at the Istana on Monday evening (Sept 24), which 100 President's Challenge beneficiaries attended.

The beneficiaries were from Focus on the Family, Care Community Services Society, Daughters of Tomorrow and Filos Community Services.

The picnic was the fourth in the Picnic@Istana series this year.

Since taking her oath of office a year ago on Sept 14, Madam Halimah has invited various groups to the Istana under the Picnic@Istana, Tours@Istana and Volunteer Gardeners@Istana programmes.

One of her priorities is to make the Istana more accessible to ordinary Singaporeans, beyond the five traditional open houses during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Labour Day and National Day.

Madam Halimah said she was happy to see the President's Challenge beneficiaries with their caregivers and volunteers.

"As I've said before, I'd like to make the Istana more accessible, and what better way to do that than by celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival together with the beneficiaries of the President's Challenge?

"It's also multi-racial and that's something very unique," she added.

Seven-year-old Cahaya Anggun was excited to meet Madam Halimah. A beneficiary of Care Community Services Society, which provides school-based student care, Cahaya has only ever seen Madam Halimah's portraits in Jiemin Primary School, where the girl is a pupil.

Ms Delia Ng, who is with Focus on the Family, said the beneficiaries will not forget the picnic and meeting Madam Halimah.

"When we talk to young people and ask them to recollect family memories, it's critical moments from events like this that are deposited into their memory bank and stick with them for a long time."

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