Applauding his staff, President Tony Tan Keng Yam last night likened them to master musicians who, when they come together, create a "magical symphony".
"The result is nothing short of being stunning and elegant," he said at a dinner to thank them, their families and others who were instrumental in helping him and his wife Mary put Singapore's best face forward at home and abroad.
He especially appreciated their attention to detail.
Said Dr Tan, whose six-year term ends on Aug 31: "All of you are masters of your own craft. You have an intimate understanding of your responsibilities and have a great sense of pride in the work you do.
"And when we put all of these individual parts together, it is like musical notes coming together to form a magical symphony. The result is nothing short of being stunning and elegant."
Under the chandelier-lit banquet hall of the Istana, faces broke into smiles as he described to the 190 guests how their views kept him up to date on goings-on in Singapore and around the world. In doing so, they helped him carry out more effectively his presidential role, including being a unifying figure for Singaporeans, a custodian of the national reserves, protector of the integrity of the public service and chief diplomat for the country.
Dr Tan said: "Whether it was a proposal on reserves management, a briefing on a ceremonial procedure or a new project to generate greater awareness of the Istana, you have given me many perspectives and food for thought."
He added: "Very often, your views helped me better crystallise my thoughts and refine my ideas."
Among the guests Dr Tan and his wife hosted were former and current staff of the President's Office, Singapore Police Force Security Command, National Parks Board, President's Challenge Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Directorate. He also thanked them for their efforts in the SG50 celebrations in 2015, when many events were hosted at the Istana and several commemorative initiatives were launched.
Dr Tan, who was sworn in on Sept 1, 2011, will end his term next Thursday. Mr J.Y. Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will be Acting President until the new president is sworn in after next month's election.
Dr Tan told his guests: "As my wife and I bid farewell to you next week, we wish you all the best. We will always remember fondly your dedication and sense of pride when you performed your roles."