President's Challenge takes an artistic turn

President Halimah Yacob unveiling the President's Challenge memorabilia during the Istana's Open House yesterday, the second day of Chinese New Year. With her is her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee.
President Halimah Yacob unveiling the President's Challenge memorabilia during the Istana's Open House yesterday, the second day of Chinese New Year. With her is her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

President Halimah unveils items made by beneficiaries of 4 groups

Visitors to the Istana will now be able to have a memento of the President's official residence.

Yesterday, President Halimah Yacob launched a new series of memorabilia in conjunction with the Istana's Open House on the second day of Chinese New Year.

The items include keychains, fridge magnets and notebooks, designed by the beneficiaries of four organisations - Personalised Love, Club Heal, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore and Ain Society.

These items will be available to visitors who make a donation to the President's Challenge, an annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign.

The collaboration aims to raise awareness of the causes supported by these groups, as well as give beneficiaries a greater sense of pride and achievement in their artwork. "It gives the beneficiaries a chance to showcase their talents and abilities," said Madam Halimah.

She noted that the names of the artists, who include those with autism, cerebral palsy and cancer, as well as the organisations they are beneficiaries of, are included on the various items. This can "start conversations" and raise awareness on the causes they support, she said.

One of Club Heal's beneficiaries, housewife Rafeah Md Said, 53, who has anxiety and depression, painted a picture of a pair of swans at the Istana's swan pond. The picture is featured on a fridge magnet.

This was Madam Halimah's first Chinese New Year at the Istana since becoming head of state last September. She toured the grounds with her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, to watch the performances for the open house.

These included a lion dance performance by the Shan Long Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe and a Wushu performance by students from Dunman High School.

More than 22,000 people visited the Istana yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 18, 2018, with the headline 'President's Challenge takes an artistic turn'. Print Edition | Subscribe