SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is recovering from an operation where his prostate gland was removed, missed his traditional visit to Singaporeans working on the first day of Chinese New Year on Thursday.
But he "dropped in" online, sharing his Chinese New Year greetings on Facebook instead.
"I'm sorry that I'm not able to be up and about this new year. And that's why I'm recording this now, before my operation," he said, speaking in Mandarin and in English in a one-minute video.
Mr Lee was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month and underwent successful surgery in the Singapore General Hospital on Monday. He was discharged on Wednesday, the eve of Chinese New Year, and is still on medical leave.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean is standing in for him during this period.
In his video, Mr Lee said that 2015 - when the country celebrates its 50th year of independence - will be a special one for Singapore.
"The Year of the Horse has been good. Let's work together in the Year of the Goat, so that there'll be a wonderful SG50," he said.
Mr Lee has traditionally joined union leaders on the morning of the first day of the Chinese New Year to visit employees who work in essential and other services to thank them. Deputy Prime Minister Teo did so on Thursday with a visit to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.