SINGAPORE - Puan Noor Aishah, the wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak "breathed new life" into the Istana by teaching the cooks her favourite recipes like beef rendang, some of which are still being prepared today, said President Halimah Yacob on Saturday (March 24).
She also carried out her official and ceremonial duties with quiet determination, humility and charm, added Madam Halimah after presenting her with the Flame, the trophy of the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame.
Puan Noor Aishah was just 26 when her husband became president in December 1959.
Now 84, she was among 12 women inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday (Mar 24).
They included Ms Claire Chiang, co-founder of the luxury resort company, Banyan Tree Holdings, and late biomedical scientist Miranda Yap, the first woman to win Singapore's highest science and technology honour, the President's Science and Technology Medal.
The Hall of Fame is a platform that recognises outstanding women and their achievements in various fields. The induction ceremony and gala dinner is held in March every year by the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) in conjunction with International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.
Madam Halimah, who is Singapore's first female president and a patron of the SCWO, was herself inducted in 2014. The latest group of 12 women will join the 140 in possession of the Flame.
Said Madam Halimah: "All our inductees are inspiring role models for our young girls and women... I am confident that their stories will encourage our younger generation to achieve their full potential."
"Thank you for demonstrating that it is possible to live a life which is fuelled by passion, perseverance and a spirit of excellence," she added.
Founder of Bengawan Solo, Mrs Anastasia Tjendri-Liew, 71, was among the Hall of Fame inductees. The grandmother of four said she was very honoured to be recognised for her hard work.
She built up the local brand from her home kitchen more than 40 years ago, and now produces the brand's signature cakes and kuehs at two factories in Woodlands.
Bengawan Solo is now a household name in Singapore with more than 40 outlets around the island and worldwide.
"I'm a perfectionist and I'm always on my feet all day," said the managing director of the chain, who still experiments and comes up with new recipes for the brand herself.
"I never get tired, even after a whole day of baking. It still relaxes me to go home and cook for my family."
Mrs Tjendri-Liew said that her award was dedicated to all the women who struggle and sacrifice for their loved ones. "I hope it will encourage and motivate them to achieve what they set their hearts on."