Getting social in the US: Ministers share Washington experiences on Facebook

A photo of the Singapore delegation before the White House state dinner.
A photo of the Singapore delegation before the White House state dinner. PHOTO: CHAN CHUN SING/FACEBOOK
The Singapore delegates at the White House arrival ceremony.
The Singapore delegates at the White House arrival ceremony. PHOTO: CHAN CHUN SING/FACEBOOK

Members of the Singapore delegation who made the trip to the United States have posted glowing reviews of their experiences on social media.

Accompanying Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on his official visit are a quartet of Cabinet Ministers: Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing and Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung - and two Members of Parliament.

All four have expressed their pride at seeing Singapore's flag flying high across Washington.

"Our little red dot is being accorded the highest honours by one of the most powerful nations in the world," Mr Iswaran wrote in a Facebook post on Aug 1.

"This respect and recognition that Singapore receives from the world is due in no small measure to our pioneer leaders like Mr Lee Kuan Yew."

Mr Ong gave a sneak peek of the delegation's residence at Blair House - known as the President's Guest House - upon their arrival last Sunday afternoon (Monday morning Singapore time).

He posted photos of the interior of the sprawling 60,600 sq ft complex, which has over 120 rooms, including 14 guestrooms.

A poignant visit to the Arlington National Cemetery, where PM Lee laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, prompted Mr Balakrishnan to describe Arlington as a "moving symbol of national sacrifice".

He wrote on Facebook: "Their past sacrifices in South-east Asia kept communism in check. This gave us time and security to make enormous progress on the basis of a free market economy and free trade over the past five decades."

Meanwhile, PM Lee summed up his activities for the first two days with a quick 54-second video, which contained highlights of his visit to the cemetery and a visit to the Pentagon, where he was received with an enhanced honour cordon - reserved for the US' closest partners - before meeting with several US administration officials.

Tuesday began on a high note for the delegation with a grand welcome at the White House before they were accorded one of the highest honours from the Obama administration - a White House state dinner - on Tuesday evening.

Mr Chan hailed the strong US-Singapore ties that made the dinner possible, adding: "This special relationship is built upon not just common strategic interests but also shared values and ideals."

"It is sustained by constant efforts from both sides - people and institutions - to want to build a shared and better future together. It is also a work in constant progress."

The delegation is due to depart the US on Thursday.