Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Meet the President, almost

We went to the Istana Open House on Labor Day. The Istana is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore. Both my husband and myself have never been there after staying in Singapore for nearly 10 years.

Since we have stretched Kah Yen’s morning nap to afternoon, a morning outing is just idea. And finally there is chance to take some outdoor photos (I mean some real photos that are taken by a camera, not an iPhone). Of course we might get to meet the President as well. So why not?

We set off right after breakfast, reached there at 930am, and were presently surprised there is no queue. After less than 5 minutes of security check, we are in.

Kah Yen couldn't wait to come down for a walk

All is well. Except, the President is not in.

I was initially a bit disappointed that we did not get to meet the President, but on a second thought, it might not be a bad thing after all. Imaging if the President meets us, he finds Kah Yen too cute he offers to carry her, and Kah Yen turns away from him – as she does to most strangers, it will be a super embarrassing moment for us, for the President, and for the media too, who will find it hard to add in any suitable commentary. Thank God we do not have to face this difficult situation together. The President is not in.

So we proceeded to the first stop – the Swan Lake. There are 2 beautiful white swans resting gracefully on the water. As I have expected, Kah Yen pointed at them and called “Duck Duck”. It is not her fault; they do look like duck to her anyway. 

We then passed by the Bird display set up by Jurong Bird Park. Kah Yen loves birds a lot, so I am thankful of this display for it saves us a trip to Jurong Bird Park, at least for now. 

We arrived at the Istana Main Building. The lawn is big and there is a fountain in front of the building. This is a photo of the building from the lawn.

Istana Main Building
And little Kah Yen happily ran about, here is her modelling in front of the main building.

We bought 2 tickets at $2 each to go inside the Istana main building and tour around the selected areas. The hall is magnificent and there is a huge display of gifts presented to the President and the Prime Minister from countries all over the world. We also get to see the Dining Area and the Ceremonial Section of the President’s office (from outside the barrier though). Kah Yen was overly excited seeing so many people she refused to be carried. She was having a splendid good time running inside the hall, and I am having a hard time keeping an eye on her. I have to because if she accidentally touches any of the gifts, or climbs up to the President’s sofa, or roams into the President’s Dining area, I will be in serious trouble.

Pictures are not allowed inside the main building of course.

Coming out the main building, we stopped at the Children’s playground. The President is kind enough to set up the Play area just for this visit. How nice of him! All the children and their parents were drawn to this area. Many brought their beach mat and picnic basket, some brought football, some were throwing Frisbee, all are determined to enjoy the President’s house to its fullest.

Here are some photos of Kah Yen at the playground.

Playground at the Istana

We also brought bubbles to blow since Kah Yen likes it, with the intention of taking some nice bubble photos under the sun. Turned out, when I started blowing the bubbles, a lot of kids ran over to catch the bubbles, husband had to pull Kah Yen aside for her safety. And soon some children photographers also came over, I can see a lot of cameras in front of me and I felt like I am a circus performer! And we didn't get any photos.

We left the place at 12pm to head to Plaza Singapura for lunch. All in all, it is a very good outing for us. If you want to find out about future open houses, you can check on this website.


  1. Never knew you had to pay $2. Gosh... I'm kinda speechless that the Istana isn't totally free.

  2. The ticket booth is actually maned by Community Chest and I believe all the money will go to them. So it is really for Charity. :-)