The Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore, turns 150 this year. In celebration of the Istana's 150 anniversary, President Halimah Yacob launched the 'Our Istana: A Living Museum' roving exhibition at Tampines Regional Library on 1 June 2019.
The exhibition is made possible through a sponsorship by Singapore Pools and held at different public libraries across Singapore over from June till December 2019. Curated as a living museum, the roving exhibition aims to bring the Istana closer to the community. Objects rarely seen in public, including the Presidential tableware, stationery of President Halimah Yacob, recipes and uniforms of staff are featured in the exhibition. Visitors can engage their senses through the sights, smells and sounds of the Istana.
President Halimah Yacob also interacted with participants of a cooking class during the launch, where participants cooked Mee Siam and Gula Melaka Pudding from the Istana recipes. The cooking class guided by Mr Wong Shang Hoon, the senior cook at the Istana who has served all seven Presidents and three Prime Ministers in Singapore's history.
When asked for his inspiration for making Gula Melaka Pudding, Mr Wong said: "When I first started working here at the Istana, the previous President liked gula melaka, so he asked us to learn how to make it, so I put my heart into learning. This gula melaka pudding has actually been present since the British governance."
Mr Wong was not the only long-serving staff member of the Istana present at the launch. In attendance was also the official residence Butler, Mr Ismail, who is the third generation in his family working at the Istana. "I was born and brought up in the Istana. My grandfather worked in the Istana during the British governance, while my father worked in the Istana during the British governance all the way to the current government. I am the third generation still serving in the Istana," said Mr Ismail proudly.
Admission to the exhibition is free. For the full roving schedule, please refer to this link.https://www.istana.gov.sg/Visit-And-Explore/Istana-150