About 14,000 people queued for up to two hours to visit the Istana during the open house on Labour Day yesterday.
Nature lovers marvelled at the rare flowers on the grounds of the President's official residence, while some squeezed in a national education lesson.
Mrs Carol Quek, 35, said her 62-year-old mother learnt the significance of the Presidential standard. An all-red flag featuring a crescent and five stars, it is used to signify the presence of the President when he is in Singapore.
"When she caught sight of the signboard explaining what it meant, she lit up," Mrs Quek said.
At 4pm, when President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife greeted visitors, they were welcomed with an energetic samba dance by the People's Association.
Other performances included a recital by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, which was sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) as part of its SPH Gift of Music series.
The Istana opens its doors to the public during Chinese New Year, Labour Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, National Day and Deepavali.
Meanwhile, the labour movement kicked off its May Day Fiesta with a night of fun at Universal Studios Singapore.
This year, the annual event will last three days to mark SG50. Some 35,000 union members and their families and friends get exclusive use of the theme park from 5pm to midnight.
The Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) was also busy last night, organising four celebration events for 18,000 migrant workers. Those at Penjuru Recreation Centre were treated to dance and magic performances and a lucky draw. MWC chairman Yeo Guat Kwang was the guest of honour.
Three other events were held at Soon Lee Recreation Centre, Kaki Bukit Recreation Centre and Woodlands Recreation Centre.
The festivities aim to recognise migrant workers as an integral part of Singapore's workforce and make them feel appreciated, said Mr Yeo.
This article was first published on May 2, 2015.
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