Grassroots, community leaders lauded at Istana garden party

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mingling with guests during the annual Chinese New Year party at the Istana.

About 4,200 grassroots and community leaders attended the annual Chinese New Year garden party at the Istana lawns yesterday afternoon.

Each year, the party is hosted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Cabinet to thank grassroots leaders for their community service.

This year's event, hosted on behalf of Mr Lee by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and other ministers, marks Singapore's 50th birthday and was attended by President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

Mr Lee, who underwent surgery for prostate cancer two weeks ago, also dropped in.

He presented autographed ez-link cards to two grassroots leaders who served for 50 years: Mr Phang Tai Heng, 85, of Jalan Besar Citizens Consultative Committee (CCC) and Mr Phua Him Ko, 74, of Kampong Glam CCC.

In a new feature this year, Mr Lee and his Cabinet colleagues each expressed gratitude by penning messages that were projected onto screens at the party.

Mr Lee's message read: "Thank you for serving our community, and building a stronger and happier nation for us all!"

Mr Teo said: "Many thanks for your hard work to build a stronger community and make Singapore a better home for all of us. To 50 more good years - and beyond!"

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrote: "As we celebrate Singapore's 50th year, let's value the contributions of every Singaporean, strengthen our multiracial society and make this country of ours even better."

Guests were treated to music performances, among other activities.

MPs also attended the event and several later posted pictures on their Facebook pages.


This article was first published on March 2, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.