Polish president invites tourists from Singapore and Taiwan for tea at Presidential Palace

(From left) Ms Ewa Pawelec, Mr Khandan Armugam, Ms Rosa Tang, Mr Jerry Lee and Polish president Andrzej Duda, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
PHOTO: Twitter/Andrzej Duda

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man and his fiancee were among four tourists randomly invited to have tea at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw with the president of Poland, Mr Andrzej Duda, last month.

Mr Khandan Armugam, a senior medical technologist at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, arrived in Warsaw on July 11 with his fiancee, Ms Ewa Pawelec.

It was his third time visiting Poland, where Ms Pawelec, an English teacher at the French School of Singapore, was born.

The day after they arrived, they happened to be walking by the Presidential Palace and approached a man to help them take a photo together.

The man's colleague, a staff member working at the palace, then asked them if they were interested to go on a tour of the palace.

At first, Mr Khandan, also known as Raj, was reluctant, but Ms Pawelec soon convinced him to go. A couple from Taiwan, who were on the last day of their holiday, were also invited to join the tour.

Little did they know that their tour guide would be the president himself.

A video of the visit was posted on a new Twitter account named "At the Presidential Palace" in Polishwhich shows a less formal side of the palace. Its profile reads: "Not so official: from the daily life of the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland."

In the video, Mr Khandan looks stunned as the group is informed that they will be having tea with the president. Mr Duda then comes out to greet them.

Herbata z Andrzejem Dudą / Polish President invited tourists from Taiwan and Singapore for tea

He takes them on a tour of the palace rooms before sitting down with them for a chat in English over tea and cakes.

"We are enjoying our holidays, Mr President," Ms Pawelec, who has been living in Singapore for eight years, tells him. "How about you? Will there be a chance for you to enjoy some time off?"

Mr Duda replies with a laugh: "Maybe in a week."

The conversation lasted about 20 minutes before Mr Duda had to leave for a meeting. He did not forget to take a selfie with the group, which he later posted on his personal Twitter account.

As they leave the palace with a bag of souvenirs each, Mr Khandan says: "I still feel like I'm dreaming right now. I'm very honoured. He seemed to be like a very down-to-earth man."

Mr Khandan and Ms Pawelec were in Poland to visit Ms Pawelec's family and to climb the Tatra Mountains. They had visited the Presidential Palace once before during winter, in December 2016, and wanted to see it again in summer.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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