I came here on a number of occasions to attend the Chinese New Year dinner invited by the Prime Minister. This is the first time I came here for a National Day Dinner invited by the President.
It was a great honor to be invited for such a banquet dinner where you can mingle with the President and her Cabinet Ministers including the Prime Minister himself. The buffet comprised Halal Malay, vegetarian and International Chinese and Indian cuisine generously catered by Marina Mandarin.
There were so much appealing, mouthwatering and appetizing varieties of food that my stomach started to growl with gastric juices even before the dinner commenced at 8 pm.
Among the dishes, I particularly like the Hakka Braised Pork Belly with Red Fermented Beancurd (contains nut), Strawberry Yuzu Entremets, the Pot Roast Grain-Fed Beef in Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Roast Garlic, 16 hours slow cook Veal Shank White Bean Cassoulet, Braised White Vermicelli with Clam and the Deep Fried Chicken Siew Mai. There were also carts with instant fried Goreng Pisang and Panipuri with Potato Chat and Tamarind Chutney. The food were meticulously prepared and the sumptuous dinner was one of high grade quality.
But I still missed some of the good food as my stomach limit had reached.
It was also a great time mixing with other grassroot leaders from other constituencies. Grassroots leaders are the pillars of the community forces that strengthen the bond between the government and the people. Under the banner of People's Association, Grassroots Leaders diligently organized activities to bond Singaporeans as one unified force and foster a strong link between the people and the various ministries.
Through the grassroot channel, the general public can express their views or dissatisfaction with the government policies. Such democratic feature is part of our political culture and we had seen foreign delegates marveled at this community apparatus that work miraculously on the ground and frontline that immune us from the upheaval and chaos that we seen in other countries. This unique democratic apparatus is the software that reinforce democracy and operates behind the curtain that strengthen our cohesiveness. Tourists see only the hardware of this country but the software that delicately glue the people of this country is not so visibly from the outside.
Such dinners hosted by the Prime Minister and the President is an appreciation to the many hard work put in by the community leaders to bind the country together as an united force. The Istana is thus a great place for such an appreciation dinners. The reward also include taking photos with our great leaders and our President.
The fact that we are there shows that our hard work for the country is being appreciated and rewarded.