Friday, September 2, 2011

The Istana, Revisited After 30 Years

The first time I visited the Istana was exactly 30 years ago. It was to attend the memorial service of the late President Benjamin Henry Sheares.

30 years later, I am no longer the Primary 1 student, but a father of 2 girls.

The Istana is the official residence of the President of the Republic of Singapore. Completed in 1869, the Istana building was built by the British Colonial government to house its governors and was known back then as the Government House. The building was later renamed Istana (“Palace” in Malay) when it was handed to the Singapore Government in 1959.


The Istana grounds are open to the public only 5 times in a year in celebration of Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day.

The Kuan Family took the opportunity to enjoy ourselves and run around the same gardens as some famous people in Singapore.

The queue started as early as 9am, from the main gate all the way to the bus stop just outside HSBC  Bank. Btw, entrance is free for Singaporeans, foreigners have to pay only $1.


Both girls were wondering what is the buzz all about. For them it was just another visit to another park in Singapore.




The 4 women in my family. Look how happy they are (ok, Jayne looks like she was trying to pick her nose, but ignore it). Happy women means happy man!


Tristan and Jieyin were there too. They were about to leave when we arrive. Managed to catch some shots of just Tristan’s hand and his new toy Canon EOS 60D but you can see the focus was not so much about him la..


The garden is just too much fun for the girls, even I feel like taking off my shoes and run like mad. Relive my childhood once more but age and “face” issue held me back.





When you are tired, just sit down. I’m sure the grasses are so clean and well maintained, you can even sleep on it. Ok, that’s just me being super envious of the President’s house. Where is the equality?



My mother is also enjoying herself.


After the long walk from the main gate past the gardens, we finally reach the main building. Singapore’s version of the White House.


Pay $2 each and you can take a tour inside the Istana Building. But no photos.



I’m quite sure Jayne prefers to play at the water fountain outside the building than walking inside the building.


This little girl is so funny, suddenly walking up the stairs, she just sat down and stone there.



Before we leave, the girls took turn to run up and down the slope like one million times. Maybe I should install something similar at home, a sliding board or what..



You cannot say you have been to the Istana if you have not taken these photos. Cos you see them more often than the President. Thanks to my multi-shot mode, I got a shot of him taking a rest.
Hey! Wake up! Hahahaa…



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Congrats to Fan Qi Huang, you should have received my email notification.


  1. thanks for sharing :) I wanted to go down with the family too but we had other errands.. great pictures.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  2. thanks! must go for the next open house =) great place for family fun.