To join in the Chinese New Year festivities, the Istana—the office of the President of the Republic of Singapore—will be having an open house on 5 February.
Once more, it’s time to view the symbolic infrastructure of Singapore’s foundational democracy, whose main use is for the President to receive and entertain guests, instead of living in it.
Details of the Open House
The online application for visitors will open from 10am next Monday (24 Jan) to 10am next Tuesday (25 Jan).
Each application, as per the COVID-19 safety protocols, is limited to a maximum of five tickets.
Visitors can choose the two-hour-long slot that they wish to apply for, with times starting from 9am, 11am, 1pm, or 3pm.
The allocation of tickets will be decided by an electronic balloting system and the balloting results are final.
Each ticket will only admit one visitor to the Istana at the booked time slot.
Children, including infants, will also need a valid ticket to be admitted.
That’s right, they’re not getting a free pass ride just because they’re shorter than a certain height or the fact that they’re young.
COVID-19 Safety Measures Will Be in Place
Social distancing measures will still be maintained.
Thus, there will be no performances, tours, or food trucks, and only the outdoor gardening will be accessible to the visitors.
Reader: But if I wanted to see outdoor gardening I might as well go to Gardens by the Bay?
Moreover, there will be no conducted tours of the main building.
There will be safe distancing ambassadors present to ensure that the visitors comply with the safety distancing measures.
All Proceeds will Go Towards a Charitable Cause
However, there are merchandise booths with limited edition Istana souvenirs and President’s Challenge souvenirs to make your trip worthwhile and prove that you’ve actually been to the Istana.
All proceeds from the ticket and merchandise sales will go towards the charities supported by the President’s Challenge, which is an annual community outreach to the disadvantaged, less fortunate, and disabled people of Singapore.
The Istana has even upgraded a little too, since cashless payments via Paynow is also an option.
During Deepavali last year, approximately 2,000 people visited the Istana at its open house.
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