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A Beautiful Day Out
30 October 2018

From finger-painting their gift to Mdm President, to learning more about various plant species, the tour to the Istana was filled with plenty of highlights.

“This colour goes better with the rest of the painting!” Gloria Chuah, a patient at HCA’s Day Hospice, exclaims excitedly.

It seems like a typical day at HCA’s Day Hospice, but the patients are embarking on a thrilling project today – hand-crafting a gift for Mdm President Halimah Yacob. This is in preparation for their upcoming visit to the Istana, an esteemed sanctuary swathed in lush greenery away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Day Hospice patients embarking on a spot of finger painting.

The gift is a concerted work of heart, involving finger painting over a stencil of Singapore’s iconic skyline. The result is a vibrant rendition of the architectural landscape, comprising Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer and the Merlion, among others.

A beautiful palette of colours.

A Tour of the Istana

Abuzz with excitement, the atmosphere during the painting session was a fitting prelude to the highly anticipated Istana tour. The tour is part of the Garden Tours@Istana initiative, which aims to enhance the accessibility of the Istana to Singaporeans.

Gathering bright and early for a day of fun and exploration.

All 44 attendees – patients, their caregivers and HCA staff – arrived bright and early on the morning of 10 September, all ready to explore the lustrous and idyllic surroundings and learn more about the various flora species that inhabit the garden. Split into four groups, each was led by a volunteer gardener, who explained the intricacies of each plant species, which included tembusu trees, bananas, a Vanda Miss Joaquim bed and various ginger plants.

Mdm President chats with the patients during the tour.

Mdm President took the time to interact with the patients, showing them around and making sure that they were enjoying themselves on the tour.

A Gift from the Heart

After an hour-long exploration of the Istana’s luscious surroundings, it was time for the patients to sit down for lunch with Mdm President and to present their painting to her. Mr Eric Ong, a patient at HCA’s Day Hospice, together with HCA’s CEO Angeline Wee, were selected to do the honours.

A group photo with Mdm President.

Recounting the experience, Eric says, “It was so wonderful of HCA to organise a visit to the Istana. I was very happy that I had the opportunity to present the painting to Mdm President – she’s warm and approachable and I hope to meet her again.”

Eric’s sentiments are echoed by most of the patients and caregivers, for whom the tour represented a welcome respite and relaxing day out.