Dubbed as the People’s President, one that rose through the ranks representative of the success story of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob, stunned Singaporeans by saying that she will continue residing in her heartland home in Yishun.
According to President Halimah, her neighbours are fantastic and despite the inconvenience to the security detail, she’ll continue to live the ordinary life. She is no reserved president – she is a president for all races, espousing multiculturalism.
Undaunted by the criticisms and the backlash over her ascendancy, President Halimah, was sworned is as the 8th president of Singapore at 6pm last night.
Lianhe Zaobao, the Chinese Daily interviewed the mandarin-speaking Yishun dwellers, including her favourite hairdresser and green grocers.
Apparently, Mdm Halima has been patronizing the same hairdresser even after becoming the Speaker of Parliament – as the saying goes, old habits are hard to break.
“She would line up for a haircut service like everybody else does, without making a special request to jump the line. This is because our policy states no reservation is allowed,” said hairdresser Lai Yue Ming, 61, who works in a hair salon that Mdm Halimah frequents.
“She visited us for hair trimming and hair washing services, back when she had short hair. Years later, she started colouring her hair when it started greying.
“However, she hasn’t been visiting us as frequently after she got busier with increasing commitments, I suppose,” Lai told the reporters.
Huang Lai Fa, 62, owner of an egg vendor in the wet market in Halimah’s neighbourhood told the reporters, “in the past, we used to witness Mdm Halimah do grocery shopping with her mother.”
Mdm Halimah also strikes people as an energetic and health-conscious person.
“I often see her walk up the stairs to her flat. Mdm Halimah told me that walking up the stairs is healthy’,” said Sarah, 19, “she always greets neighbours around. I feel she’s approachable and down-to-earth.”
Mdm Halimah was sworn in as Singapore’s eighth President at the Istana on Thursday evening. She has expressed that she would like to stay in her jumbo Yishun flat, which her husband, Mr Mohamed Adullah Alhabshee, said was “as huge as a penthouse”.
Mdm Halimah told reporters on Wednesday: “I think it’s a very nice comfortable place. I’ve been living there for many years.”
The neighbours are still astonished at her determination of staying in an HDB flat.
Mdm Pan, 72, expressed that Yishun would be a secure place from now on.
Fish vendor Hong Yao Long had also expressed surprise at the fact that the president would be his neighbour, and had wished the best outcome for Singapore and Singaporeans under her leadership.