Yistana – the abode of “people’s” president


By Mary Lee

Two doctored photographs are doing the rounds in WhatsApp — one is of the Yishun MRT sign at the station, changed to “Yistana”. That, I take to be in support of our new woman head of state. The other — obviously against — shows the Prime Minister wearing a blue tudung, calling him Ha Lee Mah.

My 27-year-old daughter — a liberal in many ways — described Madam Halimah’s decision to continue living in her jumbo nine-room flat in Yishun (her home for 30 years) as “stupid and inconsiderate of her neighbours”. Her job requires her to live at the Istana.

Her neighbors won’t be able to have any parties, she said. Why not? There’s always the void deck and at last, there will be some noise control of Hungry Ghost months

But they won’t have any privacy? That won’t be compromised, and they would have in exchange, a high level of security. I said she had the right to live in her own home, and I would have been glad to have her as my neighbour (she’s not — Yishun Ave 4 is 2.5km from where I live). I can leave my home unlocked, thanks to the security presence. Like in the days of ny childhood in Dorset Road.

“Aw, mum, you’re just glad we have a woman for president,” she retorted. “Living in an HDB flat doesn’t make her a people’s president!” Well, at least she’ll have more people more aware of making other people’s lives (in Yishun, to begin with) a lot smoother.

“But she’ll be causing more traffic jams with her motorcade,” said daughter. “Rubbish,” I said. I trust she would insist that road users be given advance notice that traffic lights would be synchronized properly so she can have a smooth ride to and from Yishun. And the CTE would, while remaining the most expensive road to drive on, be a true expressway.

Meanwhile, the SMRT would make sure that the North-South — oldest — line is running smoothly and passengers would see an end to constant track signalling faults. With Madam Halimah at the Istana, she can shake the system up by travelling to Dhoby Ghaut from Yishun (and in reverse) once in a while and ask “Why not?” when told she can’t.

Moreover, and most important, ordinary people can have access to her, with petitions and requests for help. She could become a de facto ombudsman — the sort we have never been able to get. The knockon effect would be, the ruling party would become a real “people’s action” party or MPs would become embarrassed by the tudung-clad president.

So, instead of whining, Singaporeans currently not supporting Madam Halimah should relook her presidency and see how she could really make herself the unreserved people’s president her predecessor was not! ##


    • Quiz. Who among our past Presidents earned the honour and respect and was affectionately called, the people’s President? Our madam President is truly exceptional, titled on her Day 1 in office. In her marathon of 42 km (6 years), was awarded gold at the bang of the starter’s gun. Champion of all champions!

  1. Yes! Because it doesn’t matter where she stays or if she had prata for breakfast. The presidency is actually more or less important than that, depending on your perspective

    • I want to e close to the ppl, I gave the residents n all Singaporeans interest in heart, I am a people’s President! I am also the first lady President to stay in a hdb flat….Guiness Record please take note!

    • Nah, Laurence. This is only temporary. It is The New Presidential Wayang Show! Just wait. She will move over to the Istana and then give all the bulls*** reasons. Maybe this time it is cow dung excuses! Same s*** but different smell!

  2. Interesting to learn that Halimah’s mother is a Chinese hawker who pay a Malay woman as her nanny and sent her to Singapore Chinese Girls school!
    Our Sovereign God if universe has created her to be an Indian -Chinese but why she has the cheeks to stand as Malay President ?
    Look us look at her ♥
    What is her heart’s desires to make her deny her birthright origin?
    If she is truly holy, then she must openly accept her birthright and must be proud to be born in Indian? If God created me to be a horse, then I will not hop like a kangaroo!
    I will carry my boss and gallop round the world! Why behave like a kangaroo when God made you a

  3. Not the “people’s” president for sure. And please no Yistana.

    Any considerate person, more so a selected president, should take on the duties and yes, even the discomforts of the presidency without griping. Even a $1.54M annual salary does not come in a bed of roses!

  4. Since Dr Ibrahim Yacob, the holy man is not interested to be President, then we should have an open race President Elections so that the whole universe will not laugh at our ruling governor !!!
    When Heng Swee Keat suddenly collapsed, I knew that nothing is impossible with God’s judgment, therefore let us live in honour of godly principles and moral ethics!
    It is time to stop oppressing our citizens of Singapore because the angels are taking actions very soon!
    Halimah must be wise enough to quickly step down and not to be used as a scapegoat to pave the way for the richest woman in Singapore
    We, the citizens of Singapore don’t need a rich person to be our President, please do not change the criteria regulations and to honour our National pledge!
    Our Malay community has improved and some are doing better than the Chinese and other race, therefore do not play the race card but please honour our National pledge!
    We want an open elections for President!
    It is not too late to quickly rectify the mistake and give us an open elections

  5. No matter how nice Halimah may be as a person, how many honestly want a President to live in the same HDB block? The exception bein those who with loanshark debts to repay. It is still 7th lunar month but residents cannot burn joss paper. Imagine the hassle involved if residents in the block wish to invite guests over or order food for delivery to their homes. Will weddings and funeral wakes in the void deck be banned? When one is rushing home to answer nature’s call but need go through security check or worse, one of the elevators is being grounded on standby for her arrival? Will residents living directly above her unit be barred from sunning their laundry on bamboo poles? Not playing the devil’s advocate here but these are plausible situations that her HDB block mates are likely to encounter everyday, for the six years of her term.

  6. The question is – Who is now residing in the Istana since Halimag is not?
    Perhaps it is our very own LHL and
    HC? Now, that might be the grand plan all along.
    Now, think about that!

  7. It would be nuisance for the public with all the security and other protocols to follow. Plus she would have regular visitors. Govt has a good place for her at Istana.

  8. No, there r official residence for her, try to humble in the wrong place n time ! Think of all the inconveniences created to the public n securities !

  9. why create trouble and inconveniences to public and make such a scene in the HDB? go where you ought to be and not try to use that as a tool to gain respect …. the other presidents did not have such issues…. sickening

  10. Yes. Step down immediately then continue staying there.

    The Whole World is laughing….. from one Dishonorable to another Dishonorable….. one didn’t comply with the Wishes and one disregarded the Race of their late fathers…..

  11. Wastage of resources. Everyday travel from Yishun to Istana n back. 3 big cc cars, 10 big cc motor bikes as escorts not to mention the labour costs. I am sure these escorts are very tired. Where got look into the welfare of the workers ? How much petrol is consume each day n for 6 years ? More so, causing inconvenience to residents by occupying the car park lots, etc, don’t know what to said.

  12. i agree she should not stay in HDB . she should understand how traffic can be bad when she is staying there. she has to understand that she is serving the nation not for her comfort. If she still insist that she wants to stay in her comfort zone,she should step down and let there be another. I really hope the PM and her advisers can advice accordingly.

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