Welcome Remarks by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Honorary Aide-de-Camp Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony Dinner, 13 May 2015

Mr Teo Chee Hean

Deputy Prime Minister

Coordinating Minister for National Security

and Minister for Home Affairs

Dr Ng Eng Hen

Minister for Defence

Distinguished Guests

 Members of the Honorary Aide-de-Camp (ADC) Corps

 Ladies and Gentlemen

 My wife Mary and I have been looking forward to host this annual Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony Dinner for our Honorary ADCs.  This event gives us the opportunity to express our appreciation to you for the past year’s hard work and sacrifices.

The past one year was indeed a busy and eventful one for the Honorary ADC Corps.  Our Honorary ADCs were involved in about 134 events - 14 percent more than the previous year.  These events included state functions such as visits by foreign dignitaries, investitures, award ceremonies and community engagement events.

I would also like to commend our Honorary ADCs Corps for readily taking on additional duties during the week of mourning of our founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew.   Many foreign Head of States, Head of Governments and overseas friends of the late Mr Lee paid their last respects to the late Mr Lee during the Lying-in-State and State Funeral Service.   Together with staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), our Honorary ADCs worked tirelessly round the clock to provide support to an unprecedented number of foreign dignitaries.

I understand from MFA that we received many compliments from High Commissions and Embassies on the good work done by both the MFA staff and our Honorary ADCs in managing and facilitating their leaders’ arrivals and departures at the airport, especially after the Funeral Service, when many foreign guests were departing within a thirty minute time frame.

Our Honorary ADC Corps also performed duties as Vigil Guards and Vigil Guard Orderlies during the Lying-in-state period at the Parliament House.  When the Lying-in-state was open 24 hours due to the overwhelming public response, some retired Honorary ADCs volunteered to augment the Vigil Guards team.  This demonstrated the strong esprit de corps amongst the Honorary ADC Corps, including those who have retired.

Earlier in the evening, I presented certificates of appreciation to 16 Honorary ADCs who will be retiring from the Corps this year.  Mary and I wish to thank you for your years of dedicated service and invaluable contributions.  We wish you all the best in your future endeavours.  I hope that the exposure gained and friendships you have forged as Honorary ADCs have broadened your experience and widened your networks.

I was also pleased to re-appoint 84 Honorary ADCs and appoint 18 new Honorary ADCs into the Honorary ADC Corps.  As an Honorary ADC to the President, you represent the Presidency.  In your interactions with foreign dignitaries and local guests, you will leave a deep impression on them.  Your demeanour and proficiency will reflect on the highest office of our nation. The responsibility is heavy and the expectations of you are high.  I am confident that you will rise to the challenges of your duties and continue to uphold the stature of the office.

This year, I will also be presenting a special token of appreciation to a long serving Honorary ADC for his outstanding and dedicated service to the President’s Office.  Appointed in 1998, Military Expert 7 Daniel Chua Thian Cheong is one of the most senior officers in the Honorary ADC Corps and our most experienced Honorary ADC.   Having been involved in numerous events in various capacities over the last 17 years, Daniel now plays a leading role, along with the full-time ADCs, in organising and carrying out state events, including the National Day Investiture Ceremony, President’s Annual Diplomatic Reception, and Welcome Ceremonies and State Banquets hosted by the President. With his attention to details, Daniel helps ensure that events proceed smoothly with clockwork precision.  Mary and I would like to thank Daniel for his dedication and contributions, and look forward to seeing him continue for many more years as a valued member of the Honorary ADC Corps.

I would also like to thank the Chief of Defence Force, Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of SCDF, Service Chiefs and all supervisors for your support in nominating some of your finest officers into the Honorary ADC Corps and continuing to support these officers whenever they are called upon to serve my office.  Your recognition of their efforts and your continuing support are crucial as they will encourage and motivate more outstanding officers to step forward to serve in the Honorary ADC Corps.

Last but not least, Mary and I would like to thank our photographers from the Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) Photo Unit.  Often, you have to run from point to point and jostle with other media personnel, so as to get to the best position to capture for official records the proceedings of the various ceremonies, official functions and community events.

Mary and I would like to say thank you once again for your support to the President’s Office.  We wish everyone a pleasant and enjoyable evening.