Welcome Remarks by President Halimah Yacob at the Honorary Aides-De-Camp Appreciation Dinner

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence


Distinguished Guests


Members of the Honorary Aide-de-Camp Corps


Ladies and Gentlemen


Good Evening.


Mohamed and I are pleased to host the annual Appointment Ceremony and Appreciation Dinner for our Honorary Aides-de-Camp this evening.


Tonight’s dinner gives my husband and I the opportunity to express our appreciation and give recognition to you for your hard work and sacrifices over the past year. Honorary Aides-de-Camp, or HADCs as we call you, play an important role in the President’s Office. You help to plan, manage, and execute state functions and events attended by the President, working in the background to ensure that the events run smoothly. You also exercise warmth and hospitality as you interact with our guests. Whether our guests leave the Istana with a positive experience depends very much on how well the HADCs have coordinated the event and how memorable their personal interactions with you have been.


The past one year has been a busy and eventful one for the HADC Corps. You were involved in about 115 events, an increase from the previous year and of course including the handover of presidency from Dr Tony Tan to me. Despite the increased intensity of work, you remained professional and composed as you managed all these events like clockwork.


Part of the increase in workload over the past year was due to the community engagement events I started in the recent months. I am heartened that many of our HADCs readily volunteered to help out at these additional events. I am even more touched to see you making an extra effort to take care of the well-being of the beneficiaries during those events. For all these contributions, I am most grateful to our dedicated HADCs.


At the ceremony earlier this evening, we witnessed the presentation of certificates of appreciation to 17 HADCs who will be retiring from the Corps this year. My husband and I thank you for your years of dedicated service and invaluable contributions. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and hope that the exposure and friendships as HADCs have broadened your experience and professional network.


This evening, I am also pleased to appoint 103 HADCs, 14 of whom are newly inducted to the Corps. As HADCs, your responsibility is heavy. You are ambassadors to the office when you interact with foreign dignitaries and local guests. Your bearing, demeanour and proficiency will leave them with an impression of the office.


Tonight, I would like to make special mention of a long serving HADC for her outstanding and dedicated service to the President’s Office. Appointed in 2003, Major Lim Tszu-Yin Rachel is one of the most experienced officers in the HADC Corps and the longest-serving female HADC. Having been involved in numerous events over the last 15 years, Rachel now plays a leading role as the Medal Overall-In-Charge (OIC) for many major state events, such as the National Day Investiture Ceremony, Investitures for Distinguished Service Order (Military) and other award ceremonies. Rachel’s attention to details helps to ensure that award presentations proceed smoothly.


Over the past 15 years, Rachel has contributed significantly to the HADC Corps despite her work demands in the RSAF. Rachel is also very active in the community, serving at her church on alternate weekends. For her exceptional contributions to the Office, I will be presenting a special token of appreciation to Rachel later. I look forward to your continued service in the years to come.


I am happy to note that Rachel’s 12-year-old son, Jonathan, is here at the dinner tonight, to witness Rachel receiving the token. Thank you, Jonathan, for giving your support to your mum in serving the President’s Office. You should be very proud of your mum. Even before Jonathan was born, Rachel has joined the HADC Corp. Like many working females, juggling work and family is already a challenge. For female HADCs, this challenge is even more accentuated, as many of our HADC duties are in the evenings or weekends, taking precious family time away. Like how Rachel had to make last minute arrangements for Jonathan to go on an outing with her aunt because she was deployed at short notice for the State Funeral of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 2015.   


Rachel’s example is a useful reminder of the sacrifices that our HADCs put in for this role. So let me also take this opportunity to thank the families and loved ones of all our HADCs. Your unwavering support and understanding have made it possible for our HADCs to perform their duties. A strong network of family support is crucial for our HADCs to continue serving the nation.


Finally, I would 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 HADC Corps and continuing to support these officers whenever they are called upon to serve the Office. Your recognition of their efforts will encourage and motivate more outstanding officers to step forward to serve in the Honorary ADC Corps.


Once again, Mohamed and I would like to thank everyone here for your continued support. We wish everyone a pleasant and enjoyable evening.