A state dinner at the White House in Washington DC awaits Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong later today (Tuesday).
China, India and Japan are among Asian countries that have been given this privilege. But the U.S. considers tiny Singapore a special friend and past prime ministers have also enjoyed state dinners at the White House.
Singapore National Day in Washington: I left Washington DC last Friday for Singapore, with a transit in London, and Mr Lee arrived in the U.S. capital two days later. The timing was not right for me as if he had stayed there for three more days I will have been able to attend Singapore’s National Day celebrations in Washington DC with PM Lee and other countrymen.
An ST photo of the National Day celebration in Washington DC
I was, however, able to catch glimpses of the Singapore and U.S. flags fluttering together along the Constitution Avenue and White House areas.
Clinton Had Road Closed: One American Uber driver thoughtfully pointed the flags out to me, reminding me of Singapore PM’s visit to Washington DC.
He also told me that the road to the White House used to be open for vehicles in the past. But when Mr Bill Clinton was President he had it closed. Conversations with cab drivers, either in Singapore or anywhere else, are often enlightening as they offer interesting nuggets of information with their own perspectives.
The passage to the White House is just about 100 metres away from where I alighted.
G Joslin Vethakumar