My Day in Singapore

Joe and Jill Biden Orchid

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden receive a book from Dr. Nigel Paul Taylor, Director of National Parks, during a ceremony in which an orchid was named the Joe and Jill Biden Orchid, at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, in Singapore, July 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Today was our first full day in Singapore and there could not have been a more beautiful introduction than our tour of the Botanic Gardens. Singapore Botanic Gardens are known for their orchids and in 1957 the country began to name selected orchid hybrids after State Visitors to foster closer ties between nations. As an avid gardener, I am honored that they chose to name a deep purple Dendrobium orchid the “Joe and Jill Biden” during our visit today. We’ll bring some “Joe and Jill Biden” orchids back to DC to display at the Vice President’s Residence.

After leaving the Gardens, we drove to Singapore’s new Green Children’s Library, which is made entirely out of recycled materials. Singapore boasts some of the most sophisticated libraries in the world and our partnership with the National Library Board (NLB) has proved to be a wonderful relationship for the U.S. Embassy. Earlier this year the Embassy partnered with the NLB on an e-reader program, allowing library visitors to check out electronic tablets that have access to thousands of book titles. The Embassy has donated over 400 e-readers, emphasizing the importance of education to both of our countries.

Dr. Biden and Ashley Biden read to children at Singapore's Green Children's Library

Dr. Biden and Ashley Biden read to children at Singapore's Green Children's Library. (Photo Credit: Jay Pugh)

I visited the Children’s Library to read Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey with about 30 local school children. The story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their eight ducklings is one of my favorite children’s stories. As an English teacher, I love nothing more than helping kids appreciate reading. I especially relish any opportunity I have to spend time with young children who are just discovering how exciting and eye opening reading can be. Each child was so attentive and interested which reaffirms the importance that Singapore, like the United States, places on early education.

At the end of the day I had the pleasure of joining my husband at Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore. We were greeted by President Tan Keng Yam and I then enjoyed tea with his wife, Mrs. Mary Tan. Thank you so much for the hospitality! 

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