Meet the President's aide
// Story by Chia Chong Jin
// Photos by Chai Sian Liang & courtesy of MAJ Izzuddin
As Singapore marks the Istana's 150th anniversary, PIONEER sits down with Major (MAJ) Muhammad Izzuddin Bin Amirruddin to find out more about what it’s like working with the President as an Honorary Aide-de-Camp or HADC.
What does being an Honorary ADC mean to you?
The role is an alternate avenue to serve the public in a different context, even while still (serving) in uniform (as part of the SAF). As an extension of the President's Office, I not only have a chance to bring the Office closer to society, but also to challenge myself to do the best that I can in a realm that is outside of the military.
What were some memorable experiences during your events so far?
I was appointed as an HADC in May this year and have gone on three events. My most memorable experience so far was facilitating President Halimah Yacob’s interactions with guests from Singapore General Hospital who were attending a Garden Tour of the Istana.
Most of the guests were from the Pioneer generation, and they were very excited to be at the Istana and to meet Madam Halimah. It was very meaningful to be part of the team that organised the event, which brought so much joy to the seniors whom we, as a society, owe so much to.
How do you balance your day-to-day job as the Operations Officer of 9th Singapore Infantry Regiment and being a HADC?
Balance is achieved by constantly checking both work and personal calendars to ensure that I am able to fulfil duties that have been assigned to me. It helps to have a very supportive wife who understands that some weekends and public holidays have to be set aside for duties.
How has your family supported you throughout these few months since you were appointed as a HADC in May?
My wife has not only supported me emotionally, but also helped to attend to my family members when I had to leave a family event early to carry out my duties. It is wonderful to know that she is proud of me and will be patiently waiting at home for me.
What is an ADC?
The term "Aide-de-Camp" originated from France, and stands for "camp or field assistant". Originally a military assistant in the field to a Sovereign, Chief of State or General, the ADC transmitted orders and supervised operations in the name of their commander. Today, the ADC is a uniformed officer who assists the President.
What is an ADC's duties?
The ADC attends to the needs of the President, and accompanies the President at state functions, ceremonies or events of ceremonial nature.
He or she is responsible for the coordination, planning, implementation and follow-up of the President's events both locally and overseas, such as the Istana Open House or visits by foreign dignitaries.
How many ADCs to the President are there in Singapore?
There are currently three full-time ADCs serving the President, who are assisted by a corps of HADCs from the SAF, the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
HADCs are reappointed annually and volunteer their time and services while holding regular jobs and duties. It is no easy task – first- and second-year appointees are expected to put in about 60 hours a year.