With his trademark slicked-back silver hair and spectacles, President Tony Tan Keng Yam is deep in concentration as he sits at his desk in his office at the Istana, reading and signing documents.
These are among the last that Dr Tan, 77, will sign before he relinquishes his position as head of state on Thursday after six years in office. At his swearing-in ceremony in 2011, he had pledged to represent Singaporeans from all walks of life and of all political views.
As his tenure draws to a close, the past month has seen many Singaporeans bidding farewell to him at various events, from the informal open house at the Istana to the National Day Parade on Aug 9.
As the head of state, the President is the symbolic figure representing Singapore at ceremonies and on the international stage. These include conferring top honours on visiting leaders and military chiefs. He also promotes friendship and economic links between Singapore and other countries by hosting visiting leaders and making state visits overseas, which open doors to opportunities around the world that Singaporeans can draw on.
Since the elected presidency came about in 1991, Singapore's President has also exercised a custodial role as the second key responsible for protecting past reserves, as well as safeguarding the integrity of the public service by having power to veto the appointment of key public office holders. The President may also use the influence of his position to support charitable and social causes, including sports and the arts and culture, and is often invited to grace events organised by community groups, among others.
During his term, Dr Tan also expanded the President's Challenge, initiated by his predecessor S R Nathan in 2000, to bring people together to help the less fortunate. It goes beyond fund raising to include volunteerism and social entrepreneurship.
Last Wednesday, Dr Tan and his wife, Mrs Mary Tan, hosted a dinner to show their appreciation for about 190 staff and former staff of the President's Office, President's Challenge Secretariat and several public agencies that have supported his presidency.