The passing of President Nathan

I recall one instance when one of them was transiting through Singapore and requested a call on the President that very morning. We hurriedly put up the request, expecting the President to decline. To my surprise, he agreed, even though he was not at the Istana that morning — he had to rush down for the meeting. As far as I remember, never once did he decline a call. Such was the nature of the man. He took his responsibilities very seriously, and carried our flag with much grace and dignity.

One of my earlier interactions with President S R Nathan was when I was a junior officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was staffing a desk which covered 53 countries, which meant there were many presidents and prime ministers visiting Singapore every month. Very often, they would request a meeting with the President at very short notice. I recall one instance when one of them was transiting through Singapore and requested a call on the President that very morning. We hurriedly put up the request, expecting the President to decline. To my surprise, he agreed, even though he was not at the Istana that morning — he had to rush down for the meeting. As far as I remember, never once did he decline a call. Such was the nature of the man. He took his responsibilities very seriously, and carried our flag with much grace and dignity.

My wife and I would like to join my WP colleagues in extending our deepest condolences to the family of the late President Sellapan Ramanathan.

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