Singapore

Mr Nathan had 'a meaningful life well lived'

Mr Ch'ng Jit Koon, 82, former Senior Minister of State for Community Development and Tiong Bahru MP:

"I had known Mr Nathan since 1967, when we spent three months in New York attending the United Nations Assembly... We remained steadfast friends since and whenever we met, we would joke about the days in New York.

When he was learning Chinese calligraphy, he wrote 'peng you' (Mandarin for friend) and presented it to me.

Till this day, it hangs in my office. He recently gave me a photo of when we were in New York.

I didn't take any pictures then, and I will treasure this. I will certainly miss my dear friend."


Dr Fatimah Lateef, 50, Marine Parade MP:

"He would attend the President's Challenge at the mosque in our constituency every year, and we would sit down and have briyani together. He was always happy and jovial.

No matter what issues he was facing, he was always there to give us words of encouragement.

When I received my healthcare humanity award from him some years ago, he had something positive to say as well.

I will always remember those moments."


Ms Indranee Rajah, 53, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Law:

"The thing that strikes you the most is that everybody remembers something personal about Mr Nathan.

There are some people you remember because you see them in the newspapers or at a distance, but for him, it was because he had spoken to somebody, he had touched them directly, and I think it was the kind of man he was...

It is a life well-lived. It's a very rich life, a meaningful life, and I would say that so many of us here today had been touched one way or another by what he did."


Mr Ong Ye Kung, 46, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills):

"He's a real personification of a... passionate, inspiring, lifelong learner. He didn't just teach you and advise you based on what he learnt from books...

He lived the life, and he told you his experience.

So I really benefited from him, his guidance and his mentorship over several years...

He attended the university of life. And through this university of life, he got himself three honorary doctorates from NUS, NTU and SMU."


Madam Halimah Yacob, 62, Speaker of Parliament:

"When my mother died, what was really touching was that... he wrote me a letter to say that he missed the funeral because he didn't know about it, and to send his condolences.

Even when I became Speaker in 2013, he sent me a letter penned in his own handwriting to congratulate me, and to say that he would pray for me in the performance of my duties.

I'm just quoting these examples to show you the measure of a man who cared about people.

He made an effort to reach out to them."


Mr Goh Chok Tong, 75, Emeritus Senior Minister:

"Each time I came over here (Mr Nathan's home), he would be standing at the door...

I've lost him, but the wife is still here.

And I've told her whenever I do my walkabout here, with her permission, I will just call on her just to say hello and make sure she's okay."

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