His selflessness deserves respect
MR S R NATHAN FROM READER MANORAJ RAJATHURAI
I write with regard to the reports on the passing of former president S R Nathan at 92.
He was a father-like figure for many and represented a generation of pioneers who gave so much to this country.
So many of them have left us now.
For me there is no replacing this generation, which included our first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who showed us the way.
Mr Nathan always had time for others. I remember how he stopped by my father's house and called out to him for a quick chat despite his busy schedule.
My father wrote books and he always made it a point to drop a copy of each at the home of Mr Nathan, who would call to thank him for the book.
Mr Nathan was everything that a man should be - giving, caring, brave and always insightful.
The one moment that remains etched in my mind is how he offered to take the place of the hostages in the Laju ferry hijacking, thus ensuring their safety, then accompanying the hijackers to the Middle East where he was finally released. He earned the respect of many for that selfless act.
His contributions to the nation were many. He was the consummate civil servant, with a long and distinguished career.
He was even instrumental in ensuring the future of this country, at an especially critical time in its history, when it was at its most vulnerable, as he played a key role in its security.
We would not be where we are without the commitment of our first-generation of leaders, backed by people like Mr Nathan.
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