Remembering Mr S R Nathan: Community leaders, friends pay respects to S R Nathan on 2nd day of private wake
Politicians, friends and colleagues continued to stream in to pay their last respects to former President S R Nathan on the second day of the private wake at his home on Wednesday (Aug 24).
Among the visitors was Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who spoke emotionally as he recounted a memorable moment with Mr Nathan.
He said that the first time he met Mr Nathan was when he invited newly-elected members of parliament to lunch. As he was the President, the MPs were respectful and Mr Nathan was dignified. But when the door closed, the lunch turned into a hilarious event. "It was so unforgettable," said Mr Masagos, adding that Mr Nathan knew how to treat the young with love and care.
Mr Masagos added that Mr Nathan was one who cared a lot about the Muslim community.
"When we're together, he shared with me his concerns about my community and how he feels he is also part of the community," the minister said.
Just past midday, Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say arrived to pay his last respects to Mr Nathan.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Lim described Mr Nathan as a "great man and most of all a very caring leader."
He said one of Mr Nathan's many significant contributions to Singapore was in helping to lay the foundations to strengthen the labour movement and tripartism during a time of uncertainty.
"At that critical juncture, that's where Mr Nathan came in. He was a young civil servant and came into the NTUC and helped setup the labour research unit and during the four years he was with the labour movement he helped to lay a strong and healthy foundation.
"The reason why we are in such a healthy state today is because of pioneer leaders like Mr S R Nathan for what he has done to ensure that we have a solid foundation to continue to serve the people of Singapore," added Mr Lim.
Mr Lim also highlighted how Mr Nathan helped raise a million dollars for the labour movement through his book "Against all odds" which he dedicated as a gift to the movement to provide scholarships.
"As a result today the young and upcoming and promising leaders of the future are now able to through the scholarship award improve themselves and enhance themselves."
Mr Nathan died on Monday evening (Aug 22) at the age of 92 at Singapore General Hospital after suffering a stroke. His body was carried by hearse from the hospital to Mr Nathan's family home on Tuesday morning.
Shortly after that, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Madam Ho Ching, arrived at Mr Nathan's home for the wake.
Other politicians who arrived yesterday included Deputy Prime Ministers Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Teo Chee Hean, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Minister of Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob and former minister S Dhanabalan.
Mr Nathan's body is taken to Parliament House on Thursday where it will lie in state.
A State Funeral will be held for the former President at 4pm on Friday.