Remembering Mr S R Nathan: ‘Our people’s leader’: Organisations pay tribute to late former President S R Nathan
Former President S R Nathan held a number of roles across trade unions and associations, and lent his support to several other organisations. Many of them paid tribute to him after his death on Monday (Aug 22).
The People’s Association (PA) said Mr Nathan discharged his duty in every role he held “admirably”.
“In public service, Mr Nathan discharged his duty in every role he held across the trade unions, foreign policy, security and intelligence, admirably, always putting the interest of those who he served above that of himself,” the association said in a Facebook post.
The President’s Challenge, started by Mr Nathan in 2000, is testimony to Mr Nathan’s belief that all Singaporeans can play a part in nurturing a caring and compassionate society, it added.
HIS HEART WAS WITH THE LABOUR MOVEMENT: NTUC
Mr Nathan helped the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) mature into a responsible and credible trade union centre, the Labour Movement said on Tuesday.
In an online tribute page dedicated to Mr Nathan – whom it described as "our brother-in-arms, our workers’ keeper, our people’s leader" – NTUC wrote that Mr Nathan’s journey with the Labour Movement began, in his own words, during "turbulent times".
Working first as a medical social worker in 1955 and then a year later, as a seamen’s welfare officer fighting for the rights of workers, he dealt first hand with widespread labour unrest and witnessed “many injustices”, which shaped his beliefs and became “part of his cause”, said NTUC.
While seconded to the newly set up Labour Research Unit, Mr Nathan negotiated for workers and provided a listening ear to workers’ problems, it added.
"Over the years, even as Mr S R Nathan moved on to bigger and greater roles, his heart 'has always been with the Labour Movement and all that it stands for'."
The Labour Movement said it celebrated Mr Nathan's steadfast commitment and his contributions to the working people of Singapore, and would live out his legacy as “a movement with a cause".
On Monday, NTUC Secretary-General and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing had also thanked Mr Nathan for his efforts for the Labour Movement in a Facebook post.
"In the early days, you fought for the rights of our workers. They were often the poorest and least taken care of. You touched everyone with sincere, brotherly care. You were always there by our side through trials and tribulations," the labour chief wrote.
SUPPORTIVE PATRON OF BOYS’ BRIGADE
The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr Nathan was a “very supportive patron” from 1999 to 2011.
Mr Nathan made time to attend the association’s volunteer appreciation events and hosted receptions at the Istana and the Singapore Recreation Club for Boys’ Brigade Volunteers, Brigade President Ho Yew Kee said.
Mr Nathan also attended many community programmes where he never failed to talk to the participants or have his photo taken with them, Dr Ho added.
“He had a personal touch that made us all feel special. We will dearly miss him.”
In 2005, the highest award in The Boys’ Brigade, the President’s Award, was instituted with the support of Mr Nathan. He presided over the inaugural presentation at the Istana that year.
“AN ARDENT FAN OF SPORTS”: FAS
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said it was “deeply saddened” by the passing of Mr Nathan, who was an “ardent fan of sports, including football”.
Mr Nathan attended many football matches, including the ASEAN Football Federation Championship and other international matches, youth age-group competitions such as the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship Qualifiers and the Lion City Cup, S.League games as well as non-professional matches such as the FAS Women’s Challenge Cup, Youth Olympic Games and schools' football championships, FAS said.
The most recent football match that Mr Nathan attended was the FIFA 2018 World Cup Asian Group Qualifier between Singapore and Japan at the National Stadium on Nov 12, 2015.
“We are immensely grateful to Mr Nathan for his support and constant words of encouragement which greatly inspired and motivated generations of national players across various age-groups,” FAS said.