Singapore bids adieu to late Indian-origin president Nathan

Singapore, Aug 27: Indian-origin former Singaporean president S R Nathan, who passed away earlier this week, was laid to rest after a state funeral on Friday (Aug 26) with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong describing him as one of city-state's greatest sons.

Nathan, who was 92 at the time of his death, had spent 40 years in Singapore civil service and two-terms as President from 1999 to 2011. He suffered a stroke on July 31 and was in intensive care of a hospital till he passed away on August 22.

s r nathan

The family held a private cremation after the state funeral service.

Seven eulogies were delivered at the state funeral service led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National University of Singapore's University Cultural Centre this afternoon.

Prime Minister Lee described Nathan as "one of Singapore's greatest sons".

"He played a leadership role in the Indian community. But he was also a President for all Singaporeans, and cared deeply about racial and religious harmony," said Lee.

A lone bugler from the military band sounded the 'Last Post' after the state funeral for the Singapore-born Nathan.

A minute of silence was also observed, after which the Rouse was sounded -- a symbolic call back to duty after respect has been paid to the memory of the deceased.

Singaporeans, led by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, and diplomats paid their last respects to the late president at the Parliament, where he was laid to rest with full honours.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife also paid respects to Nathan, making a brief stop-over in Singapore en-route to Kenya.

Abe told Nathan's wife that Japan will never forget Nathan as he was the first head of state to visit Hiroshima and meet the atomic bomb victims during a state visit to Japan in 2009.

"For me, President Nathan was a great son of Singapore, a great educator, leader and statesman. He was also a great friend of Indonesia," wrote former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the condolence book he signed at Singapore Embassy in Jakarta.

Ambassador-at-large Gopinath Pillai, in his tribute at the state funeral service, said giving back to the Hindu and Indian communities was of great importance to Singapore's late President.

Nathan was one of the founders of self-help group Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA), and as chairman of the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), he ensured better accounting procedures were put in place.

Pillai said Nathan had told him that he took on the role of chairman of HEB because he felt that just as there were credible Indian ministers who had won the respect of all races in Singapore's political arena, the various Indian institutions here should also be credible.

"He did not think doing your best was good enough. Doing what was required was more important," said Pillai, delivering the last of seven eulogies at the funeral service for Nathan.


Please Wait while comments are loading...