06 December, 2020

Yesterday's Man, President Today

Veteran civil servant S.R. Nathan takes on the mantle of the republic's presidency, unopposed

Yesterday's Man, President Today
For the dynamic 75-year-old diplomat and veteran civil servant S.R. Nathan, who began as an office-boy at 16, it has been a long and chequered journey to the top.

Bedecked in a colourful garland and grinning broadly, the popular Singaporean-Indian trade unionist, who has been heading the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies after his return from a challenging stint as ambassador to the US from 1990-96, made history on August 19. He was elected Singapore's newest President. Unopposed.

In a short address to the 500 people who waited outside the Peoples' Association nomination centre, a beaming Nathan said he felt 'humbled' by his new title. The fact that he won uncontested, he said, 'places on me an even heavier responsibility to discharge my duties'.

Holding his wife Umi's hand tightly, a Singaporean-Indian to whom he's been happily married for 40-odd years, Nathan spoke in English, Malay and Tamil to the crowd. To his Chinese supporters, he said, 'Xie Xie Ni (thank you),' before driving on to his home in the upper middle class suburb of Katong. The Nathans have a...



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