Chat with Nathan prompted return to social work

I am an accredited social worker but spent only the first two years of my career in social work after graduation from the National University of Singapore.

I worked in the banking sector for 28 years until 2011.

It was at an event organised by the Singapore Association of Social Workers, of which I am a registered member, that then President S R Nathan asked me about my job, assuming I was a social worker.

When I said that I was in the banking sector, his instant reply was, "Why are you not in social work?"

That conversation set me thinking and resulted in my switch in career back to social service.

I admire Mr Nathan as a role model to everyone who embraces the values of humility and compassion. He showed us that with this comes dignity and respect in the way we treat others.

Mr Nathan will be fondly remembered, and my past brief moments of meeting him will also be cherished ("S'poreans pay tribute to S R Nathan"; yesterday).

My condolences to Mrs Nathan and the family.

Kenneth Tham

Chief Executive

Association for Persons with Special Needs

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Chat with Nathan prompted return to social work'. Print Edition | Subscribe