Fearless, humble, loved

Having served two terms in Singapore's highest office, former president S R Nathan touched the lives of so many Singaporeans through his many contributions.

All this has resulted in an outpouring of tributes upon his death ("S'poreans pay tribute to S R Nathan"; yesterday).

A 16-year-old runaway making it to the Istana as president is like a dream coming true, yet, Mr Nathan made that happen.

He shook hands with commoners in the street and had tea with kings, presidents and other heads of state.

I am truly touched that Mr Nathan offered himself as one of the guarantors during the 1974 Laju hijacking.

He led the team of guarantors who accompanied the hijackers from Singapore to Kuwait, in exchange for the release of hostages on the Laju ferry. Mr Nathan took a big risk, as there was no certainty that the guarantors would be released without harm.

When the mission was accomplished successfully, Mr Nathan remained his humble self and set out to achieve many innovative and enriching projects for Singaporeans.

His smile, his wave, and all the good things he did will always be remembered.

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Fearless, humble, loved'. Print Edition | Subscribe