Brave and caring leader

I am deeply saddened by the death of former president S R Nathan ("State funeral for S R Nathan on Friday"; Aug 23).

As a people's man, our longest-serving president goes beyond the role of a public figure.

It is certainly heartwarming to note that he was not self-centred, and deserves to be praised and recognised wholeheartedly.

He serves as a role model to the rest of the political leadership in  Singapore.

As one of the pioneers in the medical social work sector here, he discharged his duties with pride. He worked tirelessly for the good of Singaporeans.

I had the opportunity to mingle with Mr Nathan at several public social events.  He was indeed a man who had no airs and moved freely with every common man.

What makes Singaporeans proud is how, during the Laju ferry hostage crisis in 1974, Mr Nathan and his team stood as  guarantors for the safe release of the passengers.

This act is remarkable. He went beyond the call of duty and risked his life for us.

He also introduced the President's Challenge charity drive, which has raised more than $160 million, benefiting more than 500 welfare organisations.

Mr Nathan clearly cared for the less fortunate and needy people.

We truly appreciate him not only for what he has done for Singapore, but also for who he is, the contributions he has made to people and the lives that he has touched.

V. Balu