People turn up early to pay respects to former president S R Nathan

People from all walks of life turned up at the Istana early Tuesday morning (Aug 23) to pay their respects to the late President S R Nathan and pen messages for him and his family.
Messages on the tribute board at the Istana for late former President S R Nathan on Aug 23, 2016.
Messages on the tribute board at the Istana for late former President S R Nathan on Aug 23, 2016.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Paralympic athlete Dr William Tan, 59, said Mr S R Nathan autographed his book which helped to raise funds for his cancer treatment.
Paralympic athlete Dr William Tan, 59, said Mr S R Nathan autographed his book which helped to raise funds for his cancer treatment. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Flowers left at the tribute stands set up at the Istana for late former President S R Nathan on Aug 23, 2016.
Flowers left at the tribute stands set up at the Istana for late former President S R Nathan on Aug 23, 2016. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Ms Sheng Guang Shu, 65, a retiree, said Mr S R Nathan was "very diverse in serving the country in his capacity".
Ms Sheng Guang Shu, 65, a retiree, said Mr S R Nathan was "very diverse in serving the country in his capacity".ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Lady Colette Chow (right), wife of Sir Henry Chow, Honorary Consul-General of Singapore in Papua New Guinea, at the Istana with her friend Mr Lawrence Low (left), 62, a retiree. She described Mr S R Nathan as "a down-to-earth and humble man".
Lady Colette Chow (right), wife of Sir Henry Chow, Honorary Consul-General of Singapore in Papua New Guinea, at the Istana with her friend Mr Lawrence Low (left), 62, a retiree. She described Mr S R Nathan as "a down-to-earth and humble man". ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Ms Hilma Hanapi, 33, with her mother Madam Sarinam Mohd, 63, said: "Mr Nathan will be deeply missed."
Ms Hilma Hanapi, 33, with her mother Madam Sarinam Mohd, 63, said: "Mr Nathan will be deeply missed."ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Mok Yong Khiam, 84, a part-time worker at McDonald's, recalled Mr Nathan as a "very good and humble man".
Mr Mok Yong Khiam, 84, a part-time worker at McDonald's, recalled Mr Nathan as a "very good and humble man".ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Glenn Van Zutphen, 52, an American who is also a Singapore permanent resident, said he had seen Mr Nathan around his estate: "It always surprised me how humble he was." Mr Van Zutphen was at the Istana with his children Max, seven (left), and Kate
Mr Glenn Van Zutphen, 52, an American who is also a Singapore permanent resident, said he had seen Mr Nathan around his estate: "It always surprised me how humble he was." Mr Van Zutphen was at the Istana with his children Max, seven (left), and Kate,10 (right), writing condolences cards. ST PHOTO: CAROLYN KHEW
Dr Benita Tan, 45,  a breast surgeon, said Mr S R Nathan "has done a lot for us".
Dr Benita Tan, 45, a breast surgeon, said Mr S R Nathan "has done a lot for us". ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Staff at the Singapore General Hospital pen tributes to the former President.
Staff at the Singapore General Hospital pen tributes to the former President.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Chang brothers seen at the tribute area at SGH. On Mr Nathan, Mr Chang Ah Hua (left), 61, an aircon technician, said: "He took good care of us as President."
Chang brothers seen at the tribute area at SGH. On Mr Nathan, Mr Chang Ah Hua (left), 61, an aircon technician, said: "He took good care of us as President." ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Students from the School of the Arts penning their tributes at the Istana.
Students from the School of the Arts penning their tributes at the Istana. ST PHOTO: CAROLYN KHEW
Madam Selvi P A, 45, an associate executive at SGH, said Mr S R Nathan "is very humble and friendly".
Madam Selvi P A, 45, an associate executive at SGH, said Mr S R Nathan "is very humble and friendly".ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Madam Tan Geok Cheng, 59, a patient service associate at SGH, said she often saw him at a counter located at Block 7 where Mr S R Nathan goes to for treatment.
Madam Tan Geok Cheng, 59, a patient service associate at SGH, said she often saw him at a counter located at Block 7 where Mr S R Nathan goes to for treatment. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Mauricio V. Soliano, 78, a retiree, recalled meeting Mr Nathan at Robinsons store last year. He said: "He looks fatherly and is very caring."
Mr Mauricio V. Soliano, 78, a retiree, recalled meeting Mr Nathan at Robinsons store last year. He said: "He looks fatherly and is very caring."ST PHOTO: CAROLYN KHEW
Reverend Lee Tay Lang Shifarong was the first member of public at the Istana to pay his respects to the late President S R Nathan.
Reverend Lee Tay Lang Shifarong was the first member of public at the Istana to pay his respects to the late President S R Nathan. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Mr Lin Rong Xiang, a self-employed computer engineer, took the first train to the Istana to pay tribute to Mr S R Nathan.
Mr Lin Rong Xiang, a self-employed computer engineer, took the first train to the Istana to pay tribute to Mr S R Nathan. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Ms Veron Ann Lincoln, who was at the Istana to pay her last respects, said she is saddened by the death of Mr Nathan.
Ms Veron Ann Lincoln, who was at the Istana to pay her last respects, said she is saddened by the death of Mr Nathan.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Madam Celin Foong, an account executive at the Istana, was among the early birds to pay her last respects to Mr Nathan.
Madam Celin Foong, an account executive at the Istana, was among the early birds to pay her last respects to Mr Nathan.ST PHOTO: CAROLYN KHEW
Mr Hajamaideen Allapitchai, a retiree, used to work with Mr Nathan.
Mr Hajamaideen Allapitchai, a retiree, used to work with Mr Nathan.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE – People from all walks of life turned up at the Istana early Tuesday morning (Aug 23) to pay their respects to the late President S R Nathan and pen messages for him and his family.

On their cards, they thanked Mr Nathan for his many years of service to the nation and expressed their condolences to his family.

On one card, Mr Nathan was referred to as a “gentle giant” with a big heart.

Mr Nathan, President of Singapore from 1999 to 2011, died on Monday (Aug 22). He was 92.

 
 

The first person to arrive at the Istana was Reverend Lee Tay Lang Shifarong, 60, who was there at 6.10am.

He said he was very sad, as he had met Mr Nathan many times during community events.

Mr Lin Rong Xiang, 34, a self-employed computer engineer, said he arrived on the first train.

Account executive Madam Celin Foong, 53, dropped by the Istana before heading to work. She had been following up on Mr Nathan's condition since he was admitted to the hospital.

“All the while I prayed for him,” said Madam Foong. 

Ms Veron Ann Lincoln, 33, a clinical coder from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said she is saddened by the passing of Mr Nathan.

“He came over for the Eurasian Association dance group in 2009, 2010 and I took photo with him. I was a dancer,” she said.

Para-athlete William Tan, 59, told reporters about the time he received help from Mr Nathan after he was diagnosed with stage four leukaemia. 

Mr Nathan autographed his book, which helped to raise funds for his cancer treatment. 

Ms Cheren Kwong, freelance parenting coach, arrived around 8am. Trying to hold back tears as she spoke, the 49-year-old said Mr Nathan had done a lot for the nation.

“He’s definitely a great person,” she said.

Retiree Mr Mauricio V. Soliano told The Straits Times about his encounter with Mr Nathan at Robinsons last year when he was working as a salesman. He shared a light-hearted conversation with Mr Nathan, whom he said came across as as fatherly and caring.

“He asked me how old I was and I told him I was 77. He said: ‘Oh not to worry. You don’t look that age,” said 78-year-old Mr Soliano. 

The retiree was shocked when he read news about his death this morning, adding that he had been praying for his speedy recovery.

A group of about 20 students from the School of the Arts nearby also went to the Istana. One student said that it was her history teacher’s idea to bring them here before their class started for the day. 

Condolence boards have been set up outside the Istana for people to pen tributes to Mr Nathan.


A bouquet with a card seen at the tribute area at the Singapore General Hospital.  ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

At the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), where Mr Nathan had been warded since July 31, staff and members of the public also stopped to pen their thoughts.

Madam Tan Geok Cheng, 59, a patient service associate, said she was “quite sad”, and she often saw Mr Nathan when he came to SGH for treatment.

Breast surgeon Benita Tan, 45, said Mr Nathan "has done a lot for us".

“We should recognise that hope that our young will appreciate what he has done,” she said.

Mr Chang Ah Hua, a 61-year-old aircon technician, is a cancer patient at the hospital. He is recovering from surgery and chanced upon the tribute area when he was exercising.

“I’m very respectful of the president, it is a pity that he passed away,” he said. 

He and his 53-yer-old brother, Reverend Chang Kah Soon, both paid their respects to Mr Nathan.

Mr Nathan died peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital on Monday night. He turned 92 last month, suffered a stroke on July 31, and had been in intensive care since then.


The hearse carrying the body of former president S R Nathan arrived at his Ceylon Road home at about 10.30am. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


The hearse carrying the body of former president S R Nathan arrived at his Ceylon Road home at 10.45am. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The hearse carrying his casket arrived at Mr Nathan's family home at Ceylon Road at about 10.30am on Tuesday. There will be a private wake for the family until Wednesday.

Mr Nathan will lie in state on Thursday at Parliament House, where people can go and pay their last respects. A state funeral service will be held on Friday.

 

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