Ex-teacher inspires fund for RI students


He was known for his fearsome presence, booming voice and unwavering dedication. But, above all, former Raffles Institution (RI) discipline master Tan Kim Cheng is remembered for his emphasis on character-building and his love for adventure.

So, it was fitting that a fund started by his family members and a group of RI alumni to honour him would focus on exactly that. The Tan Kim Cheng Fund for Character Development will go towards recognising the contributions of student leaders in the school's uniform groups, and allow students to take part in an elective programme which exposes them to service learning overseas.

Mr Tan's family yesterday pledged an initial $50,000 to the $500,000 the fund hopes to raise.

From 1963 to 1987, Mr Tan taught humanities at RI, and was in charge of its National Cadet Corps. He drowned during a trip to Tioman Island in April. He was 83.

The fund was launched at a tribute held for him yesterday at RI. It was attended by more than 60 former students, former colleagues and family members. A mini exhibition on Mr Tan was on display, along with a short video of the man former students had known as "Captain Tan" .

The younger of Mr Tan's two sons, 55-year-old Reginald, an NUS professor, said: "We are grateful that the school and alumni have come together to set up this fund to remember my father, and the values that he embodied. The fund will help not just the school, but also future generations of students."

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-teacher inspires fund for RI students'. Print Edition | Subscribe