Forum: Remember Ann Wee and John Elliott, and pay it forward

Photo of social work education pioneer Ann Wee and psychologist John Elliott (left).
Photo of social work education pioneer Ann Wee and psychologist John Elliott (left).PHOTOS: ST FILE, SWEE KWANG PENG

Recently, we lost two well-loved individuals widely considered as pioneers and founders of their disciplines in Singapore - social work education pioneer Ann Wee and psychologist John Elliott.

For several decades, they not only contributed significantly to academia and public service, but also touched the lives of many people, positively influencing them in personal ways. They spent so much of their lives putting nation and others before self.

I knew both of them for more than 30 years, first as an undergraduate and then as their colleague in the same department at the National University of Singapore, and subsequently as close friends.

All my interactions with them were enjoyable and learning experiences. From their lives, we learn that it is possible to be courageous and constructive, principled and pragmatic, and above all, humble, honest and humane.

Intellectually, we know that death is inevitable. Emotionally, the loss is very difficult.

From their lives, we learn that it is possible to be courageous and constructive, principled and pragmatic, and above all, humble, honest and humane.

I know what Ann and John would want of those who benefited so much from them is to turn grief and gratitude to paying it forward, and make a positive difference to others.

David Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2019, with the headline 'Remember Ann Wee and John Elliott, and pay it forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe