58-year-old fulfils lifelong dream

Mr Kumaravelu Sinniah says he hopes to do more pro bono work to give back to society.
Mr Kumaravelu Sinniah says he hopes to do more pro bono work to give back to society.ST PHOTO: LIM YI HAN

Some friends around his age are planning for retirement.

But not Mr Kumaravelu Sinniah. Yesterday, the 58-year-old was the oldest lawyer in the group to be called to the Bar.

The father of two grown-up children told The Sunday Times that he has always been interested in law, but did not pursue a degree in his younger years as he was more passionate about sports then.

After completing his national service in 1977, Mr Kumaravelu joined Loh Lin Kok Advocates and Solicitors as a clerk while training as a marathon runner.

He represented Singapore in the SEA Games that year in the marathon and won a bronze medal.

"But I knew that I would have to retire early if I became a full-time competitive marathon runner. So I decided to focus on my career," said Mr Kumaravelu.

Over the years, he realised he had to upgrade himself. So in 2001, he took up a part-time diploma course in paralegal studies at Temasek Polytechnic.

Three years later, he started on an external law degree from the University of London. He graduated in 2007 and joined Sembawang Engineers and Constructors as an in-house counsel a year later.

Last year, he took up training to be called to the Bar. "I needed to work to support my family first, so I decided to put off being called to the Bar. I also wanted to gain work experience," he said.

"Finishing my studies and getting called to the Bar is like running a marathon. You have to push yourself to complete it."

Mr Kumaravelu, who is married to a civil servant, is still with

Sembawang Engineers and Constructors but hopes to do more pro bono work.

He said: "It's important to give back to society and I hope my skills can help someone in need."

Lim Yi Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 23, 2015, with the headline '58-year-old fulfils lifelong dream'. Print Edition | Subscribe