Sports-loving ex-journalist Santokh Singh touched many lives

Ex-colleagues, students remember Santokh Singh, who died on Friday

Mr Santokh Singh Grewal, who was also a former teacher at Victoria School, was described as a "favourite son" of local hockey.
Mr Santokh Singh Grewal, who was also a former teacher at Victoria School, was described as a "favourite son" of local hockey. ST FILE PHOTO

Tributes poured in for former journalist Santokh Singh Grewal yesterday following his death on Friday at the age of 57.

A true sports lover till the end, he died on Friday evening while watching V. Sundramoorthy take his bow as the caretaker coach of the Singapore national football team.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Sukhdevi, and four children - sons Ishwarpal, 23, and Jaspal, 22, and daughters Jaskiran, 20, and Parven, 18.

Singapore Hockey Federation president Mathavan Devadas, who had known him since 1977 and had undergone basic military training in the navy with him, said: "Hockey has lost one of its favourite sons.

"Santokh was very supportive of the game, and he was there for his sons at every training session, whether they were playing for club or country.

"As a journalist, he was very balanced even though he was a strong-willed character."

The Sunday Times associate editor Rahul Pathak agreed, saying: "As journalists, we tend to rely on multiple sources, but if Santokh told you something, you could be sure it was true. He was the most honest and straight-talking man I've ever known."

Mr Singh, a former teacher with Victoria School, was also revered by his former students.

Mr Matthew Quek, a teacher of about 15 years, said: "It was the way he taught that inspired me to follow the same path and become a history teacher as well."

A steady stream of friends and relatives visited the wake to pay their respects yesterday, which his son Ishwarpal said was a testament to how many lives his father had touched. "There were a lot of people that came even before 6pm, people whom I've never seen before, and I'm not surprised that he had left an impact on so many people."

Mr Singh's wife said he died after dinner time as he watched Singapore defeat Myanmar 1-0 in the AYA Bank Cup in Sundram's first game in charge.

She told The Sunday Times: "That is probably the way he would like to go. He just loved sports."

Sundram described Mr Singh, whom he had met in his days as an S-League player, as someone who was "composed and respectful".

"He was a very passionate and knowledgeable reporter and we had many discussions about football and sports in general," said the Lions' new handler.

Mr Singh embarked on his journalism career with The Straits Times in 1995 and delivered a number of scoops and award-winning stories during a five-year spell.

Known for his passion for football and hockey, he was a big winner at the Singapore Press Holdings' annual awards in 1997 for the English/Malay Newspapers Division, winning the Feature of the Year Award for his story, "Better grades for sportsmen under change in ECA scheme".

It was a case of double elation for him as he also won a Special Award for his stories on the Jojo Sinclair drug scandal.

He joined The New Paper in 2000, where he later became the supervisor for the education beat.

He left journalism in 2012 for Nanyang Polytechnic to become its director for communications and outreach.

The wake is at Block 7, Toh Yi Drive #06-283. The cortege will leave the house at 4.30pm tomorrow for cremation at Mandai Crematorium Hall 4 at 5.45pm.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 05, 2016, with the headline Sports-loving ex-journalist Santokh Singh touched many lives. Subscribe