Singapore’s sixth president is also known as the “People’s President”
Former President S.R. Nathan suffered a stroke on 14 April and was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital for treatment. His condition has now stabilised and he is currently undergoing therapy.
The 90-year-old had haemorrhage in his brain.
President Tony Tan expressed his concern and well-wishes in a Facebook post.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also sent his regards to Mr Nathan today (23 April) via a Facebook status.
According to an unnamed source close to President Nathan’s family, the former President has problems walking. Signs of Nathan’s failing health came as early as January, when he stopped talking his usual long walks along East Coast Park.
“I cannot walk any distance. My health is not good. I became breathless and tired. But my mind is okay.”
Just last month, Nathan was also spotted at the Singapore General Hospital going for a checkup.
10 things to know about him
1. He is our sixth president
He overtook Benjamin Sheares as longest serving president in 2009. In total, he served the Republic for 12 years.
2. Holds the record for being the only living president
Well, he is kinda old. Like 90-year-old old.
3. He didn’t have the best childhood
Nathan didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. The Great Depression in the 1930s affected his family fortunes terribly, causing massive debts to build up and eventually sending his father to commit suicide.
He began his working life even before he finished schooling, and even worked for the Japanese in Singapore as a translator.
4. Has an illustrious career
Started work as a medical social worker. He was transferred to the Foreign Service in 1966, the Ministry of Home Affairs and MINDEF in 1971.
He was Director of Singapore Press Holdings, Marshall Cavendish (the company that publishes our primary school textbooks) and the Singapore Mint Pte Ltd.
He owns the Public Service Star, the Public Administration Medal (Silver) and the Meritorious Service Medal. In 2013, Nathan was also conferred the Order of Temasek, First Class.
5. He is one brave soul
Four armed men attacked a Shell oil refinery in 1974 with the aim of disrupting oil supply to other countries. They later staged a dramatic escape by hijacking the Laju ferryboat and held five crew personnel hostage.
The attackers agreed to release the hostages if Singapore could guarantee them safe passage to the Middle East by proving a team of guarantors in exchange. SR Nathan volunteered to be part of the team.
6. On why he didn’t try for a third presidential term
He felt that he would be unable to shoulder the duties and responsibilities of a President due to his old age.
7. Cares for the community too
Nathan wasn’t all about the glamour and the hand-waving and the annual National Day Parade. He cared deeply for society too. Did you know that Nathan was the man who started the annual President’s Challenge? To date, it has managed to raise over $100 million for its beneficiaries.
8. Wrote and published a book
Oh come on. All famous people need a physical narration of their lives, right? S R Nathan: In Conversation was launched in 2015 at the Singapore Management University (SMU), after Nathan accepted Chairman Ho Kwon Ping’s invitation.
The book contains the personal reflections of Mr Nathan, and posits the challenges that he feels will eventually face Singapore in the future.
9. Owns an honorary doctorate
Nathan owns the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) awarded by SMU at a private 2014 ceremony.
10. Has a dedicated Tumblr site of him looking at things
Wanna see Mr Nathan looking at computers, papers, and his own hands? This is the site to go to. Although the site doesn’t have many pictures, there are still enough to make for a good laugh.
Get well soon, Mr Nathan!
All of us here at MustShareNews are happy to hear that he is recuperating nicely at SGH. We wish him a speedy recovery.
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