TL;DR – Truly the People’s President.
As of time of writing, more than 14,000 people would have paid their last respects to our beloved former President, S R Nathan, now lying in state at Parliament House.
Amongst those who joined the snaking queue and withstood the sweltering heat, here are 5 groups of people whose presence was felt at Parliament house.
1. Inter-religious leaders
Mr Nathan was a champion for inter-religious harmony. He reached out to various faith and affirmed his commitment and appreciation for each religious group.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said Mr Nathan was “instrumental” in establishing the opening of the Nargore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre in 2011.
According to the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), he also “never failed” to attend major religious events which were important to the Hindu community.
He even learnt Chinese Calligraphy and wrote the Chinese character “Dao” at the Multi-language Editions of the Dao De Jing Exhibition in 2008 for the Taoist Federation.
2. Special needs community
The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) expressed their gratitude towards Mr Nathan for his exemplary work in social service.
During SARS when school kids received their own thermometers, he personally called up DPM Teo Chee Hean to gently remind him to look after kids with special needs as well.
3. The Labour Movement
Once a unionist, forever a unionist.
At least 700 representatives walked from One Fullerton to Parliament House.
Spotted amongst the group was Mr Hareenderpal Singh, President of the Union of Security Employees (USE) who wanted to show their solidarity as a union to thank Mr Nathan for bringing the unions the unions together.
Brother Nathan joined the Labour Movement in 1961, at a time of labour unrest. He had to fight against communism and help unions that left their pro-communist leaders.
Then Finance Minister Goh Keng Swee told him that if the communists win, both of them will be put on the Padang and shot.
It was not a threat.
4. The Singapore Scouts Association
As a champion for the underprivileged and the needy, Mr Nathan helped to raise funds for lower-income cubs and scouts.
An Assistant area commissioner in the Singapore Scout Association said that Mr Nathan would even use his own funds to sponsor their scouts and activities.
He was the Chief Scout of the Singapore movement from 1999 to 2011.
5. School students
Mr Nathan had a big heart for children.
In 2015, he found out that a student was so poor that he did not have proper school shoes to wear and he called the school to render help.
He would often encourage teachers not to give up on their students and would do the same to parents he meet.
The State Funeral Procession for Mr Nathan will commence at 2pm tomorrow (Aug 26) and will pass City Hall, Fullerton Hotel and NTUC Centre en route to the University Cultural Centre at NUS.