Mr Sellapan Ramanathan is a Singaporean politician who was the sixth President of the Republic of Singapore. He was first sworn in on 1 September 1999. In 1999 and 2005, he was elected President in uncontested elections. He became Singapore's longest-serving President.
S. R. Nathan Hot
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Warm-looking guy, Inner Hero
He was always known as the figurehead for all the events. While I had not known much about him, it was only in a recentl article published about the award that Mr Nathan got in end 2013 that made me realise what an amazing man he was.
Apparently he has offered himself as a hostage for a terrorist attack, fearlessly If I might add, in order to save a ferry full of people. While he may seem to be a gentle, kind and warm soul on the outside with a somewhat fatherly vibe, I would never have guessed that he was a hero on the inside as well.
Even then, it is funny for Singapore to have both a Prime Minister and a President when most countries only have one or the other.
I recalled his yearly trips to my school. He had this empowering aura of warmth. He was like a walking duvet of warmth that dripped with authenticity. Impressive. His smiles weren't robotic and he greeted people over and over again like a fully charged Energizer battery.
Mr S R Nathan also exuded some sort of grandparent or Santa Claus vibe. The way he was poised at Istana and the way he interacted with the children scattered nearby was so applaudably similar. I was certainly not bored of watching him on television whenever he began walking across the stadium in search of police officers and army soldiers to be questioned. He was certainly entertaining via his supreme charm of sincere amiability. How rare. Tuxedo men and entertainment seldom belong within the same sentence.
A nice guy
President Nathan is a nice guy who is down to earth and approachable. His wish to remain in his residence at East Coast instead of the Istana is evidence of that, though I have been warned off by the killing stares of his guard when I tried delivering flyers to his house. Our former president gives the impression of a gentle, giant teddy bear that oozes modesty and goodness when squeezed. He also gives a nice presidential wave once a year. That's about it.
I wouldn't go so far as to call him the People's President, a title belonging exclusively to President Ong Teng Cheong. The man actually went behind the Cabinet for the benefit of the people! I do understand that presidential powers in Singapore is severely limited, so I'm not grudging Mr Nathan for it. How can I expect him to go against the system? He's a nice guy, after all.
i guess he works
I will first state that I generally believe that the president is a figurehead. Highest paid security guard if you wish. His biggest contribution? Setting up President’s Challenge. Oh, and opening the reserves back when the Singaporean economy was in recession. Perhaps, hugging babies during National Day Parade, but that’s really stretching it. Maybe he did connect with the general Singaporean population, but I for one, did not feel the connection.
In his roles of the President, I think he’s served his purpose (of a figurehead) very well. But I don’t see much evidence that he’s actively strived for a better Singapore outside of his (admittedly limited when compared to the government) powers.
But does he work as a President, I think so.
Humility at its best
Mr S.R. Nathan has always struck me as someone who is very humble, empathetic and intelligent. Though he did not appear much on the media and newspaper, each time he did, he came across to me as someone who is not stuck up just because of his political standing.
I have jogged past him along East Coast Park a couple of times and each time I did, I would not feel intimidated but more of delighted (though he had a body guard, who looks scary).
I notice his body language a lot, and the way he dresses, speaks and even smiles tells me that he is someone who does not think that he is a cut above the rest and thus, he exudes a sense of friendliness and ultimately, humility.
Champion of charitable causes.
Mr S R Nathan gives off the vibe off a traditional boy-next-door. His unassuming poise and soft-spoken mannerisms give no sign of the sharpness of mind and the workings of his inner mind.
He succeeded a popular President, Mr Ong Teng Cheong, and many people were unsure of how he would function in his new capacity. However, he soon won over people's hearts with his quiet work ethics and stoic presence.
His legacy is the President's Challenge, an initiative started by him when he was in office. With over 400 beneficiaries under it's umbrella, the President's Challenge has managed to raise $80 million. I hope this initiative lasts and grows, as it is a noble cause.