President SR Nathan (1924-2016)

Ng Yi-Sheng

August 26, 2016

[Source]

Just a note: before last night's performances, there was a moment of silence in honour of former President SR Nathan, who passed away on Monday 22 August at the age of 92. There'll probably be similar announcements tonight, since it's the date of his funeral.

I was a little surprised that we were being ceremonious, since Nathan had stepped down five years ago, and certain other Presidents didn't get this treatment on their passing. (Mind you, it did feel quite natural in the case of Still Life at Victoria Theatre, since his lying-in-state was taking place just a few footsteps away at the Istana.)

But as it turns out, several people in the arts truly do appreciate Mr Nathan's patronage of our field.

W!ld Rice director Ivan Heng writes:

Apart from the myriad causes he championed, he loved the theatre. When we first started Wild Rice, he invited myself, Tony and Glen to tea at the Istana to find out more about our plans for Wild Rice and the state of the Arts. I remember having a philosophical discussion about Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. And reflecting on censorship and the bureaucracy, he just shrugged it off and encouraged us to press on. He truly saw value in the theatre's power to bring Singaporeans together.

That's worthy of some commemoration. RIP.

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  • 2016