04 July 2017
A new book commemorating the life of the late former president S R Nathan describes him as a “mentor for all seasons”.
But for Dr Kumar Ramakrishna, one of the two editors of the book, Mr Nathan is also undoubtedly “The Man In The Arena”.
Speaking at the launch of the book titled Remembering S R Nathan: A Mentor For All Seasons yesterday, Dr Kumar likened the sixth president of Singapore to former United States president Theodore Roosevelt. He quoted a notable passage, referred to as The Man In The Arena, from a famous speech given by Roosevelt in 1910: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
Dr Kumar, a tenured associate professor and head of policy studies and coordinator of the National Security Studies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) – said learning about the trials and tribulations that Mr Nathan went through, such as the Laju ferry hijacking in the 1970s, has inspired his colleagues and him to “persevere and press on in the good fight”.
Mr Mushahid Ali, a senior fellow at RSIS and also editor of the book, said Mr Nathan did not provide mentorship only to Singaporean subordinates. He cited Mr Kalimullah Hassan, a Malaysian contributor to the book, who recounted Mr Nathan’s help in getting him a job as a Straits Times correspondent in Malaysia.
Ambassador-at-large Ong Keng Yong, who met Mr Nathan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1979, described him in the preface as the “grand Jedi of the special class of Singapore warriors, protecting our society from the dark side”, borrowing an analogy from the Star Wars movie series.
NSSP / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 05/07/2017