Singapore mourns the loss of its sixth president, S.R. Nathan, who served 12 years in office from 1 September 1999 to 31 August 2011. He was 92 when he passed away at the Singapore General Hospital after suffering a stroke on the morning of 31 July 2016.


Just about one and a half years following the mourning of the demise of our founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, the little red dot is plunged into sorrow yet again. This time, we bid farewell to former president Sellapan Ramanathan, better known as S.R. Nathan – Singapore’s longest serving president. As we mourn his passing, we take a look back at some of his most memorable quotes.

On winning:

Even if you win by one vote, it is still a victory.

On stepping down:

I made up my mind to leave, so I am happy the end is coming. I can go back to a private life. Every good thing must come to an end.

On social media:

I hear from my grandchildren about Facebook and whatever you have. So after I’ve stepped down, I have time and I will have to learn all that.

On the Presidency:

We cannot have a Presidency on the streets. The President’s duties are defined by the constitution and the people would not want the office to be so transparent to a point where the value and prestige of the position is lost.

On duty:

I have done the best I can. If it’s good enough for some people, fine. If it’s not good enough for some people, and there will always be noise in the environment, you can’t stop it. You don’t do it because you want to leave a legacy. You do the best you can.


On retirement:

Nothing is substantive in what I am going to do. I don’t want any responsibility. I want to be free to do what I want.

On love:

You just know this is the person you are meant to be with. You forget about the whole world and you think only about this person. Your imagination runs wild.

On Singaporeans:

I am deeply touched by such affection shown to me by Singaporeans, and I will always cherish that memory.

On rationality:

Apprehension is natural, but it must not be concluded that it is a threat. Certainly not.

On success:

Given my circumstances, given my lack of qualification, the need to succeed, the need to achieve, perhaps makes you undertake all the missions and do your best.


The team at ChutneySG expresses its deepest condolences to the grieving family and friends of the late S.R. Nathan. May his soul rest in peace.

Written by Uma Nathan

Full-time sub-editor. Part-time writer, copywriter, and editor all rolled into one. Photography, travel, food, reading and teaching take up whatever time remains.

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