Statement of Condolence: C.V. Devan Nair, Former President of Singapore.

Posted by Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail under News on 10 December 2005

Think Centre joins Parti Keadilan Rakyat in expressing our condolence to the family of C.V. Devan Nair. We are deeply saddened by the passing away of Singapore's former President Devan Nair.

Statement of Condolence: C.V. Devan Nair, Former President of Singapore.

We are deeply saddened by the passing away of Singapore's former president Devan Nair, yesterday, 7 December 2005, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Devan Nair was an upright and outstanding political leader respected by Singaporeans and Malaysians alike. His life was both colourful and extraordinary.

Chengara Veetil Devan Nair was born the son of a rubber plantation clerk in Melaka, on 5 August 1923. His humble upbringing led him to be a dedicated trade unionist. His contribution was not confined to the nation-building of Singapore, as he was in fact also a key figure in the struggle for the independence of Malaysia. In 1964, Devan won the parliament seat of Bangsar as a People' Action Party (PAP) candidate in the general election. He left after the separation of Singapore, but not before founding the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in Malaysia, thereby leaving his lasting legacy in Malaysian politics.

Devan Nair was elected the third president of Singapore in 1981. However his outgoing and independent character contradicted a restrictive ceremonial position. He was eventually forced to resign in a dishonourable way in 1985. As a head of state, he was a tragic hero who attempted to create a freer political atmosphere in a tightly controlled state.

Devan Nair then migrated to Canada and lived in Hamilton, Ontario until his death. Although he was unsuccessful in reforming the autocratic society, Devan Nair continued to express dissent and criticism towards undemocratic practices in his homeland. His courage and righteousness was greatly admired by citizens of Singapore, as well as the people of Malaysia.

In his writing titled "Meditations on Human Journey", he quoted a poem "Pilgrim of the Night" by Sri Aubindo, and I find it now most apt as a eulogy:

I made an assignation with the Night;
In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God's deathless light I came
Her dark and dangerous heart to woo.
I left the glory of the illumined Mind
And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And traveled through a vastness dim and blind
To the grey shore where her ignorant waters I walk
By the chill wave through the dull slime
And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time, There comes no voice of the celestial Friend,
And yet I know my footprints' track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.

On behalf of my party, as well as my family, I hereby offer my deepest condolence to Devan Nair's eldest son, Janadas Devan and his three other sons and their families.

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail
President, Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Sources and Relevant Links:

The Star Governing in new era a different cup of tea 18 December 2005

Wikipedia C.V. Devan Nair 7 December 2005

channelnewsasia Former Singapore President Devan Nair dies at age 82 7 December 2005 Posted: 07 December 2005 1312 hrs

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