The so-called publicly-acclaimed President S.R Nathan finally announced on 1 July that he would step down when his second term runs out on August 31. Even when Dr Tony Tan announced his intention to contest the presidential election as an"independent" on 23 June, the comical President S.R Nathan was still keeping his intention close to his chest, mysteriously promising to reveal his intention in two weeks. It was obvious even to the most gullible that President S.R Nathan was bluffing to subject the public to his sense of suspense as to his re-election intention when any such intention would be put paid with the entry of Dr Tony Tan into the presidential contest. Although Dr Tony Tan's independent status is questionable, his standing in the PAP easily eclipsed that of President S.R Nathan and therefore any intention of the latter to contest against the former is out of the question. That no one, not even members of the opposition, had the heart to call S.R Nathan's bluff shows a measure of tolerance that public has for his antics.
In his statement, President S.R Nathan acknowledged both the Singaporeans who had criticised him and those who had shown him "affection and kindness". It is intriguing that a former senior minister of state and some PAP MPs called Mr. S.R Nathan a People's President in spite of the fact that he had acknowledged that Singaporeans had criticised him. It is interesting that only PAP members called him that and those intoxicated PAP members should access the internet to have a measure of the netizens' criticisms of Mr. S.R Nathan as an unpopular president. In addition the curses of the president from taxi drivers should send shivers down the spine of Mr. S.R Nathan. Taxi drivers are by nature loquacious and they do not need much encouragement to open up about the iniquities of the PAP leaders. In view of such an adverse reaction, would it not be a travesty of the noble title to call Mr. S.R Nathan a People's President? So far, only PAP members have called him that or have sung him praises.
In the history of Singapore's presidency, only two past presidents had been acknowledged by Singaporeans as People's Presidents. One was the late President Wee Kim Wee who was really adored by Singaporeans. The other was the late President Ong Teng Cheong, who was especially adored by the Chinese-educated. President Wee Kim Wee's relationship with the PAP Government was a smooth one with no hiccup. But President Ong Teng Cheong's serious tiff with the PAP Government over his request to examine the national reserves resulted in unhappy ending. The Government's vindictiveness extended to the withholding of a state funeral for the late President Ong Teng Cheong when he passed away.
President S.R Nathan has accumulated enormous wealth from the taxpayers' money. If he still has any compunction about his prodigious wealth, he should seriously consider about donating a meaningful amount to some deserving causes. The Chinese believe that this will be rewarded by heaven, especially in the afterlife.