Dear Mr Nathan,
This was my one and greatest memory i had with you.
When I was just 14 years old and a young boy scout, you came to our school to grace an event as the guest of honour. You were ever so jovial, cheerful and friendly…not just to the principals and teachers, but you made an effort to walk around and take pictures with all of the students and us student councillors.
As the event ended, we lined up to bid you farewell. Adjusting my bright red scarf on my green scout uniform, I made sure to look my best as I saw you coming down the line, shaking the hands of all my peers and schoolmates who were lined up before me.
When it came to me, you looked me in the eye and asked me for my name. I meekly said, “Yi Xiong”…and stretched out my right hand, waiting for that glorious handshake that was to come.
You merely smiled at me and stretched out your left hand instead, signifying the trust that we scout brothers all around the world have among us, displayed through the time honoured tradition of shaking hands with our left hands instead of our right. I switched hands and shook yours, my palm came into contact with yours, wrinkly, rough and worn. It was firm, but not tight. It was fatherly, more like.
Here was a man who knew what he stood for, shaking my hand as he looked into my eyes. And as we were shaking hands, you Mr Nathan, the Chief Scout of Singapore, said softly to me, “Thank you, Yi Xiong.”
Thank you Mr SR Nathan. May you rest in peace. And Lord Baden Powell watch over you.