S'porean man in NDP short film reunited with kind primary school teacher 46 years later

The smallest gestures can change a life.

Tanya Ong | August 12, 2018, 02:53 PM

The short film featured during the National Day Parade 2018 traced the stories of five Singaporeans who had overcome adversities to become extraordinary.

One of those featured is Veera Sekaran, a botanist and founder of Greenology, a horticultural consultancy firm.

Veera's story

Veera's story takes place in 1972, when he was a primary four student at Canberra Primary School.

Photo via Veera Sekaran's Facebook.

Veera did not grow up in a well-to-do family and had no money to buy textbooks and stationery.

When his teacher learned about his difficulties, she got his classmates to put together a school bag for him, including a set of stationery.

Re-enactment from short film. Screengrab via Toggle.

Today, Veera remains extremely grateful for his teacher's kind act.


Contacted by teacher's daughter

On the morning of Aug. 10, Veera finally got to meet up with Chee Siew Chuan, his primary four teacher.

The meeting was reportedly arranged after Cornelia Chee, Chee's daughter, got in touch with Veera.

They met up at Chee's Yio Chu kang flat, where they spent one hour catching up.

Photo via Veera Sekaran's Facebook.

Being able to reunite with a teacher who impacted his life was something that Veera described as "amazing".

46 years after the incident

Given that the last time they saw each other was 46 years ago, Veera confessed that it took him a while to recognise Chee in her short hair.

Previously, the teacher sported long and straight hair:

Photo via Veera Sekaran's Facebook.

Now, Chee is 75 while Veera is 56.

Chee retired from teaching in 2001, and is married with two daughters.

The last school she taught at was Huamin Primary School in Yishun.

Chee no longer remembers putting the school bag together for Veera.

However, her kind act did not go unremembered by Veera who was deeply moved by it.

Photo via Veera Sekaran's Facebook.

Today, Veera pays it forward by hiring ex-convicts, buying food for elderly people, and helping people with special needs.

He hopes that his story will show others that even the smallest acts of kindness can change a life.

This is Veera's Facebook post with the photos of him and Chee:

Top photo from Veera Sekaran's Facebook and Toggle screenshot