Finance Minister Lawrence Wong paid tribute to his father who has just passed away in a Facebook post on Aug. 16.
Wong revealed that he had bade a final farewell to his father today which is also the elder Wong's 86th birthday.
Studied in Ipoh and spoke Malay
In his post, Wong gave some insight into what his father, who arrived in Singapore in the 1940s from Hainan, China, was like.
Wong described his father to be one of the country's pioneers, who had "persevered against tough odds with determination and grit".
Still a teenager when he first stepped on Southeast Asian shores, Wong's father would help out Wong's grandfather, who was at the time working as a chef on the Malayan railways.
Although their family was poor, his father managed to complete his secondary school education in Ipoh.
As such, he grew up learning to speak Malay instead of Mandarin, and considered himself a O-C-B-C (Orang Cina Bukan Cina, which loosely translates to "Chinese people not Chinese").
Despite his upbringing, Wong said his father continued to maintain close ties with his Hainan relatives and his ancestral roots.
Had a love for the arts
Thereafter, his father worked as a sales/marketing manager in building materials.
However, Wong shared that he was passionate about the arts, particularly literature and the English language, and held a love for Shakespeare.
Additionally, Wong's father was an active Toastmaster and liked public speaking. Even during retirement, he would attend his company's annual general meetings.
Aside from literature, he also enjoyed music and introduced the guitar to Wong at an early age.In 2015, Wong mentioned that his father had just undergone a heart bypass surgery after suffering a heart attack in 2014. Although his father had since recovered, he remained quite frail.Describing his father as someone who was "larger than life" and always left an impression on others, Wong added that the man had inspired him in his own journey in the public service as well.
"We are very sad to see him go. But we continue to find peace and comfort in our memories of him.
RIP Dad. You will be sorely missed."
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Top photo from Lawrence Wong / FB