Law firm launches bursary scheme in honour of Subhas

Law firm launches bursary scheme in honour of Subhas
(From left) Abdul Khair and Muhammed Naasiruddin with their father Muhammed Zakkaria, who works as a dispatch clerk at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing. Mr Zakkaria's sons received the RHT Subhas Anandan Bursary Award.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A bursary scheme for the children of staff was something that late criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan was hoping to set up.

Yesterday, his wish came to fruition. A day before the first anniversary of his death, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and RHT Group of Companies launched a bursary programme for staff, and named it the RHT Subhas Anandan Bursary Award in honour of the lawyer who was a senior partner at the law firm.

Six students received the bursary ranging from $200 to $500 for one academic year to help them with basic schooling expenses. This is the first time the firm is offering such awards .

Mr Subhas' widow, 58-year-old Vimala Anandan, said: "It's a great honour of course and I'm glad this has materialised although he's not around to see it."

Mr Rajan Menon, senior partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, added: "(This bursary award) is aptly named as it is essentially a continuation of Subhas' work and legacy."

Mr Muhammed Zakkaria, 47, works as a dispatch clerk at the law firm. His three sons, aged 12, 17 and 18, received the bursary awards. Mr Zakkaria, who has a monthly take-home salary of $2,300, said the money could help to offset transport and food expenses for his children. His wife works as a part-time florist.

Remembering Mr Subhas, who died on Jan 7 last year at the age of 67, he said: "He was a good boss who really took care of us."

Mr Subhas left a ground-breaking path as one of Singapore's best-known criminal lawyers, handling high-profile murder cases and starting the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore more than a decade ago. He also authored two bestsellers on his experiences, one of which, It's Easy To Cry, was released posthumously.

Separately, his eldest sister Subhashini Anandan, an anaesthetist in her 70s, shared her memories as a tribute with The Straits Times.

"Subhas liked to give the impression that he started in rags and ended in riches but he was wrong on both counts," she said.

"He had everything he wanted, including a brand-new car to start his university life. But since he did a lot of cases free, his income was limited. My sister used to say that she could see a big bungalow on Subhas' face, considering the amount of money he had wasted from his younger days."

His sister recalled how Mr Subhas loved treating his friends during the times when the family lived in a big kampung house in Wak Hassan in Sembawang - a habit which remained till the end.

"Subhas' kindness and generosity are well known. Even in university, he used to ask our parents to help some of his friends," she said.

"Once, he signed on as a guarantor for a friend who migrated to Australia. Subhas took a few years to pay back the bond which involved more than $50,000, which was big money then.

"I was furious, calling him all sorts of names, but in such times he would pat me on the back and say 'never mind lah'."

Dr Subhashini said her brother was also generous in his donations to the local temple and in India.

Despite the many times he had been featured in the news, the late lawyer disliked being photographed, she added, pointing out that even on his wedding day, he tried to avoid taking photographs.

"Vimi, his wife, had the last laugh when Subhas had to pose with countless strangers who wanted to be photographed with him."

This article was first published on January 7, 2016.
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