AN APPRECIATION dinner was hosted by tabla! and Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) for this year's top National Day Awards recipient Mr S. Dhanabalan. The former chairman of Temasek Holdings and former Cabinet minister was awarded The Order of Temasek (First Class) at the 2015 National Day Awards (NDA).
The dinner, held at Holiday Inn Orchard City Centre on Oct 9, was also held in honour of eight other Indian NDA recipients representing a cross- section of the Indian community.
Said Mr Gopinath Pillai, who graced the event, along with former president S.R. Nathan and various Indian community leaders: "Mr Dhanabalan is someone who excelled in whatever he did, be it as a student, as a civil servant or as a minister."
The Ambassador at large, who was himself a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal at this year's NDA, was more than happy to be able to speak about Mr Dhanabalan. He went to the University of Malaya as did Mr Dhanabalan, whose potential was evident even then, recalled Mr Gopinath.
Mr Dhanabalan entered politics in 1976 and quickly rose to be a Cabinet minister in four years. He served in various portfolios.
"Mr Dhanabalan excelled in whatever he did. First at the EDB, then at DBS, and with the various ministries such as MTI, National Development, Culture and Foreign Affairs. Wherever he went, he left a mark."
Mr Gopinath recounted how Mr Dhanabalan was asked to look into improving the situation of the Indians at the time, especially in terms of education. "Together with Mr J.Y. Pillay, Mr Dhanabalan was instrumental in forming SINDA. He laid a very good foundation in SINDA," said Mr Gopinath.
Mr Dhanabalan was also a friend you could count on and that's what he should be remembered most for, Mr Gopinath added.
HEB chairman R. Jayachandran said he was honoured and humbled to be able to host such an event for the NDA recipients.
"By playing an important role in the social, community and military sectors, each one of the NDA recipients also played an important role for the nation. We wanted to honour some of the Indian recipients and thus this is the second time we are organising such an event. We are very pleased that tabla! came on board this time," he said.
In his thank you speech, Mr Dhanabalan said: "Each one of the NDA recipients could not have gotten so far without the support of the people who worked with them, who worked under them and who worked above them."
He also said that for those in public service, family support is of utmost importance and thanked his family and friends.
Along with Mr Gopinath, the other NDA recipients feted at this event were Mr Canagasabai Kunalan (Meritorious Service Medal) Mr Chandra Mohan Rethnam (Public Service Star), Mr Karthikeyan Krishnamurthy (Public Service Star), Dr Gauri Krishnan (Public Administration Medal, Bronze), Mr Gaurav Keerthi (Public Administration Medal, Bronze, Military), Mr Raveendran Gurusamy (Public Administration Medal, Bronze, Military) and Mr Ashvinkumar Kantilal (Public Service Medal).
Tamilavel is deputy news editor at Tamil Murasu.
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