People from all walks of life turn up to pen tributes to ex-president S R Nathan

SINGAPORE - People from all walks of life have turned up at the Istana to pay their respects to the late former president S R Nathan.

The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia both reported that people started to arrive minutes after 6am to pen tribute to Mr Nathan at the Istana, where condolence boards have been set up.

The first to turn up was a buddhist monk, 60-year-old Reverend Lee Tay Liang Shifarong. He said he had met Mr Nathan many times during commnunity events, The Straits Times reported.

Self-employed computer engineer Lin Rong Xiang, 34, said he took the first train in the morning to go to the Istana. He told Channel NewsAsia that he could not sleep the night before, after hearing news of Mr Nathan's passing.

A 68-year-old security guard said he went to the Istana right after his night shift. "I feel very sad because he's a very good man and has done a lot things for Singapore," he was quoted as saying. "We lost a good President."

A group of about 20 students from nearby School of the Arts also turned up before class started, The Straits Times reported.

Mr Nathan's body arrived at his home at Ceylon Road at about 10.30am. The family will be holding a private wake until Wednesday.

The Straits Times said that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived at the home of Mr Nathan just before noon, while Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam arrived at about 12.45pm.

sinsh@sph.com.sg