The first ringer of the Bell of World Peace and Love
Former President Nathan of Singapore set a good example of peace
By Yan Sun
Singapore on Aug. 26 held a State Funeral Service for its former President Nathan, the second popularly elected and longest-serving president (12-year term). Considered a hero and loved by many Singaporeans, he was also internationally recognized and respected.
The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Mrs. Abe flew to Singapore to pay their respects to the late Mr. Nathan. Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men and president of the Federation of World Peace and Love, sent a letter to the prime minister of Singapore to express his deepest sympathy to the people of Singapore and the late Mr. Nathan’s family. Dr. Hong also wrote a eulogy to express his condolences and praise former President Nathan for dedicating 65 years of his life to public service, an inspiration to the world. Mr. Nathan was a virtuous, diligent, courageous, and wise leader, who had strived to benefit the public, successfully resolved a hostage crisis, created good international relationships, etc. and set the role model of a pure soul.
Mr. Nathan was the first ringer of the Bell of World Peace and Love. Tai Ji Men’s Shifu and dizi were invited to attend the 5th Daoist Festival in Singapore in 2000 and held the rarely seen ceremony of ringing the Bell of World Peace and Love. Mr. Nathan, the then president of Singapore, rang the bell and prayed together with Dr. Hong for Singapore and the world.
The ringing of the bell signifies a ringer’s commitment to love and peace for himself/herself, the world, and future generations. Over the years, the peaceful sound of the bell has resonated in the hearts of the ringers and across the world, and the ringers have fulfilled their promises by resolving conflicts and defusing potential wars at critical moments. Under the guidance of Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, Tai Ji Men members have carried the bell to every populated continent of the world, consolidating positive energy of the universe. To date, 270 leaders in 87 nations, including 27 heads of state and government, 7 Nobel Peace Prize laureates and a winner of Nobel Prize in Physics, UN ambassadors, and other visionary leaders have rung the bell. Dr. Hong mentioned in his eulogy for the late Mr. Nathan that being the first ringer of the bell Mr. Nathan had led other world leaders in the endeavor to activate the love and peace in people’s hearts.
In Dr. Hong's prayer, he also praised:"Great achievements of President Nathan will be remembered, recognized, and honored for generations to come! In March 2000, he rang the FOWPAL Bell of World Peace and Love, becoming the first bell ringer with the peace wish: “We are all Peace.” Since then, the FOWPAL Bell of World Peace and Love has been rung by heads of state on every populated continent; giving world leaders an opportunity to express their shared commitment with FOWPAL and President Nathan to love and peace. FOWPAL is dedicated to continuing this mission of spreading peace wishes and positive energies of President Nathan and other prominent heads of state around the world as the seed of love and peace is planted in the hearts of the ringers and the world.
Mr. Nathan was admitted to a hospital on July 31 after suffering a stroke and passed away on Aug. 23 at the age of 92. The people of Singapore were saddened by the news of his passing. He had devoted his whole life to Singapore and was conferred Order of Temasek, First Class, numerous merit badges, and other awards for his dedicated and notable work. Mr. Tony Tan, president of Singapore, praised the late Mr. Nathan, saying that Mr. Nathan was always there when Singapore needed him. Mr. Nathan had rich experience in the areas of national security, defense, and foreign relations. His contribution to Singapore’s national defense was very significant and has had a lasting impact.
Since Aug. 23, the Flag of Singapore was flown at half-staff, honoring the late Mr. Nathan, whose casket was covered with the flag, symbolizing the highest respect of the Singaporeans. Although he passed away, his spirit continues to live in the hearts of the people of the world. His contribution to Singapore has been internationally recognized, and his determination, grit, and diligence was widely praised. At 28, he won a scholarship and went to college; at 75, he began to learn Chinese and later became an accomplished Chinese calligraphy artist. His attitude towards learning was an inspiration to many. Thousands of Singaporeans, regardless of age, race, or creed, paid their respects to him at Parliament House.