Monthly Archives: July 2010

The loss of Guru

Mr. Tiwari, or Guru as we used to call him, passed away today. We always joked that he looked like Mahatma Gandhi, with his trademark round glass, bald head and little moustache.

Like Gandhi, Guru was one of the most brilliant minds around, particularly in the field of international law. And like Ghandi, he was also one of the most humble people around, despite his very senior position as the Principal Senior State Council of the Attorney-General Chambers.

I first met him as a young officer in 2003, still wet behind the ears. I had to staff him and a few senior officials on a trip to the Philippines. I remembered him with his trademark back-pack wandering around the Filipino shopping mall that was selling a variety of pirated DVDs – “Field study”, he told me with a wink. He was then one of Singapore’s lead negotiator for intellectual property issues.

I also remembered him as being generous in spirit. During most occasions, on overseas delegation trips, he will always share his loot of mangosteens and doughnuts, imploring people to eat. Once, as I was struggling with bags of laptops, documents and gifts for an ASEAN Ministers’ meeting, he offered his help. He did not have to. He could have waved us off to check into the first/business class transit lounge.

Oh, and he, with his brilliant legal mind, who not only drafted, negotiated and interpreted agreements, but also had a heart for Singapore. In every negotiation, in every legal interpretation, understanding and safeguarding Singapore’s interests was always on his mind. I remembered working with him and his team, in long-drawn sessions, arguing at some points,on the nuances of an ASEAN agreement, interpreting its language as to what could or could not be done.

My last encounter with him was in 2006 at the ASEAN Ministers’ meeting, where Singapore had failed to push to push through some proposals that was championed by my organisation (ex) and I had worked my ass off for. I was visibly upset, and he shook my hand and said, “Thank you Cindy, you have done well, you have tried your best and that’s all it matters.”

And, yes, Guru, like what you told me then – you have indeed given your best too and that’s all it matters too.

PS: Mr. V pointed out – one of Guru’s last papers, which reads like a short memoir.

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Random observations from the Shape Run 2010

1. Women in Singapore, regardless of shape, and size, height or weight can run. Rather overwhelming when they enthusiastically overtake you and surge ahead, particularly at the last 1km mark.

2. Whoever said that running is a solitary sport, just you versus your personal best? After being overwhelmed with so many women overtaking you, you surge ahead yourself (just in case you are one of the remaining laggards of the race). Just love that damn competitive spirit.

2.  They also care a lot about their appearances, even when running. Some came with false eyelashes and thick mascaras, at 6.30 in the morning.

3. They are never without their beloved phones and cameras. At the 4km sign-post, one wiped out her camera from her pocket and proceed to take a photo of herself with the sign-post, with v-for-victory signs and all.

4. Some women look good after a run. Some just don’t. There’s no in-between.

5. Some men can be very dedicated (imagine waking up at 5.00am to send wives/girlfriends to starting line). They are also useful to have around for carrying excess baggages, such as bags, babies, cameras. I shall attempt to get Mr. Cinical to participate in the next run, as a bag carrier.

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