Issue 102, September 2011
Keeping the Nantah Spirit Alive
40 or 50 years may be a long time for many, but for the pioneer batches of the University who reunited for a joint celebration, these seemed like only yesterday.

“It is of great pleasure to see ten batches of our pioneer graduates get together in this hall. The love and connection amongst the Nanyang family is evident. I would like to thank all of you for the unfailing friendships," said Professor Er Meng Hwa, NTU's Vice President (International Affairs), in his welcome address to the 250 pioneer graduates who had turned up for the Class of 1960-1969 Reunion Celebration. Prof Er also thanked them for their support and encouraged them to continue to stay connected with their alma mater.

Commonly known as the ‘Nantah’ graduates, these pioneers graduated from Nanyang University (Nantah), the predecessor of today’s NTU. Back then, Nanyang University, funded through donations from people from all walks of life, was the only Chinese language institution of higher education outside China.  The University and the values it inculcated in a generation of students embodied what is known as the ‘Nantah Spirit’.

Camaraderie amongst the pioneers
The celebration kicked off with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) talk, where Dr Yuan Jinghong spoke about “Healthy Ageing with Traditional Chinese Medicine – Tackling the ‘Three Highs’”. Following that was lunch; a grand and noisy affair in the style of an eight-course Chinese lunch, complete with song performances by a Master of Science Technopreneurship & Innovation Programme (MSc TIP) student and dance performances by dancers from NTU Cultural Activities Club.

Prof Er, who was also the Special Guest for that day, warmed the hearts of all singing classic Chinese songs like ‘月圆花好’ and ‘月亮代表我的心’. Alumni also came on stage to perform, with Prof Leo Suryadinata (Arts/1963), Director of the Chinese Heritage Centre, echoing the sentiments of many when he recited his poem “Forever Nantah Lake”, reminiscing their days spent on campus.

Also there to celebrate the momentous occasion were Prof Su Guaning, NTU’s Emeritus President; Mr Chia Ban Seng, NTU’s Member of Board of Trustees; Mr Chew Kheng Chuan, Chief University Advancement Officer; Mr Soon Min Yam, Director of Alumni Affairs; Ms Marina Tan Harper, Director of Development; and other distinguished alumni and guests.

Nostalgic memories
A campus tour after lunch gave these pioneer graduates a chance to witness the changing face of the campus, as much as it took them back in time to those golden days spent there. What remains unchanged however, is their spirit and enthusiasm, as could be seen and heard evidently, from the way they interacted with one another to the way they reminisced about their Nantah days.

The reunion celebration was held at Nanyang Auditorium Foyer on 10 September and organised by a committee of alumni volunteers, led by Mr Lim Cheng Eng (Chemistry/1967) and Mr Lim Yian Poh (Biology/1969).

© Alumni Affairs Office