R Chandran

Thanthai Periyar - the social activist from Tamil Nadu  comes to  mind when they see Chandran. The distinctive trademark of long flowing white beard  typical  of  Periyar still makes people do a double-take when Chandran walks by. Looks aside, Chandran has earned a place as a pioneer in Singapore through his notable deeds for the community.

In fact the birth of 50faces can be attributed to 78yr old(2014) Chandran. A chance meeting with him and his wife at a shopping centre, an offer to help the elderly couple to do some shopping and the subsequent chat about his life, formed the seed which finally grew and blossomed into this project 50FACES. His story is truly of an ordinary Singaporean doing extraordinary deeds for the community. However helping others was second nature to Chandran who always looked beyond his own needs.

“If we step forward to help, we need to give our best.”

As a young man, Chandran held strong convictions about helping others. He was never one to say no to anyone needing help. He also felt the urge to do more for the Indian community, thus he joined the local wing of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK - a political party in Tamil Nadu). Together with fellow members, Chandran staged dramas with the intention to develop Tamil language, bond the community and even to convey values on how the community should consider living their lives. He was held in high regard by fellow members as someone who will not eat or sleep till he finishes the work assigned to him. Indeed Chandran laughs and brushes this off as a matter of fact.

“I will always give 100%, i never short change people.”

Chandran’s memory is not as good as before. He is not able to recall the countless times    he had gone out of his way to help the Indian community either as a member of the association he was with or on his own accord. Nevertheless, it is clear that, he had spent a good part of his life doing social service. He is proud to be part of the generation that saw the growth of Singapore from a third world to first world. He showers praises on former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, for bringing about this transformation.

Today Chandran shares a small but cozy flat with his wife. Even though he needs an aid to move around now, he still manages to keep his unit spick and span. Despite the current circumstances, Chandran's spirits are never dampened. His conversation is peppered with laughter and having listened to him, one is easily convinced that this man would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needs it without batting an eye. 50Faces salutes Chandran.

“When  pass on, I should have nothing - everything must be given away.”


A dedication to the pioneers in the Indian community.

50Faces brings your stories of ordinary Singaporeans who have contributed to our community and nation building.