Ulaganathan K V A

“My 1st ambition was to be a gangster," happily recalls Mr Ulaganathan.

But luckily Mr Nathan, managed to come out of that phase in his life and now he has not only not only successfully turned around his life but he has also gone on to give back to society and make a difference in other people’s life as well.

Life for Mr Nathan started off as one, which was care free; playing among the attap houses around the Tiong Bahru Kampong where he lived with his parents and his little brother. The housing conditions were sparse and the living conditions barely adequate but it never dented the independent spirit of young Nathan who cherished his freedom and feared no one.

But all this changed when at the age of 9 years old when his father passed away suddenly. Life took a big turn for Nathan and his family. With 2 mouths to feed and a need to ensure the children’s future, Nathan’s mother had some difficult choices to make.


“My 1st ambition was to become a gangster. It gave me freedom. I can do whatever I want.”

For the fiercely independent and freedom loving Nathan, life at the Ramakrishna mission was devastating at first. His rebellious attitude was ruining his future. It was at that moment that Nathan’s mother intervened. This was the turning point for Nathan. It was a change that propelled Nathan from being a student who was always called out for discipline issues to someone whom the school proudly declared as an alumnus. He changed into someone that every mother would be proud of. Mr Nathan saw his mother change from worrying about him to feeling proud as he progressed steadfastly in life.

“My mother said - Nathan... this is a mission. If you spoil my name, I will give up my life.”

Mr Nathan has a full page of credentials to his name and accolades, that shows his thirst for life long learning , perseverance and sheer determination.

He finished his ‘A’ levels and went on to do his MBA in international Business, which he graduated with a Gold Award. He also qualified as a Barrister-at-law (Lincoln’s Inn, London), holding a Law Degree (Honours). He did all this while he was working hard to support his brother’s education and latter his own family when he got married.

This drive and hardworking qualities were forged during Mr Nathan’s developmental days at the Ramakrishna Home. The very many talks by the Swamijis and the generous donations from the donors kept the spirits of residents like him, high, in the home. It is no wonder that Mr Nathan feels indebted to the society for his well being today. It is this realisation that made him decide to give back to society by providing a hand to uplift the ones who will need to be assisted and guided. After settling firmly in his career in his early 40s he set forth to actively participate in many charitable activities.


“I lived or survived on public money. So I want to give back to society.”

Charities aside, Mr Nathan believes the time spent with people to counsel, encourage and motivate them is his strength. Although he has not always had success in turning around people’s lives, he continues to believe that sharing his wide practical work experience and personal life experience will be beneficial to many. He achieves this through his many motivational talks and trainings that he does both for corporate and charity. He hopes to equip one with an inspiration to get a grip on their life and live in reality of their situation and ability.

He draws satisfaction from even a little difference that he makes in people’s life. Perhaps this need to reach out to people came from his desire to be a doctor at one point in his life.


“In a way I am a doctor. Not a doctor who heals illnesses, but one who cures the heart.”

Mr Nathan hopes to actively participate in more community events in the coming years and wants to continue as far as he can. He does not have a specific agenda that he must only support a certain organisation or undertake a certain task. He intends to take on any community work that comes his way and help in whatever way he can.

Currently his 3 grandchildren, whom he is very attached to, are keeping him busy while he tends to their educational needs. But he is also setting time aside to help his friends or anyone who approaches him.

50 Faces wishes Mr Nathan all the best in this journey of charity and community work.


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.