Uttam Kripalani

Despite not starting out as a Singaporean, Mr Uttam Kripalani has definitely integrated well into Singapore and has become such a valuable contributor here. 50Faces met up with him recently to find out more about his life and various achievements. Ever the philanthropist, Mr Uttam got an early start in life mostly due to his parents who were also heavily involved in community service and would bring him along on various activities, especially those involving children.

Since those early days, Mr Uttam has come a long way and with a lifetime of volunteering to look back on, he reflects that perhaps his most fondly recalled moment would be the instance when he organised a flight for handicapped children around Singapore as part of a Rotary Club initiative. While such an initiative would not be tenable in today's aviation industry, it was certainly no easy feat to accomplish even back then. Detailing the various tasks and hoops they had to jump through to accomplish this, it is clear that this is a moment he is proud of and that the joy brought to those children definitely made it worthwhile. Despite the highs, there are also the lows and Mr Uttam mentions that one of the saddest experiences would be visiting and playing with a child one week at the Assisi Hospice, only to return the next week to find out they had succumbed to their illness. Despite this, Mr Uttam continues to organise activities such as visits to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Haw Par Villa and the Christmas decorations light up on Orchard Road. Simply spending time with these children and interacting with them seems to be a key message, something which can also be seen in the formation of Interact groups in many schools, a youth offshoot of the Rotary club, who are mainly community service driven and advised by senior Rotarians, one of whom is Mr Uttam.


“If you do community service, it must come from the heart and not because you have to do it.”


An excellent role model, Mr Uttam clearly embodies both the community service spirit as well as the enterprising determination to make things happen. Starting out with the National Insurance Company in India, he was sent to Singapore to set up operations here. After successfully doing so Mr Uttam decided to start up his own company, Galaxy Insurance Consultants. Though he did have to struggle a bit for the next few years, he believes firmly that if you are going to do something, you should do it properly. This belief of his extends to all aspects of his life including his exceptional 100% attendance at all Rotary meetings, a fact he notes with pride.

Mr Uttam also uses his influence to help others in various areas. As one of the founding members of the Crohn's and Colitis Society, Mr Uttam has been part of the committee dedicated to helping patients with this particularly uncommon disease in terms of both support for their well being and financial support. One highlight would be helping to sponsor the supply of Modulen, a diet Crohn's patients require, exclusively in some cases, the cost of which certainly adds up. As Vice President of the Action Group for Mental Illness, Mr Uttam has also been able to use it as a platform to speak to the people behind the policies, like ministers, to incite more changes to be made. Thanks partly to his efforts, changes are being rolled out such as the revamp of national health insurance scheme, Medishield Life, to include pre-existing conditions. Mr Uttam has also helped to create a specific hospitalisation programme for employees of voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), thus standardising the insurance coverage available to all VWOs regardless of their size and simplifying the process and ensuring a better deal as well. Mr Uttam also contributes to the Singapore Indian Education Trust (SIET) through the Galaxy education trust fund initiative. He requests all well-wishers and friends to donate to this trust fund instead of flowers or gifts for special events.

“The more you put in, the more you get out of social service activities.”

Besides being actively involved in charitable causes, Mr Uttam is also involved not only in organising but participating in sports, cultural and literary events. Motivated at an early age, he was involved in a variety of sports. Even when Mr Uttam was in London to pursue further career opportunities whilst studying part time, he found time to get involved in poetry recitations and Shakespearean productions. This is something that Mr Uttam has carried over through his working life, as he helps to organise poetry sessions, dance performances, exhibits for the various festivals and visits to different places of worship as part of the Indian Activities Executive Committee under Siglap Community Centre. When asked how he manages to juggle the many many things he's involved in, Mr Uttam stresses that what it truly boils down to is simply time management.

“If they want to live here, it is important to mingle with the locals.”

In light of Singapore's upcoming 50th celebrations, Mr Uttam extends his heartiest wishes to all Singaporeans. He recalls the potential Singapore had from the start, which also had a big bearing on his decision to stay here. In terms of volunteering, Mr Uttam believes that there is a lot more that can be done but acknowledges that different people have different interests and it is encouraging to see active participation by many students in the various Interact clubs.

Mr Uttam thanks his family for their support, especially his wife and mentions that she is indispensable and is always by his side, supporting him in anything he undertakes. While not regretting any life decisions, he does remain slightly wistful that he was unable to pursue his theatre career professionally. However, he is happy that he gets to live vicariously through his son who is currently the managing artistic director at the Singapore Repertory Theatre company. We here at 50Faces wish Mr Uttam all the best ahead in his many endeavors!


“I told my company in India – don’t think of not being in Singapore.”


A dedication to the pioneers in the Indian community.

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