Tributes given at Appreciation Dinner for him
HIS LANDMARK INSTITUTIONS
♦ The Stewardship Charter, which will serve the MCS well for many years to come as the cornerstone of financial governance.
♦ The Methodist Schools’ Foundation, which will have an impact on the lives of children.
♦ ACS (International), which is the forerunner of the next big push in taking our educational mission overseas.
MR TAN WAH THONG has retired as the Honorary Executive Director of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) after holding the position for slightly more than five years.
He left MCS to devote his full attention to the further development of the family of Anglo-Chinese Schools, a labour of love he pursues passionately as Chairman of the Anglo-Chinese Schools Board of Governors (ACSBOG). He has been the ACSBOG Chairman for 10 years, having assumed the position since October 1995.
The MCS has appointed Mr Richard B. Y. Khoo as the Director of Finance, Administration and Programmes, and he started work at Methodist Centre on Sept 19, 2005 (Methodist Message, October 2005).
Mr Tan, a retired businessman, was Chairman of the Singapore Manufacturers’ Association and Vice-President of the Singapore Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry from 1985 to 1988. He had also served as a board member of Central Provident Fund Board, Jurong Town Corporation and the National Wages Council.
Mr Tan was appointed Executive Director of the MCS in July 2000 by Bishop Wong Kiam Thau. When Bishop Emeritus Wong retired at the end of 2000, Mr Tan was re-appointed by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.
One of Mr Tan’s first tasks was to reorganise the structure of the General Conference Office to provide for the smooth and efficient running of the MCS. The structure enabled him to focus on policy and leadership as set out
by the General Conference Executive Committee (GCEC).
For his faithful service, tributes were paid to him at an Appreciation Dinner at The Pines on Oct 10. Bishop Dr Solomon described Mr Tan as “a man with a helicopter view, always trying to see the big picture in the long term”.
“He doesn’t use much technology, but he gets the job done,” he said. “Wah Thong has a keen discernment for people and situations, and he is always willing to assist people in need,” added the Bishop.
Mr Richard Jeremiah, Chairman of the Finance and Administration Council (FAC), said Mr Tan has vision and the energy and will to mobilise the support needed to make a vision a reality.
“Today, we see Wah Thong’s thumbprint on many Methodist institutions.” Mr Jeremiah began by acknowledging the “significant role” Mr Tan’s wife, Pat, had played in supporting him in all his endeavours. “Pat, we want to thank you for all the sacrifices you have made in order to enable Wah Thong to serve the church.”
Mr Jeremiah then related how Mr Tan had solved many problems, including financial problems, and had put in place short-term solutions to deal with immediate issues. More importantly, he helped to put in place structures of financial governance.
“Wah Thong did not only fix the problems he found. He also laid foundations for the future.” Some of the landmark institutions that Mr Tan played a major role in establishing are:
The Stewardship Charter, which is his brainchild. It is something that will serve the MCS well for many years to come as the cornerstone of financial governance; The Methodist Schools’ Foundation, which will have an impact on the lives of children who are yet unborn and who will attend and benefit from Methodist schools in the future; and ACS (International), which is the forerunner of the next big push in taking our educational mission overseas.
Said Mr Jeremiah: “While Wah Thong has stepped down as Executive Director, let me emphasise that he is not retiring from serving the Lord through the Methodist Church. He will continue to serve in the Methodist schools and in the boards of various Methodist agencies. He will also be available to help and advise us.
“There are no adequate words for me to express my gratitude to Wah Thong for all the brain work and leg work that he has done on behalf of the Methodist Church in the past five years. All I can say is, Thank you and God Bless you and may the Lord continue to bless the work of your hands in the new areas in which you are serving Him.”